On 4th May 2000 the people of London will vote for the Mayor of London. It is a unique opportunity to participate in the selection of the man or woman best able to represent the needs and aspirations of all Londoners. We must not waste it.
But how should we decide? Not necessarily along party lines. The Mayor's policies made in the interests of Londoners may be at odds with party policy at local and national level. Nor, we believe, is tabloid gossip or tittle tattle a proper basis for selection.
The Crystal Palace Campaign has no political allegiance. We care simply about Crystal Palace Park and the residents and businesses affected by the most unpopular "leisure" scheme ever proposed in this country. A development whose foundations are greed, which will bring 17,000 traffic movements each Saturday to our congested streets, blight our skyline with the largest rooftop carpark in the country, inject crime, vandalism and noise into our residential areas, and disfigure this great park landscape. A development opposed by the overwhelming majority of local people, whose wishes are treated by planners and developers alike with sneering, arrogant contempt.
So we have invited all of the main mayoral candidates to face the people of Crystal Palace, and answer our questions. Three have taken up the challenge. Their answers will be of interest to everyone who cares for parks, public health or people. We might ask:
These politicians want your votes. Come hear them. Let the debate begin.
Crystal palace Campaign
There is increasing pressure on the mayoral candidates to stand up and be counted, when it comes to the proposed development at Crystal Palace Park. Darren Johnson from the Green Party, has shown strong support as a campaigner against the plans to build a multi-million pound development on part of the public Grade II* listed parkland.
Steven Norris, Conservative mayoral candidate, has come out against the multiplex-linked development too. Speaking at the London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies, Mr Norris said that past neglect of Crystal Palace Park did not justify the proposed development. He said people needed to manage their open spaces and their historic environment more imaginatively and caringly, and that people should encourage the greening of London with improved management and protection of metropolitan parks.
There has been huge emphasis placed on retaining green spaces in London, and the Crystal Palace Campaigners are now in the process of arranging a public meeting of all mayoral candidates, in a debate relating to parks and green spaces.
UCI-cinemas speaks up
Opposition to the inclusion of an 1 8-screen cinema in the proposed leisure complex in Crystal Palace Park including the nationwide anti-UCI protest last month, has led UCI to state for the first time since confirming its tenancy, that its intention to operate the largest multiplex development of its type in the south of England depends on "a number of requirements being met".
These included "local community issues and a wide range of other aspects". UCI claims that the tree-lined ridge on the edge of the park is "a 12 acre wasteland". There has been an on going battle between campaigners who believe the historical site has been neglected for years by Bromley Council, and the Council itself, who sees the development as part of a long needed plan for regeneration in the area.
from Living South (April 2000), page 4
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Last updated: 30/03/00; 31/03/00-added pictures