(N.3) December '98 - January '99 - legal action news


Judicial Review - result 21st December 1998
Judicial Review to happen.. (+judge cartoon)


The co-litigants in about a week are to hold a meeting to consider further legal moves - news, as it happens then, will be reported here!

25/1/99:- The decision was taken to petition the House of Lords:

Here is a report from Ken Lewington, Vice Chairman, Crystal Palace Campaign.

On the 21st December 1998 the Court of Appeal adjudged that Bromley Council had not misdirected itselfwhen granting outline planning permission to London and Regional Properties for its proposed multiplex leasure operation in Crystal Palace Park. The main point at issue was Section 4 of the Crystal Palace Act.

The Campaign argued that the Act means that the building should visually resemble or be reminiscent of the old Crystal Palace. Furthermore, the Campaign consaidered that in granting outline planning permission Bromley had acted upon advice from the Royal Fine Art Commission, English Heritage and others which, far from being positive advice, did not address the issue at all. Nevertheless the judges bowed to a barrage of linguistic and conceptual argument and chose to dismiss a simple, rational approach - the approach which tells the person in the street (who would have to live with it) that what we are being offered owes more to an airport terminal with a car park on the roof than it does to Sir Joseph Paxton's great glass masterpiece - described by the Royal Fine Art Commission in 1992 as "... the first and greatest modern building".

Common sense should prevail. The common sense of the "traveller on the Clapham omnibus" and the thousands of Crystal Palace campaign supporters who, whilst wishing to see the regeneration of the wider area, reject Bromley's unfounded claims that this monstrosity has the support of the majority of the community.

The Campaign is now taking the case forward by way of a petition to the House of Lords and if you would like to pledge your support for this action and would welcome a sensitive approach to the treatment of our park, please contact us: CONTACTS CPC.


Ken Lewington

Vice Chairman,

Crystal Palace Campaign

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RESULT OF JUDICIAL REVIEW - 21st December 1998

The legal challenge by the Crystal Palace Campaign to Bromley's plans to put a vast multiplex complex on the site of the old Crystal Palace was today dismissed by the Court of Appeal. The Court held that the requirement of the 1990 Crystal Palace Act for the new building to reflect the architectural style of the old did not mean that it had to resemble the great Victorian Palace in any way. The Court accepted that the building, which has been described as looking like an airport terminal with vehicle ramps and rooftop parking for 1,000 cars, looked nothing like the Palace, but said this did not matter. It also accepted, but thought irrelevant, the Council's admission that it got its parking figures wrong, and that there would be a shortfall in car parking of 500 cars.

The Crystal Palace Campaign Chairman, Philip Kolvin, said: " Local people will find it hard to understand this result. We believe that the Court got it wrong, and we shall be considering an appeal to the House of Lords. We are proud to have represented a community which has united over this challenge, and we are preparing further legal challenges for the future. We have kept this development at bay for 18 months, and we have enough material to keep it at bay for a long time to come."


The Campaign has promised that it will redouble its efforts against these proposals. It intends to press ahead with the Bromley Boycott. It is on its way to acquiring 100,000 signatures of local people who pledge to boycott both this development and all premises of any cinema operator unwise enough to occupy this site. Mr Kolvin said: "Acting together, the community can make this park too much of a commercial risk to develop. Any operator despoiling the park will pay a heavy economic price. We are saying to the operators: stay away, or we will stay away. This is a moral issue about who decides the future of parks, the community or developers. It is an issue we intend to win."


Contractual arrangements were entered into between Bromley and the developer before any real consultation with the community. Overwhelming public opinion was ignored by Bromley, whose claim that the majority of local people back the proposal has been refuted by the thousands of local residents and traders who have backed the Campaign.

Any so-called regeneration benefits will be negated by the loss of valuable open parkland, traffic chaos, damage to existing local trade, and the urbanisation of the area. Bromley is actively looking at how best to redevelop the remainder of the park, and it is crucial that the community remains vigilant, to prevent further attempts to desecrate the park.

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Judicial Review


At the 3rd November Helpers' Meeting, the current legal position was described. The judicial review is expected to be held in January 1999 at the Appeal Court in front of three judges.

It is unusual for a judicial review of this sort to be heard by the Appeal Court. When the Campaign originally sought leave for a judicial review in the High Court, it was rejected. The Campaign appealed and the previous judge's decision was overturned (2 Sept.'98) by three judges in the Court of Appeal. At the same time the judges declared that the case was an interesting one and that they would hear it themselves.

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31/5/99 Latest update 14/11/99