Campaigners fighting to save Crystal Palace as an Olympic legacy training venue were claiming a small victory last night, when the Greater London Authority announced that it had been so overwhelmed with responses to a consultation on the future of the sports centre that it was extending its duration.
Earlier this month, Inside Croydon revealed that the brief, two-week consultation was being managed on behalf of the GLA by CSM Strategic, a company headed by Sebastian Coe, the former chairman of the London Olympic organising committee. Former Conservative MP Lord Coe is reported to be paid £2 million per year for his role with CSM.
CSM Strategic has put forward four possible schemes for a £10 million overhaul of the sports centre, which for half a century was the home of British athletics and the scene of 22 world records. Of the proposals, two suggest the complete demolition of the running track and stands. None of the proposals provide for a replacement of the important indoor training area.
The athletics facilities at Crystal Palace are used by local clubs such as Croydon Harriers and South London Harriers, as well as sportspeople from across south-east England.
Residents and users of the National Sports Centre, or NSC, are concerned that the athletics facilities promised as part of the London 2012 Olympic legacy are being sacrificed to satisfy the demands of the ZhongRong Group, the Chinese corporation which has a £500million proposal, backed by London Mayor Boris Johnson, to build a replica of Paxton’s Crystal Palace on the top of the hill. They point to maps of the proposals which show access roads for the replica palace, that run through the public park and the current stadium site.
If all the plans for the stadium demolition and replica glass palace go through, at least one-third of Crystal Palace Park will be handed over from public use to private ownership.
In a statement issued last night, Malcolm Beadle, the GLA’s senior manager for land, estates and property, said, “We have been really encouraged by the strong response following the launch of the public consultation on the future of the NSC.
“Public engagement has already been extensive, and we want give as many people as possible the opportunity to feed in their views. We know that a number of groups have meetings planned to formulate a collective response. Therefore, it has been decided to extend the consultation period until November 16.”
One local resident did air a note of caution. “This is not a victory for the campaigners, not by a long chalk. The public response has been very heartening, but by extending the consultation it is possible, of course, for those who approve of the proposals to put forward their views.”
John Powell, one of the athletics coaches based at Crystal Palace, has been appointed to chair a campaign group. He welcomed the extension, but called on anyone who had yet to review the proposals and submit their comments to the consultation to take this extra opportunity to do so.
- Coe is accused of ‘world-class hypocrisy’ over Palace plans
- Coe’s old rival Ovett backs calls to keep Crystal Palace on track
- Boris’s plans for Crystal Palace are branded as ‘disastrous’
- How Seb Coe’s last race at Crystal Palace was fixed for $10,000
- London Assembly Member calls Chinese Palace plans a “fiasco”
Coming to Croydon
- SNATH free film festival, Pawson’s Arms, Oct 26
- David Lean Cinema: Ilo Ilo, Oct 28
- SNATH free film festival, Scratchley Hall, Oct 28
- CODA’s Wind In The Willows, Charles Cryer, Carshalton, Oct 29-Nov 1
- SNATH free film festival, Lord Napier, Oct 29
- David Lean Cinema: Belle, Oct 30
- SNATH free film festival, Norbury Park tennis club, Oct 30
- NHS free health fair, Central Parade, New Addington, Oct 31
- SNATH free film festival Halloween event, Stanley Halls, Oct 31
- World War I centenary concert, Ruskin House, Nov 2
- MOPAC policing meeting, Surrey Street, Nov 4
- Personal safety training for volunteers, Nov 4
- St Giles School opening morning, Nov 5
- Grange Park bulb-planting event, Nov 8
- Brook recording studio open day and party, Nov 9
- Albert Einstein – Relativity Speaking, Spread Eagle, Nov 12-15
- Oval Tavern Folk Club, Nov 14
- South Croydon business breakfast, Nov 15
- Personal safety training for volunteers, Nov 17
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
- Choose Your Own Documentary, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 21-22
- The Last Sense of Sudden, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 27-29
- Ghost Stories for Christmas, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 3
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- Coulsdon Yulefest, Dec 6-7
- Oval Tavern Folk Club, Dec 7
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
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