(R.21) Mayoral Candidates


in full sent to the Campaign for the 15th April 2000 mayoral meeting or extracts from speeches.

Ram Gidoomal - Christian Peoples Alliance
Darren Johnson - Green Party
Susan Kramer - Liberal Democrat
Ken Livingstone - Independent
Steve Norris - Conservative Party
Trevor Phillips - Labour Party

Ram Gidoomal - Christian Peoples Alliance

I am sorry not to have been able to join you today in, what I expect to be a very lively debate, concerning the issues at Crystal Palace.

I live in Sutton, just twenty minutes away from here, and am a governor of James Allen's Girls School. I am aware of Bromley Council's proposals for Crystal Palace Park, indeed I doubt there are few in government who are not.

This proposed development on 12 acres of the tree-lined ridge of Crystal Palace Park raises several, very serious, issues of concern.

Firstly, parks provide an essential balance to commercial over-development, and enhance the quality of our lives. We are the trustees of these precious and dwindling open spaces and it is our responsibility to ensure their preservation for future generations. Our children and grandchildren will not thank us for allowing commercial exploitation of irreplaceable parkland. What use are our memories to them when all they see is concrete. I would like to think the future Mayor of London could take moral responsibility for such decisions.

Secondly, there is no question but that such a development, operating 19 hours a day, closing at 2 in the morning, will encourage huge numbers to come to this area by car. Each day the metropolis is absorbing vast quantities of transport energy and creating pollution. London can get by with more traffic jams but the toll on our lives will become ever more serious. I am concerned about the monitoring of pollution levels and am puzzled by the government's promises to reduce traffic and pollution and then to allow a massive development like this to go ahead without public enquiry or environmental assessment.

Thirdly, is it right that local authorities have the power to sell off green space for commercial development? Parks and open land are a finite resource and once gone, they are lost forever. Local authorities must be accountable, not only to their own voters but also to their neighbours. Each borough cannot stand alone. In the case of Crystal Palace where five boroughs meet, it is not enough for one borough, Bromley. to dictate to the four others whose residents will be the most affected by their schemes.

It concerns me that if such land as this, protected by Grade II* listing and Metropolitan Open Land status, can be designated by the London Borough of Bromley as brown field site after having started life as common land and having been parkland for the last 64 years, then the precedent is set and all parks and open spaces are vulnerable to piecemeal disposal.

Finally, there is more than one way to regenerate an area. People's lives are improved by the environment in which they live. That does not just refer to the built environment but more importantly to the natural environment. It is true of all towns and cities, but perhaps most especially in London, that people need an area of calm which parks and open spaces provide.

I support your fight to preserve Crystal Palace Park top

Darren Johnson - Green Party

"...We have pledged in this campaign, as I've done on numerous occasions that we would make Crystal Palace a key part of our campaign for the Mayoral elections. It's symbolic of what's happening right across London. Open space is being lost, new developments are going up, increasing traffic, increasing crime, destroying local communities and local shops and going against the wishes of local people and this symbolically has got to be a big part of our campaign and we have got to stop (this)...."

"...That is what I say the Mayor of London must do after May 4th. If the Mayor is to serve the people of London properly to protect our open space and their environment to listen to local communities, to reduce traffic, to support local communities and local economies then they must do everything they can to ensure that this development never goes ahead. (applause) The full weight of the Mayor's office needs to be put behind the campaign to ensure that Crystal Palace Park is protected. Whatever decisions are made about its future, they need to be ones that properly involve the local community and we can go into more of those details through the questions but the local community needs to be fully involved in any decisions about its future and their needs to be a full environmental impact assessment before a single brick is laid on Crystal Palace Park.(applause)....

"...I've been very pleased to have made this a big part of campaign for the Greater London elections on May 4th but I've also been even more proud to have played an active part in the campaign to save Crystal Palace Park. I will continue doing that whether I'm elected Mayor, whether I'm elected to the London Assembly, I will work closely with the local community to ensure that we protect Crystal Palace Park and other parks like it and we protect our open space and we actually start listening to local communities across London....

"...So I want to give my pledge now... to everyone here - I'll read it out:

"Green Party pledge on Crystal Palace - we pledge to continue the fight for Crystal Palace Park. We do not want the multiplex, the Green Party is the only party to have consistently opposed the proposed development of Crystal Palace. We are the only party that can be trusted with London's environment.

"I will sign this pledge now..... " top

Susan Kramer - Liberal Democrat

"I am grateful to the Campaign for giving me this opportunity to address this important issue.

"The campaign about Crystal Palace shows clearly that all too often today's planning authorities pay too little attention to the need to involve and engage London's communities from the very start of the planning process.

"As Mayor I will seek to balance the need and benefits from regenerating derelict areas of London with everyone's desire to restrict over-development and secure green open spaces across the city. " top

Ken Livingstone - Independent

"...If I'd have been Mayor at a time when this planning application came up I would have directed the Borough Council to refuse it. I can see no justification for consuming any of the remaining green space that exists in London. We have clearly got to do more development, build more homes, but there are enough brown-field sites in London to accommodate all of that and the Mayor has to make a priority to defend the little bit of green space that we have still got in this city. ...

"...I make this pledge to you, if I'm elected Mayor, because there will be a lot going on. One of the things I will do is bring Darren into my cabinet, so there will be a constant environmental voice making the Mayor and everybody else aware as each of these decisions come up - and what I'll ask him to do, because it's a full time job, the assembly members, is to take on board an immediate overall responsibility for co-ordinating the Mayor's strategy to try and stop this project going ahead. Give him the resources that are required in terms of officers, staffing and so on so that we can explore all these possibilities. As the other planning applications come forward, with all their impact on transport and so on and the point that Val Shawcross raised there whether you could look at some parking way of trying to affect this. If there is any way that we can find to try and prevent this development going ahead, rewind us back to where we were before, I'll give Darren the resources to make sure he can find that and then we'll act on it together and that's the sort of approach I want to see. ..." top

Steve Norris - Conservative Party

"I am sorry that I am unable to come on Saturday, but I have a long standing commitment which I cannot break. I do, however, recognise the importance of this issue to all who will be present at the meeting and beyond.

I recognise and support the need for regeneration at Crystal Palace. However, I share your concerns about the proposals for the top site, such as the nature of the building and the impact of traffic on adjoining areas.

When I am Mayor, this is exactly the sort of planning application, straddling the boundaries of five boroughs, that I would consider from a strategic point of view. I will work to develop broader based and more inclusive methods and forms of consultation and decision making on such projects.

After 4th May, I will certainly want to see to it that the regeneration of the area is in a form, that will genuinely benefit residents." top

Trevor Phillips - Labour Party

"...we have no alternative but to say to developers in the case, London and Regional, there will be a Mayor who will be able to call in 150 to 300 projects a year who will be able to stop you, if you do not want this to be the last development you ever make in London then you need to talk to us you need to talk to the community, you need to rethink you're ideas and you need to make this plan acceptable." top

Top of page; Return to Meetings index; Full text of 15 April Meeting

Ram Gidoomal - Christian Peoples Alliance; Darren Johnson - Green Party; Susan Kramer - Liberal Democrat; Ken Livingstone - Independent; Steve Norris - Conservative Party; Trevor Phillips - Labour Party

Last updated 06/05/00