Bromley Unitary Development Plan

Proof of Philip Kolvin

Crystal Palace Park

Crystal Palace Campaign

Section 3

"Urban parks and green spaces are an essential part of the urban heritage and infrastructure."

Committee of Ministers States on Urban Open Space, Council of Europe.


Formal Consultation


It is easy to have preconceptions about the community's wishes, depending on one's political standpoint. We considered that it was very important to carry out some objective research into the true position. Accordingly, shortly after defeating the multiplex proposals, we created a questionnaire for distribution to 40,000 households. We also took the questionnaire into schools, and spoke to a variety of organisations (amenity societies, housing associations etc.) to ensure widespread dissemination. The questionnaire is at Appendix 1.


It will be seen that the questionnaire divided the Park into four areas and offered a series of options for each part of the Park, from parkland to commercial options. The questionnaire was validated by professional polling organisations, and the results scientifically appraised. There were over 2,000 responses. This was, to our knowledge, the only attempt to conduct proper, objective, consultation of the local community in the 150 years of the Park's history.


The results were published, together with the supporting data, in a report called Consultation Starts Here, the foreword to which was composed by the Mayor of London. A copy is at Appendix 2. The results are quite unequivocal. 83% of respondents supported a parkland option for the top site. The commercial leisure option was the least popular proposal in the whole study, polling 16% support. We tested for regional variations, but found broad correlations between residents on all sides of the Park.


The results demonstrate with perfect clarity that a commercial leisure option for the top site is completely anathema to the local community, which supports the notion that the site should remain a park. Thus, the proposed removal of the MOL designation of the top site and its replacement by a commercial leisure designation is likely to perpetuate the many years of conflict which have sadly beset this Park and arrested its proper, sustainable regeneration.


In the foreword, the Mayor of London recognised the significance of Crystal Palace Park as a regional park, and also as a place with a world-famous heritage. He called for its protection and enhancement. He expressed a desire to protect and improve parks of local and regional significance. He eschewed developments of a scale best suited to an urban town centre, and commended the Campaign's efforts at consultation.


Ken Livingstone specifically complimented the Campaign for trying to consult children. The youngest consultees were a class of 6 year olds, who felt very strongly about preserving our public spaces and felt they were an essential part of city life. While the results were not included in the data for the formal report, they clearly articulated the reasons why it is an adult responsibility to maintain parkland for their benefit.[9]


I do not take up further space here dealing with Consultation Starts Here, but I do invite the Inspector to consider its contents and findings.

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[9] - See Appendix 9

©Philip Kolvin