(LET.3)ETTERS - Topics

Published with no alterations except if the following are perceived to be problems: length, language (obcenities.. tempting but ultimately may not be appropriate), libel (we can't afford to be sued): if you wish use the write-back form; this allows you to object to publication..... or just e-mail us.


Campaign Support...
Bromley Council...
English Heritage - Richard Francis
London & Regional Properties...


Has anybody looked at what it would take to get the boundaries of the councils to meet in the middle of the park or to get the whole park away from Bromley 's control.

Shouldn't legislation be passed to allow such change to happen if disatisfied local residents wish to break away fom acouncil which is imposed on them?

Should we give political support to the runner-up London Mayor who will support us? Should we start lobbying the Tory canditate, Mr. Archer.

Kassandra (5/10/99)

 Letter to the Daily Telegraph - 15th November 1999


English Heritage is only responsible for the limited number of parks in our care (report, Nov. 6). All the public parks in England belong to local authorities. We constantly urge them to take their public parks seriously. As well as including the most historically significant parks in the Register of Historic Park and Gardens, we help local authorities draw up management plans and offer grants and aid. We were instrumental in persuading the heritage Lottery Fund to set up the Urban Parks Programme and were pleased when the HLF, again on our advice, agreed to fund the programme for a further three years.

Unhappily, most local authorities are chronically short of funds and either cannot afford or don't care for their parks."

Sir Jocelyn Stephens

in reply - FRIVOLOUS PLAN - Letter to the Daily Telegraph - November 16th 1999


English Heritage "constantly urges" local authorities "to take their local parks seriously", according to its chairman Sir Jocelyn Stevens (letter, Nov. 15).

Why, then, did English Heritage decide to lend its support to Bromley council's monstrously frivolous proposal, approved in the High Court (where the judges quoted English Heritage to underpin their finding in favour of Bromley), to build a multi-plex cinema in Crystal Palace park?

Richard Francis
Thornton heath, Surrey

Just in case it has been overlooked. Please refer to Darrell Spugeon's book 'Discover Sydenham and Catford'.

On Page 37 under Towards the end you will note..."In 1911 a great Festival of Empire was held in the Palace and the Park, but in the same year, when the Company was facing bankruptcy, Lord Plymouth bought it. The Lord Mayor of London then started a fund WHICH BOUGHT IT FOR THE NATION IN 1913."

Just thought this might be useful.

Doug (24/03/00)

Dear Sir/madam

The threat to the Park as a result of UCI's development will effect everyone in the area personally - not something that bothers UCI.

If the campaign focused some of its attention to making it just as personal to UCI by organising protest meetings outside the directors' homes or at the golf club where they are members (if applicable).

This personal embarrassment might cause a change of heart.

Name supplied (10 July)

re: Development

I haven't had time to read up on the situation yet, having only just moved into the area, but:

I am shocked that a BOWLING ALLEY has been proposed.

The pursuit of leisure was never "in the spirit of Crystal Palace" which was in my opinion to make accessible to a much wider general public cultural events such as exhibitions.

I believe this spirit has further evolved to embody a refuge (from such everyday phenomena as cinemas, liquor and litter) in nature and the splendour of ruins from the original Sydenham Palace which like those of the Acropolis and Pantheon should not really be built upon.

Any C.P. development that cannot distinguish itself with crystal clarity from the standard Surrey Quays shopping/leisure centre model proliferating all over the country should not be allowed to proceed.

Mark Mihajlovic (9 October 2000)

Dome money...

What a shame is it that the vast amount of money wasted on the dome was not put into restoration of the Crystal Palace. Nearly everyone I speak to agrees that this would have been a better use of the money: even before the magnitude of the dome folly was obvious to all.

Was the Crystal Palace rebuild ever considered as an alternative to the dome? If not why not?

Could the threatened development be averted by the argument that the palace should be rebuilt there one day (perhaps at the next millennium!)

Vaughan Thompson (14 October 2000)

Rage among the ruins

Below is a copy of my letter to Ms Soames, editor of the Telegraph magazine2001.

Dear Ms Soames,

I read, today, in your magazine the article 'Rage among the ruins'. I was upset on two counts. First, I grew up in this area of London and can recall some very happy days playing in the Crystal Palace Park and was pleased to see it pretty much as I remembered it, on a return visit in 1994, when I was present at the American Music Festival. Living, as I do, outside of London near Oxford, I have no living family left near the vicinity and I rarely get the chance to return to the area, nor anyone to keep me abreast of local issues. I have told my children all about the park and have planned to visit it with them during the school holidays. I was truly upset when I saw what the philistines at Bromley borough council had planned.

Secondly, whilst it is a very good article, you fail to tell your readers how they can contact Philip Kolvin and the Crystal Palace Campaign, should we wish to support him. Please rectify your omission in next week's magazine and publish a contact address, for people like me who would like to help.

Yours sincerely,

Adrian Ballard 26 April 2001 (Abingdon)

I did visit the park with my daughters at Easter, and was devastated to see the state the park is in. It bore closer resemblance to a rubbish tip, than the park I remember. I was especially upset by all the Grafitti on the Sphinxes, and the mess the maze has become. However, my daughters (aged 5 & 7) had a great time being able to run free, without worry of passing traffic etc.

Why can't the park be renovated and turn the area, around the site of the old Palace, into an historic memorial and exhibition [space].


Oamaru - a heritage town (New Zealand)

I write to strongly endorse the Crystal Palace Campaign.

The town of Oamaru where I live is a heritage town of just 12,000 with many historic buildings, most of which were built during the Victorian era. All are built of the locally quarried limestone - known as Oamaru stone & still exported throughout the world. One small historic structure stands in our Public Gardens has an interesting connection with Crystal Palace & Joseph Paxton. Paxton was commissioned by John Reid, a wealthy local landowner, merchant & shipper to design a tiny summer house for his wife. It was located on his country estate amongst several other significant historic buildings. When Mrs Reid died her will decreed that the little summer house should be placed in the Oamaru Gardens, one of the oldest & best in NZ. The building is built of iron & coloured glass (now replaced with coloured perspex) & is protected under the Waitaki District Council's District Plan as well as listed with the NZ Historic Places Trust.

I prepare conservation histories for historic properties prior to their being restored & have lectured in Heritage Management at Massey University as part of a Tourism & Environmental Resource Management Degree. I wonder whether you are able to have a Heritage Management plan prepared to support your initiative. Are you able to get support from the United Nations ICOMOS committee - International Committee on Monuments & Sites?

I have been a Board member of the NZ Historic Places Trust & a local Borough Councillor here in Oamaru. While we have support for protecting, maintaining & upgrading many of our historic buildings it is just 3 years since the district was split over the building of an indoor aquatic centre on green space in the centre of town. A stream was piped, several trees removed, parking severely restricted, traffic flows radically changed & the old open-air pool filled in. Ratepayers now have a facility that could have been located anywhere, is of a utility design (pool is only a 25m one w/o seperate diving facilities) two unresolved court cases as well as annual operating costs that are three times the cost of the old outdoor facility.

Finally I note ironically that Oamaru, founded & developed during Victoria's reign & using the term 'Victorian Town at Work' as a marketing tool should be protecting its Victorian architecture & (some!?!) green open spaces, yet significant places & sites world famous of Victoria & Albert's reign should battle to be heard on their home patch.

As Alice in Wonderland said 'Things get curiouser & curiouser!

To reinforce the wide influence of architects & designers during Victorian times I note another structure that I can see as look out the door of my business here on Thames Street - so named after the River Thames. The WWI monument has a quote by Rudyard Kipling & a bronze commissioned by the town of T J Clapperton who designed the Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park. Also in the Oamaru Public Gardens is another bronze statue (also protected by Council & NZ HPT) of Peter Pan - this time with Wendy!

kind Regards & Good wishes for success with your campaign.

Helen Stead (Oamaru, New Zealand October 2002)

Good on ya!

I am at last able to visit England - long a cherished dream. I will be staying with my son for a few weeks and I shall make it a point to visit the Crystal Palace Park Victorian Day celebration on July 14th - I am so thrilled that justice prevailed in the end and I congratulate all the workers and campaigners and I am in awe of your wonderful efforts - Australia could certainly learn from you still.

See you all soon - by the way, your future proposals for the Park sound wonderful.

Marie Cimasko, Hackham, South Australia (27 June 2002)

Further to PAXTON'S Plea:

During the years of 1958-60 I and my family lived in Eden Park and often visited the Crystal Palace Park.

Many will have memories of this historical area and it is both the council and residents duty to ensure it is not lost to future generations. The car will not be with us forever, but the memory of Caxton's Palace will.

Frazer Irwin - Ilkley's Most Outspoken Resident. (1 March 2001)

A simple message...

I say NO to that new building...

Mark G (Forest Hill 16 February 2001)

...once a site is lost, it is never regained!

An email friend (a staunch supporter of your cause) told me about your website. I hope that all of you will stand together, and that you are successful. I live in the U.S., in a rural area, and it only stays that way because we fight to keep it so. What is being attempted there (they call it "urban development") is what is rampant here. Stick to your guns; once a site is lost, it is never regained -- and it doesn't stop there. Best of luck to you all.

Lucille VanDusen (14 February 2001)

Trees and the Lost Adonis

.... we are having problems with trees here - I live in a rain forest in British Columbia and our Council has decided to axe a whole bunch of trees. Why can't they understand that trees help to sustain the Earth. I'm not a fanatic tree hugger, but.... words fail me.

I have a picture taken when I was 17 (1955) - I went to Crystal Palace Park with my brother, who lives on Fox Hill, and sister.

It was taken on one of the statues left over from the Great Exhibition*. I have since learned that the statue is no longer there.

My brother sent the picture to the local magazine and it was published with the title 'Where is the Lost Adonis?'

Lost Adonis

I do hope you are successful in your endeavours and I shall certainly be keeping an eye on your website for news. My brother keeps me informed too.

Yours sincerely,

Patricia Tomlinson 5 February 2001

Ed: A happy picture - alas, apart from the sphinxes, there are no intact staues - except one I call "The Seer" who looks regal in his over-view of the park terraces.

Why can't all readers of this wonderful site, put a few quid (or whatever currency you uses) aside, so that you can send it to the Crystal Palace Campaign, as a Cristmas pressies, to help them fight the goood fight in the new year.

Andy Barber (15/10/99)

Ed: couldn't agree more (although slightly blushing... see :"How you can help - Money"))

Dear the Campaign,

I have been supporting you and I went on the recent march up to London from the Crystal Palace - I like to say nice one and I have about 20 more supporters to add to the campaign! Also I just like to say that one of my friends works in the media and has been given an assignment about the campain! He also had received an e-mail from Bromley that they plan to carry on even though UCI have been cold on the idea for a long time!!

Claire Beaumont (16/10/99)

Although I now live in Canada, I grew up in Bromley and Beckenham for most of my life. I was appalled when I heard that the council are intending to destroy a perfectly pleasant green space that has been used by the local residents for decades. I support you in your campaign.

Giles Norman (1/12/99)

On a busy day, the top site at Crystal Palace provides the only EMPTY space where one can walk without interruption and " blow away the cobwebs" for twenty minutes.

I live and work in Crystal Palace, but to get a brief bit of respite and stretch my legs, I can either use the top site or get in my car and DRIVE to South Norwood Lakes, Dulwich park etc. These days we all need stress-relieving exercise and spells of quiet minded respite, but we're all so pushed for time too.

I've been using the top site to do this for years. Now, when he can, my partner comes with me, and if I had a dog I'd go there daily. I have also been opposing Bromley's plans as an individual since the very first suggestion of development came from them. I have never had any communication from them to acknowledge this. Good Luck!

J.Matthews (30/01/00)

I would like to register my support for your campaign. There are too few open spaces in SE London, and Crystal Palace Park is a wonderful, varied, beautiful place, which needs to be preserved. I often go with my children - to the playground, to cycle round the wide paths, to the farm (although, sadly, no more!), and, most importantly to the Sports Centre, where all my children have learnt, or are learning, to swim.

Laura Davis ( 7/02/00)

Well, I was at the first public meeting and STILL Bromley Council are refusing to listen or in any way consult the residents of Crystal Palace. It is utterly incredible that Bromley Council can continue deluding themsleves that this ground swell of opposition to their lunatic planning scheme is simply limited to "a few hundred" people. Crystal Palace can't cope with the existing traffic on it's roads, the Park (including the "Closed Land") has ALWAYS been used by the residents, the development is a monstrosity and what benefit could there be for Crystal Palace residents? Jobs - mostly in service industries and badly paid no doubt, the likely effect on local business? Probably disastrous. Quality of life? Non-existent if the development goes ahead. Impact environmentally? Destruction of some unique wildlife habitats.......... the list goes on and on.

This campaign, thanks to the work of members and volunteers, gives the rest of us a voice - thank you.

A Thoresby (20/02/00)

I would sincerely love to add my name to the list of people who are in disagreement with the development of the Crystal Palace site. My six year old daughter loves to go walking around the lawns, kicking her ball and generally having fun. I can think of nothing worse than having a monstrosity of a shopping complex on the beautiful site - adding traffic to the already congested streets of the area. Having recently moved to the UK from South Africa, I consider myself very fortunate to live in one of the prettiest parts of London. I love the historic buildings, and was very saddened to read about all the beautiful old homes and buildings that have been destroyed in the name of progress. All strength to the Crystal Palace Campaign.

Gail (24/02/00)

Interesting site. To many times does our heritage transfer to commercial usage. In 150 years can you imagine anyone looking at a derlict cinema complex and making comment on how important the site is to the development of our heritage. Should the Crystal Palace ever be returned to it`s formar glory, I would be delighted to visit and allow my imagination to run riot.

I will not be visiting the current extremely expensive supposed attraction in London`s docklands. If only this type of money could be spent on more meaningfull and interesting ventures relating to our sadly diappearing industrial heritage

George Ogilvie (27/02/00)

Being new to the internet I have only just seen this web site and am very impressed. Finally it seems a cohesive campaign is underway. I notice support from the US now..this could lead to great movement. I have lived here for five years now and have written letters of protest to all parties concerned, (repeatedly).

The rebuilding of Paxton's original design would generate much public transport tourism to the area bringing in international tourism and support for local business. The original terraces being restored would be a fabulous feature rivalling the fountains in trafalgar square. The maze (in desparate need of attention could be as renowned as Hampton Court and we would all be associated with a world class heritage site. What are Bromley Council thinking of? Short term thinking in terms of "regeneration" is not going to bring the area far in terms of jobs or finance, which in my opinion seems to be the aim of Bromley. The site has a unique value historically (and potentially commercially). Where are English Heritage in this battle? The lack of Government support alludes me as well. Does no one in power object to the buiding of a "savacentre ?"

l.elliott-bickmore (28/02/00)

Ed. English Heritage and the Royal Fine Arts Commission gave reports to Bromley essentially supporting their plans and the Ritchie multiplex.These were cited in the final Judgement given for the Judicial Review.

We are a group of students from the University of North London in final year of BA Leisure and Tourism Management. We have to undertake a presentation that can illustrate the dimensions of the Political Economy of Leisure. For this we have choosen the plight of Crystal Palace. Whilst we are awaiting approval from our tutor we have been gathering information about the place.

I lived at College Road during the occupation which was one of the reasons why I persuaded the group that this would be worthwhile. However I must say how impressed I am with the website and the effort that has gone into this second to none. It will be a credit to your cause.

We are in the early stages of this project and will be seeking further contact with key members of the organisation. We note that there is also some contribution from a previous student from the UNL. Our project will not be a repetion of this though some of the information is relevent. We will be keen to submit our findings for use if you decide, and hope they will benefit the campaign. We will be undertaking a site visit this weekend to decide on our strategy and will visit the museum also.

We Look forward to further contact. Yours sincerely

Paul Hampson (28/02/00)

This is just to wish the campaign well and state my support for your attempts to make the park something people can be proud of. Liverpool's Princes Park in Toxteth is a Joseph Paxton design, and the magnificent glass Palm House in the city's Victorian Sefton Park is at last being restored after years of neglect, to general delight. The idea of such masterpieces of urban planning as these parks being subjected to desecration of the shape and scale as that supported by Bromley council is an outrage. It is a slap in the face for anyone in this country who has ever kicked a ball, fed the ducks or strolled with friends in these green oases that chunks of them can be flogged off and concreted over for the profit of American corporations by our own elected representatives, in the face of clear opposition from local communities.

So good luck!

Jonathan from Liverpool (04/07/00)

I spent a very pleasant summer evening in Crystal Palace Park and enjoyed the wild part of the park on the site of the Crystal Palace. It would be a tragic loss to the whole of London if this enchanted spot were redeveloped. There are all too few tranqil places in London. I totally oppose the redevelopment plans

Rob Smith (6 July 00)

The rape of Crystal Palace...

I was born in sydenham I spent many a happy day at the park .When I have returned for visits I have seen the senseless demolition of parts of Sydenham,Penge etc. Why are the town planners being allowed to commit such attrocities? Buildings like warts (all modern) have grown like fungus amongst the gentille dwellings of yesteryear. Do not let them destroy Crystal Palace, there will be nothing left for future generations. Just the opinion of someone who lives in Sussex but who's heart is in S E London.Fight the good fight! and good luck to you all.

Janet Wallis (25 November 2000)


Twelfth Night

I am working on a Victoria version of Twelfth Night for the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada, and in the process have been researching Victorian architects such as Paxton and his astonishing Crystal Palace. I support your campaign entirely, even from this remote location, because, believe me, this country (Canada)has been blighted by hundreds of mega cinemas that are not only spectacular examples of atrocious design, but frequently usurp acres and acres of prime property. These wretched buildings and parking lots are eyesores from coast to coast whether one is approaching them or is already inside where patrons are then charged exorbitant rates for ear-splitting noise and mindless imagery. Surely the Bromley Bunch wouldn't sink to such forlorn depths for the sake of "developement" if they could witness the tasteless, grotesque entertainment industry in North America. Why would the Bromley committee choose to make the city even uglier by allowing a repugnant and malevolent complex such as this to replace a historic sight of enormous significance?

Art Penson, Ottawa Canada (29 July 2001)


Council and the people.

I think the Council would be wise to revisit this decision. I grew up in the Crystal Palace area and it was always a special place for us. If something has to be built there - why not have it in keeping with it's special history - the plans right now sound horific. Listen to the people - they are the ones who pay your salary.

Trish & Bill Tomlinson (2 February 2001) Vancouver, Canada

Historic elements, traffic and rubbish

The park has so many historic elements to it that to build a multi complex would really be a great shame. Part of the old Crystal Palace not only was a special building, but also housed an area where the first TV and early radar experiments were conducted. Pissaro came to Upper Norwood to paint the area.

Traffic is already a problem, and will get much worse if a complex such as this were to open. One already takes great risks to cross the roads at the top of Anerley Hill, with teenage drivers, and drunken drivers leaving a busy complex, the situation would be much worse.

One question that does spring to mind however is 'would Bromley Council collect rubbish from local houses more regularly, and finally get rid of the rat problem many people have?' I pay a lot of council tax and receive very few services from Bromley Council. Is this massive profit and revenue generator for the council *really* going to benefit the community where it matters?

Why doesn't Bromley Council build their complex in Bromley, and leave our park, roads and community alone?

J.Quinn (4 December 2000)

Bromley's Greed

I see that a notice has appeared in the middle of the flowers on the Crystal Palace roundabout: "Advertise your Company here".

Is this indicative of Bromley's intentions for what remains of our Park after the mulitplex is built? Advertising among the flowers! Is there no end to Bromley's greed?

rg (20/11/99)

BUS TERMINUS - a triumph of logistics?

Before the Bus Terminus was even thought of generations of commuters awaited bus transport on Crystal Palace Parade at the bus stop near the zebra crossing/roundabout on Bromley's side of the road.

One GREAT advantage of this bus stop was that it was close to where people lived and most importantly EVERY bus route was served by this bus stop. Whilst the bus terminus was being built commuters awaiting Route 3 etc. were diverted to the Southwark side of Crystal Palace Parade which was further away from where people lived.

We endured this expecting the benefit of the old centralised bus stop(s) would be restored within the new Bus Terminus. I detected gloom on the horizon months ago when I realised that the bus terminus had no provision for Route 3 etc. Today I learnt with much annoyance that the resited bus stop for this route and others is now sited HALF WAY down Crystal Palace Parade which is even more remote than the temporary bus stop - there is not even a bus shelter.

The other GREAT advantage is that commuters travelling to Brixton ( for the Tube connection ) had the choice of catching Route 2 or 3 at the same bus stop(s) thus reducing the time spent awaiting transport. This we have now LOST as the two bus stops are too remote from each other. I of course will do my part and complain about it but if greater weight is to be brought to bear then commuters need the voice of the Crystal Palace Campaign.

The spin ( Public Relations exercise ) given by the authorities is that the commuters would benefit from these changes - WHAT A LOAD OF B*LL**KS. Had the public been consulted about this things may have turned out differently.

Bill (24/01/00)

Develop the Park?

The idea of developing a park in the area will totally spoil the character of the area and will mean the loss of a well used area of open land. The streets surrounding the park are already heavily congested - particularly around The Parade, Westlow Street and Annerley Hill - and are poorly equiped to cope with increased traffic. Bromley admittedly, has more green space than any other borough, however this is to the south, in developing Crystal Palace park they will be depriving Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark residents of precious open space. The views of all residents surrounding the area should be considered.

Caroline Field (18/09/00)

LETTERS - to the Evening Standard 4/12/00

 IT was reported (Honour for Kenwood's saviour, 29 November) that Philip Davies, director of the London region of English Heritage, paid tribute to Sir Arthur Crosfield, the man responsible for saving the Kenwood Estate in Hampstead from housing development between 1918 and 1925, in saying that

"without Crosfield's vision and foresight the Kenwood Estate would not have survived to be freely enjoyed by more than one million visitors every year".

Does Mr Davies not feel a sense of irony, given that English Heritage has lent its name to the desecration of Crystal Palace Park by Bromley Council's proposed multiplex commercial centre? .

Richard Francis,, Thornton Heath, Surrey

Crystal-gazing at 'bunker' plan - Evening Standard (Letters) 11 December 2000

CONCERNING the comments by Philip Davies of English Heritage (Letters, 7 December), the difference between Paxton's Crystal Palace and Bromley Council's gin palace is that decades after it burned down, but grieve about the latter before it has even gone up. A recent residents' poll showed that only one per cent supported this oversized bunker. Quite why English Heritage believes that the tired formula of multiplex cinema, bowling alley and, probably, video arcades is a worthy successor to Paxton's glory, defeats us all.

As for the proposed park relandscaping, Bromley's bizarre £27-million scheme, replete with aluminium flowers (yes, aluminium), rightly got the bum's rush from the Heritage Lottery Fund and ought never see the light of day.

English Heritage, an unelected body, is supporting the highest, biggest rooftop car park in the UK in one of our greatest historic parks. It should get out more.

Philip Kolvin, Chairman,
Crystal Palace Campaign,
Winterbrook Road, SE24

Stop sabotaging London's parks - Letters - Evening Standard 12 December 2000

In Mr Davies of English Heritage's anxiety to relate the necessity for a building to replace Paxton's original Crystal Palace, he forgot to mention the uses to which this "worthy" successor would be put (Letters, 7 December).

He correctly asserts that the park has suffered years of neglect from Bromley Council. Its solution is 12 acres of concrete and glass, needing 13 liquor licences and a 20-screen cinema. Is this in the spirit of Paxton's original educational and visionary concept? English Heritage is tacitly approving the modernisation of a beautiful Grade II listed Victorian park, which can be restored without this monstrous intrusion. Other ideas, such as developing the area around the neglected National Sports Centre, have been proposed. These would revitalise and enhance this facility without the further destruction of our park land, to the benefit of all.

Suzanne Elkin,
Alleyn Road SE21


Lambeth Councillors
Letter to Ian Livingstone of London and Regional properties dated 3rd February - copy presented at public meeting on 5th February 2000 - expressing their opposition to the L&RP proposals and their dissapointment at the failure of L&RP to enter into the negotiations as they had promised.

Full text...

Open Letter from Campaign Chairman, Philip Kolvin:

Mr Ian Livingstone
Managing Director
London and Regional properties
40 New Bond Street
London W1Y 9HB

24th January 2000 - OPEN LETTER

Dear Ian,

Crystal Palace

In April 1999, at the Campaign's public meeting attended by 1,500 people from Crystal palace, the then Minister for Public Health, the Right Honourable Tessa Jowell MP floated the idea of a stakeholders forum, to achieve the dual objective of exploring a settlement of the bitter and long-running dispute over your development proposal at Crystal Place, and giving local people a genuinely participatory role in the future of their beloved historic park.

The following months saw dialogue between Ms Jowell, yourselves and the developer, culminating in your letter of the 25th September 1999, which I read at our public meeting this time attended by the former speaker of the House of Commons Lord Weatherill, Jean Lambert MEP, many local councillors, the leaders of various amenity groups and a senior officer of Friends of the Earth. The letter gave immense hope to the community, since it contained a proper offer to engage in meaningful consultation with them. It promised that the stakeholders forum would commence without commitment to particular uses or design, and would start with a blank sheet of paper.

Following that meeting, the Crystal Palace Campaign, working with the community, has done its utmost both to expedite the process and put itself in a position to negotiate constructively. It has consulted 21 local groups representing many thousands of local residents. It has spoken to councillors from the surrounding boroughs. It has listened to business people. It has sent out 35,000 newsletters seeking views, and sought views through its web-site and through the press. It has also, of course, consulted widely within the Campaign itself. Our aim throughout has been to bring the community to a consensus as to a negotiating position, so that negotiations could progress fruitfully with a view to producing for us an acceptable form and scale of development and for you the certainty which you seek.

By way of contrast, you have done nothing whatsoever to progress the process. Nor have you issued any kind of public explanation or apology for your inaction, notwithstanding my several requests to you in this regard over the past weeks. I am now driven reluctantly to the conclusion that you have no intention of progressing the stakeholders forum promised in your letter of 25th September 1999. The Campaign is therefore taking steps to notify the relevant parties, and to resume its campaigning activities.

I am afraid that I must record that I regard your failure to progress the forum as disrespectful of the local community. We have done our level best to explore options for dialogue with you, all to no avail. You know how passionately local people feel about their historic park, and how concerned they are at your development proposals, which they regard as insensitive and exploitative. Their concern can only be enhanced at your apparent unwillingness to engage with them constructively, particularly when you had so recently raised their hopes of a meaningful dialogue. It has left me to wonder whatever motivated you to offer a forum in the first place, and what your intentions really were. The regrettable consequence of all this is that the community's energies will continue to be spent in setting its face against your plans, and taking whatever lawful action is available to it to prevent them coming to fruition.

In conclusion, the door is always open for dialogue. But we do feel that our trust in your commitment to this process has been misplaced. Therefore, should you you wish ever to attempt dialogue again, you will have a bridge to build first. After nearly four years in which you have largely refrained from open dialogue with local people whose lives and environment will be altered by your proposals, mere words will not cut ice with us again.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Kolvin (signed)

13 Winterbrook Road, London SE24 9HZ

Mr. Ian Livingstone
London and Regional Properties Limited
40 New Bond Street
London W1

24th February 2000


Dear Mr. Livingstone,

Crystal Palace

Thank you for your letter.

I need to correct one matter. The mediation process which you are now abandoning was not mooted by me, but by you in your letter of 25th September 1999 when you wrote that the time had come for a meaningful mediation between the parties concerned, and asked me and Roger Salmon to meet with you to discuss terms of reference. We met and agreed on a mediation through CEDR, and also agreed that I should communicate this agreement to the community groups. I am sorry that you have done nothing to progress the mediation. This brings your overall delay in progressing the stakeholders forum to 10 months, since you committed yourself publicly to this process.

Nevertheless, I am very pleased that you state that you remain fully committed to a stakeholders forum. I agree that it should contain the widest possible community representation and involvement. I await your proposals as to how this may be ensured, for consideration by the Campaign and other community groups and representatives. At the same time, you will no doubt wish to make proposals as to the chairmanship of the forum so that we can work together to get matters under way at the earliest opportunity.

Finally, while you wish to change the procedural mechanism for the forum, I am assuming that you intend its scope and content to remain as promised in your letter of 25th September 1999, namely, that it should proceed from a blank sheet of paper, include all issues pertaining to the provision of leisure in the park, and start without commitment to particular uses or design. I should be most grateful for confirmation that you intend to keep this promise.

Yours sincerely,




Return to letters index; Top of Page; Contents

15/10/99 Last updated 1/12/99
5/02/00 - Bill added
6/0200 - Open letter to L&RP added
8/02/00 - added Laura Davis 03/03/00 - more letters 10/03/00 letter 24th Feb to L&RP.
27/03/00-Bought for the nation... 04/07/00; 26/07/00; 18/09/00; 19/10/00;27/11/00;4/12/00 (Richard F & starting anchors);8/12/00 J Quinn
16/1/01; 7/2/01;8/2/01;16/2/01;3/3/01;28/06/01;10/7/02; 19/10/02