(P121) Solutions for Crystal Palace Park - Croydon Advertiser, Letters page, 6 June 2003, by Ray Sacks(CPC)

Solutions for Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace Park is a large and complex entity. It is currently in a sadly dilapidated state. In response to the recent letter (23 May) I think that it's time we looked to the resolution of the whole of the Park's many problems.

For the past two years over half the Park has been closed to the public. There is a large spoil heap in the middle of the Park, the dinosaur zone is open for guided tours only, there are design problems with a stone channel water course near the concert platform, paths were laid with unsatisfactory materials (now being repaired for the umpteenth time), there is a safety problem with the new car park near the Sydenham Avenue entrance, the new meadow close to the Thicket Road entrance is having to be relaid due to foreign objects being found in the imported soil, the new rhododendron beds are being replanted as the wrong type of soil was used by the landscape contractors, the Grade ll listed Terraces continue to attract graffiti as they crumble and the Hilltop site has been enclosed to prevent fly-tipping.

By appointment: Crystal Palace Park attractions are fenced off and the dinosaurs may only be viewed by appointment.

Added to this list of woes is the future of the rundown facility known as the National Sports Centre (NSC) when Sport England's lease runs out in March next year. It has been estimated that a sum of £70m is required to put all to rights.

A further factor which could have a profound influence on the Park is the Government's decision to back the bid for the Olympic Games in 2012. The NSC buildings are listed which complicates any changes proposed. Consultants have been engaged to look into the issues concerning both the NSC and the Park in general.

There are difficult decisions to be made and the dialogue process is one way for local people to keep in touch. The Crystal Palace Campaign is using all possible means to try and influence events. Key issues will be raised at the Unitary Development Plan hearing later this year. The Campaign is opposing two proposals by Bromley, the removal of the status of 'Metropolitan Open Land' from the hilltop site and the designation of the NSC as a 'Major Developed Area'. We have also published a guidance note for people who have written to Bromley to oppose issues in the UDP.

These conflicts with Bromley Council and the undoubtedly irksome, current problems must not detract from the dialogue process as the means of securing a long-term satisfactory future for this important heritage site.

Ray Sacks
Crystal Palace Campaign

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6/6/03 Last updated 6/6/03