(R111) Crystal Palace Campaign Newsletter - 4 September 2006

This update marks a point in time which is significant in the regeneration of Crystal Palace Park.

This bulletin brings up to date an important issue arising from the LDA news item of the 18 July 2006 entitled: "LDA secures future of swimming and athletics at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre"

The Park Working Group felt uneasy about the apparent disregard that the Mayor of London showed towards the dialogue process and sought to elicit further information from him. This resulted in a letter sent to the Mayor from the group - the text below are full transcripts including the covering letter from the Process facilitator. To date no answer has been forthcoming.

Ray Sacks


Crystal Palace Campaign



Covering letter:


Mr Ken Livingstone
Mayor of London
Greater London Authority
City Hall
The Queen's Walk

Wednesday, 16 August 2006


Dear Ken Livingstone,

Please find enclosed a letter we have been asked to forward to you by many of the community and sports representatives on the Crystal Palace dialogue.

As convenors of the dialogue process, we cannot comment on the views expressed about the sports centre itself. However, the situation regarding consultation is of concern to us. If agreements reached through the dialogue (usually involving a good deal of time, struggle and public expense) are seen to have no status and easily overturned it will be increasingly difficult to maintain the credibility or value of the process.

We therefore endorse the invitation in section 4 of the attached letter and would welcome the opportunity to address these concerns with you. Although your office is invited to send a representative to dialogue meetings, in most cases no-one attends. This would seem to be a minimum requirement for ensuring better communication, although other mechanisms might also be worth exploring.

It is also worth adding that over the coming months, the dialogue will have to address again the proposals for residential development on the park periphery. I am sure you are aware that there is a range of very strong views about these. If the dialogue is to make any real headway towards developing a meaningful and lasting consensus on this, it will be essential to work closely with all the decision-makers. Perhaps this is something that we should discuss with someone from your office?

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Westaway
Dialogue Facilitator
Nigel Westaway & Associates


Letter to the Mayor:

Mr Ken Livingstone
Mayor of London
Greater London Authority
City Hall
The Queen's Walk


Wednesday, 16 August 2006


Dear Ken Livingstone,

Crystal Palace Sports Centre

As Working Group members within the Crystal Palace Dialogue process, we have been working closely with your agents, the LDA, to reach a consensus on the future of Crystal Palace Park and the National Sports Centre since 2003/4 (and with Bromley for some time before that).

Whilst there is still disagreement about some aspects of the park, one issue on which there is almost complete consensus is the need for a new sports centre in a more appropriate location in the park. Until recently, it was the intention of the LDA to develop this as soon as possible - an initiative that attracted very wide support from the public in two major consultations together with the local community and other groups involved in the dialogue process.

We now understand that, on your instructions, the new sports centre will be postponed until after the 2012 Olympics. We are unclear whether this is in order to maintain continuity of the London Youth Games and the Grand Prix, or if it is due to a shortage of funding. Either way, we have some concerns about the decision and these are set out below.

1. Most working group members are very disappointed by the delay as the sports centre proposal was so widely supported. An architectural competition for the new design was about to begin and we had been led to believe that it would be open by 2010. Even if all goes to plan, the new facility is now unlikely to be ready until 2014 at the earliest. We believe that a four-year postponement of the one major Crystal Palace development on which virtually everyone agreed will only serve to create further anxieties and intensify the conflict on other, less popular proposals for the park. It is a lost opportunity to secure goodwill and confidence at a time when they are badly needed.

2. Although we are not happy with the delay itself, we are even more concerned that this could lead to a loss of commitment to build the new sports centre at all. By the time the Olympics are finished, you may no longer be mayor and the LDA may have other priorities to pursue, so there may be neither the finance nor the political will for this major project &endash; which is exactly what happened in 1977-78. Furthermore, if the new sports centre were to be dropped, or seriously delayed, we would even lose swimming and diving from Crystal Palace, since the proposed interim arrangements (either a temporary pool or a short-term refurbishment of the existing pool) will both have strictly limited lives. What guarantees can you, the Olympic Agencies and Lord Coe give us that Crystal Palace will actually get the replacement sports centre that we have all worked for?

3. If the reason for the delay was to maintain continuity in athletics, we believe other options for this are worth considering. As far as we know, they have not been explored.

4. We are also disappointed that this decision was taken without reference to the Crystal Palace Dialogue Group. The dialogue is funded by the LDA and offers considerable combined expertise in matters relating to sport in the park. Many of us give up a good deal of time to work with the LDA through the dialogue and we feel the lack of consultation with us is unhelpful and may have resulted in a less than optimal outcome. In order for us to continue our input with confidence, we would like some assurance that we will be consulted on any further park related decisions your office intends to make. We would appreciate your response to points 2, 3 & 4 in particular and would be happy to meet with a representative of your office to talk about how we might work productively together in future.


Yours sincerely,


List of signatories

John Greatrex, Joseph Paxton Society
Craig Richardson, Friends of Crystal Palace Park
Ray Sacks, Crystal Palace Campaign
Adrian Hill, Dulwich Society
Pat Trembath, Sydenham Society
Peter Austin, Norwood Society
Cllr John Canvin, LB Bromley
Sue Nagle, Triangle Traders
Richard Nixon, Surrey Hockey Association
Karen Moran, Bromley Green Party
Norman Edgell, LFSR / London Swimming
Cllr Pat Ryan, LB Croydon
Cllr Chris Gaster, LB Bromley

cc. Roger Frith - LDA
Tony Winterbottom &endash; LDA
Manny Lewis - LDA
Val Shawcross
Tessa Jowell MP
Lord Sebastian Coe

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4/9/06 Last updated 4/10/06