(P.93) Open Letter from the Crystal Palace Campaign to Michael Tickner, Leader Bromley Council

Crystal Palace Campaign - 7 January 2002

Cllr Michael Tickner
Leader of the Council
London Borough of Bromley
Bromley Civic Centre
Stockwell Close


Dear Michael,

I write in an attempt to end the conflict over Crystal Palace Park, and to suggest a peaceful process for its regeneration.

Crystal Palace Park is an historic jewel: one of only 19 local authority-owned Grade II* listed parks in the country. Like so many great parks, it has fallen into neglect, having been passed from pillar to post before being bequeathed to Bromley in 1986, on the demise of the Greater London Council. You have struggled to regenerate it, the imminent completion of your dinosaur restoration being tempered by the failure of three successive schemes for the top site, and your projects for the main Park and the National Sports Centre.

You were no doubt surprised at the longevity and ferocity of opposition to your scheme for a multiplex cinema, not just by local people but also by your colleagues in local, regional, national and European government. Our success in defeating the multiplex gave us only fleeting satisfaction, for while we have battled, the Park has festered. Victory for us will be a regeneration scheme for Crystal Palace Park which enhances the historic parkland without detriment to local residents and which commands local support. We believe that with goodwill on all sides, this can be achieved.

The Park is a great canvas, upon which might be painted a variety of pictures. There is no one solution, and many ideas have already come forward. We believe that all stakeholders, whether Park users, residents or local government, should be allowed to contribute to the debate, and have their views taken into account. So we will shortly publish the results of our consultation questionnaire, which was delivered by hand to 45,000 households all around the Park, and taken into many primary and secondary schools. We believe that it is only through dialogue that we will reach consensus.

But we also believe that the demand for a say in the future of the Park carries responsibilities. It is unfair that the ratepayer of Bromley should shoulder the whole burden of supporting this regional resource. The Park should be supported by all its users, from all the boroughs surrounding it.

With this in mind, we have proposed a community trust, the Crystal Palace Trust, comprising representatives of the five local authorities surrounding the Park, and of the local community. The Trust would work in partnership with Bromley for the regeneration of the Park and consult local people. Most importantly, it would raise funds, for example, by public appeal, private subscription, corporate donation and grants by Government agencies. We could also establish a Friends group, which could even help in maintaining the Park, as occurs in other well-loved parks. Such schemes instil a sense of community pride in, and ownership of, public spaces and reduce crime and vandalism.

We have consulted widely on the Trust amongst politicians and local groups, and have achieved uniform support for the concept. Such partnerships are warmly endorsed by the Government's Urban White Paper and by the Mayor's Economic Development Strategy. All we now need is your say so, and work can begin.

Michael, all over the country, from Birkenhead to Bradford, from Newcastle to East London, great parks are being regenerated as a result of genuine partnerships between local government and local people. The conflict between your Council and our community has caused a gross waste of public money, officer time and, most importantly, creative energy. All this could be diverted into a project for Crystal Palace Park which we will all be proud to leave to our children. It's time to talk.

Kind regards

Philip Kolvin
Crystal Palace Campaign

Enc. List of recipients of this letter (not included here)

Please reply to Crystal Palace Campaign
33 Hogarth Court, Fountain Drive, London SE19 1UY Telephone/Fax: 020 8670 8486
E-mail: VA.Day@ukgateway.net Campaign Website: www.crystal.dircon.co.uk
Associate Member The London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies

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