(N.2) Updates March - May 1999

Contains recent information on meetings, exhibition, legal etc.
For other information ("less recent") - go back to News Index


Further Action - and link to Legal Index
Update 7th May re: Bromley Council Meeting of 6th May (includes Press Release)
Annerley Hill Roundabout demo - 6th March 1999 - pictures
30th March Bromley Council Meeting (detailed C.P. planning items removed from agenda)
Press Release 30th March - John Payne, Press Officer
Carnival atmosphere - 13th March 1999
Update 9th March 1999 - candlelight vigil

Further Action Continues...(9/5/99-ongoing)

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UPDATE - 7th May 1999 - Crystal Palace Campaign

Short Report: Bromley Council Meeting 6th May:
The council Development Control Committee voted in favour of the Top site Development detailed planning permission - a last ditch attempt by Councillors Hall and Michael to have the decision deferred pending a proper environmental assessment was defeated, the Committee having been brought to heel by its Chief Planning Officer Stuart MacMillan. Scenes of protest following this vote, virtually unheard of before, stopped the meeting until near midnight when it resumed to consider other park plans. Even the improptu stripper on the hall stage failed to cheer up the deeply disappointed audience. The second item was also approved by the Committee.

Press Release

Extraordinary scenes were witnessed at Bromley's Development Control Committee meeting on the evening of Thursday May 6. Councillors sat bemused for over thirty minutes when in a spontaneous outburst, many hundreds of local people harangued them for granting full planning permission for a huge multiplex-linked leisure development on Crystal Palace Park. Dozens of police were called to restore order and form a line around the stage.

The Council granted permission despite the Campaign pointing out that Bromley's traffic projections were out by 100%, creating 17,000 new vehicle movements in and around the Park every Saturday. The building has also increased substantially in size from the original outline submission and will now contain 700 additional cinema seats.

The council admitted not knowing what leisure uses were proposed, and in an unprecedented decision granted the developer permission to determine the mix, thus giving him free rein to decide the content and use of the building without need to refer back to the Council. This ensures that any future use of the building can be varied at will by, the developer, London & Regional Properties Ltd, and could even include casinos.

The Campaign objected that no visual impact appraisal of the effect of the development on the tree-lined ridge had been carried out. Lift shafts, plant for the multiplex, rows of parked cars, a 280m safety barrier, vehicle ramps and blue lighting strip together with 24-hour uplighting will surround the building. This will be highly visible, dominating the skyline, creating noise and light pollution.

In a late submission Southwark Council reiterated strong opposition to the complex, and urged "Bromley completely to rethink its plans". Southwark also for the first time " requested that an environmental assessment be conducted before construction begins. Three Bromley councillors also wanted to defer the final decision pending a proper environmental assessment but on advice from officers, the majority voted against, and approved the development.

The Campaign believes this amounts to an abdication of responsibility, and a wholesale disregard for the environmental sensitivities of the site and the surrounding area.

The allocated speakers presented powerful and rational arguments from the floor but their submissions were totally ignored by the Committee. The Campaign Chairman, Philip Kolvin, pleaded for a dialogue between the Council and the community. His plea was ignored. A similar written request by 'l'essa Jowell, MP, was disregarded.

The Campaign is pursuing legal action before the House of Lords, the European Commission, and the European Court.

John Payne, Press Officer
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Annerley Hill Roundabout 6th March 1999 - demo. pictures

SEE some demo-pictures, further news and cinema operator's address.(a bit slow-ish to load; 1-2 minutes?, but worth it....)

30th March 7:30 p.m. - Bromley Civic Centre - brief report

"NO! to Bromley's Crystal Palace Plans" protests placards were everywhere - about 300 people turned up to attend the meeting and found that the items of concern had been removed from the agenda and the discussion postponed until 6th MAY - same time (7:30 pm); same Place (Bromley Civic centre). The drizzle had not put anyone off. People in the amiable crowd were milling about and greeting fellow campaigners (last seen at the Empire Leicester Square), swopping stories and preparing for the next encounter. Even the large police contingent had to smile - and why shouldn't they since Bromley were paying the heafty overtime costs. [It must have dawned on Bromley ratepayers, with rates already amongst the highest in the country, that this little project of Bromley Council's and London and Regional Properties' is costing them a fortune - money which would be better spent e.g. on the Park.]

Nevertheless almost everyone filed into the meeting hall and heard the formal announcement that their two items had been removed from the agenda and had both been placed on the 6th May agenda (not that Bromley will admit that they are linked). When invited by the Chairman to leave, if they wished, since their items were not on the egenda, most people stood and left but not after a few sharp words were voiced by the departing throng to be met by a phalanx of po-faced councillors. But they were left in no doubt what the feelings were held by the protestors.

The councillors were left with the loudly voiced phrase "we will be back" (i.e. the 6th of May) and were perhaps wishing that they had not cancelled the meeting which was to be a consultation session i.e. consultation according to Bromley!

For once the Campaign had the upper hand, "a 1- 0 away goal victory", as the Campaign Chairman put it.

See you on the 6th.

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Press Release 30th March 1999

Crystal Palace Campaign today hailed a victory as Bromley Council made a last minute retreat. At 12.45pm, Bromley's Borough Secretary, Walter Million, telephoned the Campaign's Press Officer to say that the two items relating to the Crystal Palace Park have been withdrawn from this evening's Development Control Committee agenda. This eleventh-hour decision is unprecedented and was, according to Bromley, made for unspecified 'legal reasons'.

The Campaign's representations on the Palace site development included the point that a grant of planning permission would be a breach of Bromley's undertaking to Parliament (see note below), resulting in a possible contempt of Parliament. Bromley's Chief Legal Officer subsequently stated that the proposed building complied with the undertaking.

The Campaign has stated that it is willing to look at a joint approach to Parliament to clarify the position before permission is given. This might avoid the situation whereby Bromley may have to revoke the planning pelmission at a cost to Council taxpayers of millions of pounds, for which the members granting permission might be held liable by the District Auditor.

Bromley's policies for the Park are now in disarray. Meanwhile, massive pressure is being brought to bear by the Campaign on the developer, London & Regional Properties Ltd and the cinema operator UCI to discourage them from proceeding with this unpopular scheme. The Heritage Lottery Fund is also being lobbied to ensure that monies are not released for inappropriate works associated with the Park re-landscaping scheme.


During the passage of the Crystal Palace Act 1990, Bromley undertook to the Select Committee that a building on the site would reflect the spirit of Crystal Palace and that it would contain a predominance of glass and metal. This week, one of the MPs on the Select Comrnittee, Ian Hughes, described the building as an "abomination" and "obviously not reflecting the spirit of the original".

The building does not contain a predominance of glass and metal because the largest structural element is the rooftop car park, which is made of concrete. The roof of the original Crystal Palace was, like the rest of the building, was made of glass and metal.

A breach of a parliamentary undertaking is a contempt of Parliament.

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CARNIVAL ........13th March 1999

As this is being written, there is something of a carnival atmosphere at Crystal Palace. The Anerley Hill roundabout is once again host to a large number of people of all ages protesting peacefully in the glorious sunshine.
Music, shouting and cheering, whistle blowing and hooting can be heard loud and clear. Local people are once again (and again and again...) showing their disapproval of this diabolical scheme that Bromley Council, London and Regional developments and UCI (UK) Ltd (the potential cinema providers) are trying to foist on an unwilling populace.
GO AND JOIN IN..........

For the addresses to write to - see CONTACTS

UPDATE 9th MARCH, 1999

A wide cross section of the community united to voice their opposition last weekend, at the top of Anerley Hill, and attended the evening candlelit vigil outside the site. National newspapers are interested to know the depth of public opinion and will be there next Saturday morning (13th). It will be an opportunity to express your concerns. There will also be an evening of music and protest held this Wednesday and Saturday evening.

Call us if you want to join the Campaignís visit to the London headquarters of UCI, London and Regional, and Downing Street (provisionally set for 20th March).

It has been confirmed that United Cinemas International (UCI) will be the cinema operator and have signed an agreement with London and Regional Properties (the developer) and Bromley Council. UCI is jointly owned by Universal and Paramount. Our local Blockbuster video is a Paramount sister company, as are Nickelodeon and MTV. Quoting from the UCI website www.uci-cinemas.co.uk :-

Tell UCI what you think: see CONTACTS

Congestion is already so bad in this area that traffic seized last Wednesday morning after a minor accident at Paxton Green Roundabout. Separately, at midday hundreds of police sealed off Crystal Palace Parade to begin the eviction of the environmental protesters. The closure of our residential streets and the Parade was totally inappropriate and disruptive, especially to school children abandoned by their buses. The emergency services' ability to respond was seriously compromised. Total congestion like this will be the norm if the development brings the estimated 3 - 4 million visitors a year.

The scale of this police operation is out of all proportion to the size of the peaceful protest at the Park. All this money is being spent in order to allow the developers to make more. Why are Bromley Council so entrenched, and insensitive to public opinion?

Thank you to all who signed the petition. Please continue collecting names. We need to show UCI that we do not want the largest multiplex in the South East built on our historic park, congesting our residential streets and making this area unsafe, especially for our children and teenagers. (Ask any one of the hundreds of policemen available for discussion at the moment and they will confirm your worst fears.) ABC are involved in the development and upgrading of Beckenham and Streatham, whilst Warner are developing the Grants site in Croydon. Brixton Ritzy was refurbished. Permission has been given for a multiplex development at Bromley South Station. Surely saturation point has been reached.

The CPC have produced a short video of the effect the multiplex at Park Royal has had on the area (half the size of the one proposed here). If you have any doubts at all that this development will downgrade this area, please call 244 8399 to view the video.

It is disturbing to know that Bromley have not imposed the usual restrictions on leisure uses which means the developer can change them at whim (rock festivals, etc.). Bromley have also refused an Environmental Assessment, which is unusual given the impact this enormous development will have (even though Lambeth Council recommended there should be one). Last week Bromley suddenly cancelled a public meeting to discuss the regeneration of the sports complex. When will they give everyone affected a real chance to discuss the issues?

Please be clear on what they propose to build - a metal and glass airport terminal look-alike the size of two football stadiums (stadiums not pitches), with concrete ramps on the road side taking cars to and from the roof. The ramps will be all too visible on three sides of the building. There will be, initially, 18/20 cinemas, fast food restaurants, video and games arcades and perhaps a bowling alley. At Anerley Roundabout plans are drawn up for a "Sky Tower" which is expected to attract 200,000 visitors a year, with parking in the Park. Yet the improvements to the bus terminal are not much more than levelling an area of the park to ease bus turning problems. The developers themselves estimate 3 - 4 million visitors per year, more than visit Alton Towers. Try and imagine the scene as thousands pour out of a football stadium on a Saturday afternoon. Now think of that being repeated here every night of the year between 11pm and 2.00 am. and with more at weekends.

The area of the proposed development, where the Crystal Palace stood, was laid out attractively as the original caravan and camping site. This was then moved along the ridge to the larger site, still in the Park, near Sydenham Hill. At this point the area should have been reincorporated into the Park but instead it was used as a rubbish tip by Bromley. Recently no effort had been made to control fly-tipping. Why not?

But the fight is by no means over. More and more people are in opposition as they realise what is in store. Plans are at the detailed planning stage and it is not too late to voice your opposition to Bromley Council. Opposition from Croydon Council is still strong but the early damning reports from Southwark, Lambeth and Lewisham are now more muted. Tessa Jowell (Dulwich & West Norwood) Jacqui Lait (Beckenham) and Jim Dowd (Lewisham) are sitting on the fence, as are the Estates Governors. One wonders why. Who is in power here to protect our interests?

This is an area rich in professional skills and a lot of work is being done behind the scenes by many concerned residents. A petition is before the House of Lords with top lawyers working on a no win, no fee basis. There would not be a remote possibility of a development such as this being built on Hampstead Heath or Hyde Park. Why should South London be different? Crystal Palace Park must be protected for so many environmental and ecological reasons.

Think of the reasons you have to protect the area:

If you or your friends live near or en route to the complex your lives and your property will be blighted.

Please write....CONTACTS

Contact Crystal Palace Campaign: Contacts CPC...
Correspondence to the Hon. Secretary, Crystal Palace Campaign, 33 Hogarth Court, Fountain Drive, London SE19 1UY.

Full list of Campaign Contacts

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