(R.18) Crystal Palace Campaign - Mayoral Meeting - Summary Text

15th April 2000 - Kingsdale School 1100 - 1300

Estimated attendance - over 1000.

The following is a brief summary of proceedings taken from the original text (all tape recorded).
For the complete, unabridged text see: Full Text
For a summary of statements made by the candidates see: Statements
For the London Mayor Election Results see: Results

Patsy Barnes - opening remarks
Philip Kolvin - CPC Chairman and meeting Chairman - opening remarks
Darren Johnson - Green Party - opening talk
Val Shawcross
Ken Livingstone
Trevor Phillips
Irene Kimm
Susan Kramer - statement
Ram Gidoomal - statement

Patsy Barnes (CPC steering group)

....the person who we believe can wield the most influence in London at the moment is the new London mayor - and we turn to these candidates to ask for their views and to ask for their support.

The list of bodies and individuals who have expressed opposition to this horrendous development is quite formidable - I'll give you just a few names:

The Parliamentary Select Committee on the Environment; The Select Committee on the Crystal Palace Act; The Council for the Protection of Rural England; Friends of the Earth; London Wildlife Trust; The Green Party; The local authorities - Southwark, Lambeth Lewisham and Croydon have all come out on our side against the proposed development; some ministers - Malcolm Wicks, Tessa Jowell; some MPs - the local MPs have been very supportive; members of the Lords - Lord Weatherill a number of you will have come to the meeting last year when he spoke; the amenity societies particularly have been very supportive - the Dulwich Society, Croydon, Herne Hill, Sydenham - all those people have really been enormously supportive and have backed everything that's been going on (in the Campaign).

Now let's look who's on the other side. Who actually supports this development? Well... no prizes for guessing - they are really quite few - Bromley Council, London & Regional (the developers) who signed up a deal before the local community was consulted and, of course UCI who hope to make the best of capitalising on our park.

23,000 people signed a petition against this scheme. I believe I speak for them in opposing this development and we'll be asking the candidates today for their views.

Now let me hand you over to Philip Kolvin, who's the chairman of the Crysal Palace Campaign who's going to introduce the speakers. Thank you very much. (applause)Top of Page

Philip Kolvin
(Crystal Palace Campaign Chairman)

Sustainable development came late to European civilisation. Only in 1987 did we define it as meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of our children to meet their own needs. Now the Navahoe Indian has understood this for centuries. They have a saying " We do not inherit the land from our parents we borrow it from our children."....

....The mayoral debate so far has focussed very largely on the question of public transport. That is an extremely important issue particularly for those who use public transport every day.... but it is not the only environmental issue in London. For children, their parents, the elderly, the unemployed, for walkers, dog walkers, nature lovers - those who like to breath the air and those who just like to watch the passage of the seasons a central issue is the quality of our local environment and our local parkland. Today we are going to be asking the mayoral candidates what will you do for our children? What will you do for their parks? And what will you be doing for Crystal Palace Park in particular.

... we want a mayor who can take action where local democracy has failed and where our environmental assets are being threatened.

The great scholar, Ruskin, once said:

"The measure of any great civilisation is its cities and a measure of a city's greatness is to be found in the quality of its public spaces, its parks and its squares."

Our question to these candidates today is "How civilised is the London Mayor going to be?"Top of Page

Darren Johnson (Green Party)

.... stop environmentally destructive and traffic generating schemes such as the proposed developments on Crystal Palace Park and Rainham Marshes ....

English Heritage hosted a debate some weeks ago.... (I had to give a) firm rebuke from the platform.. on their decision... that the original design by Joseph Paxton, the spirit of that was being followed by the appalling concrete multiplex with the car-park on the roof .... what nonsense ....!

We have got a new opportunity with the Greater London Authority....

The environment is obviously a big issue as well.... certainly any mayor who is serious about that cannot allow this development to go ahead and will do everything within their powers to put the full weight of the mayors office behind the Campaign to ensure that this development never does go ahead.

.... there needs to be a full environmental impact assessment before a single brick is laid on crystal Palace Park. (applause) ...

I'd like to do this pledge in writing....

Green Party Pledge on Crystal Palace

"We pledge to continue the fight for Crystal Palace Park . We don't want the multiplex. The Green Party is the only party to have consistently opposed the proposed development at Crystal Palace. We are the only Party which can be trusted with London's environment." ....Top of Page

Val Shawcross

.... new car parking spaces going on Metropolitan open land or green land could be subject to a very onerous charge.... car parking tax (can be used) to alter the economics of this situation.... Top of Page

Ken Livingstone (Independent)

... I really do regret that in creating a mayor and assembly for London the government hasn't given (back to) the mayor control over the great strategic parks so that they can get resources from across London and actually be integrated into an overall strategy.... because the reality is Bromley has taken a very narrow, profit driven, really don't give a damn attitude in terms of the local environment.....

Anything that happens after July 3rd where there is a planning implication will come before the mayor.... if I had 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've 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've still got in this city.....

I make this pledge to you if I am elected mayor .. one of the things I will do is bring Darren into my cabinet so that there will be a constant environmental voice making the mayor and everybody else aware as each of these decisions come up. And what I will ask him to do because it's a full time job, (i.e.) the assembly members, is to take onboard 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 officer staffing and so on so that we can explore all of these possibilities. As the other planning applications come forward with all their impact on transport and so on - the point that Val Shawcross raised about whether you can look at some parking way of trying to effect 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 will have to act on it together...." (loud applause) .....

"Anything I can do after the election, if I'm lucky enough to be elected, and I'll work closely with Darren on this, anything we can do to preserve what should be one of London's greatest parks and a resource for the whole of the region - anything we can do to try and save it - we will do." Top of Page

Trevor Phillips (Labour Party)

There are ways in which we can deal with this..

...This is a great test of London government and London politics and its going to be a tough test of reality a test of our toughness . one reason we are going to have a mayor is because there are great vested interests in this city and I mentioned one - the establishment Royal Parks and so forth - which control our green spaces the other will be the developers. And I believe that If we cannot get the kind of variation, the protection that we need on this we have no alternative but to say to the developers and in this case London and Regional - there will be a mayor who will be able to call in 150 - 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 your ideas and you need to make this plan acceptable.... I'm not going to pretend to you that we have the legal power to stop it.... what I can say to you though .... is that we will use every power we have to protect our green spaces...

...this is a tough choice it is a real choice we cannot give up the SRB bid we cannot block it simply because we've been forced into this dilemma. We will not sell out the people of Anerley and Penge and those who have not had advantages we will not sell them out but at the same time we will try to protect you and we will use every trick in the book every piece of muscle that we have to prevent the kind of horror that I think you envisage. That is our position that is the clear position that we are going to put to everybody it is the honest position .. . it's one that I hope that you will support. Top of Page

Irene Kimm (assembly candidate)

Read the following letter to the Crystal Palace Campaign from Steve Norris:

"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.

Yours sincerely,

Steve Norris (signed)

I feel ladies and gentlemen that its also important that I make this statement .... on behalf of Lambeth and Southwark councillors. I'd just like to make this a statement of my position as the assembly candidate for the area and the previously stated positions of the Conservative councillors in Lambeth and Southwark. We are all, completely opposed to the proposed development of the multiplex cinema - it has no place in a residential area such as this. It is also a travesty to compare the design of this hideous building to the original Crystal Palace.

....you can introduce as many traffic schemes as you want - the fact is the area is already too congested. (applause) We already suffer from pollution and this development will make it much worse. We condemn without reservation the arrogant, dismissive attitude of Bromley council towards the genuine and strongly felt concerns of this local community. (applause)

... We also condemn (and I'm sorry Trevor) the decision of John Prescott for failing to call in this plan (loud applause). Top of Page

Philip Kolvin reads out the Note from 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. "

Susan Kramer, Liberal Democrat Mayoral Candidate Top of Page

Philip Kolvin reads out an extract from the note fromRam Gidoomal (Christian Peoples Alliance):

"...There is more than one way to regenerate an area. Peoples 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."

I support your fight to preserve Crystal Palace Park. Top of Page;

Philip Kolvin - wound up the meeting and thanked mayoral participants and others

Green spaces are the lungs of London city

Patsy Barnes - opening remarks; Philip Kolvin - CPC Chairman and meeting Chairman - opening remarks; Darren Johnson - Green Party - opening talk; Val Shawcross ; Ken Livingstone; Trevor Phillips; Irene Kim; Susan Kramer - statement

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Last updated: 17/04/00;24/04/00 (sp.) 06/05/00