(R113) Crystal Palace Dialogue

Notes of a Meeting between The Mayor of London
& Representatives of the Park & Sports Working Groups

11th October 2006


Dialogue representatives: Sue Nagle, Ray Sacks, Adrian Hill, Peter Austin, Karen Moran, Chris Snode
Mayor's office: Ken Livingstone, Eleanor Young
LDA: Roger Frith, Emma Wheelhouse
Dialogue facilitation team: Nigel Westaway,

National Sports Centre

The Mayor acknowledged that the final conclusion by English Heritage that the NSC should be retained has created an additional hurdle for the park & for sports provision. EH had confirmed that it would enforce the Grade II listed status on the building which dictated the LDA's change of plan. He confirmed that plan was now to secure the future of swimming and diving at CP (probably in the interim through the provision of a temporary pool), to use the existing building for indoor athletics in the short term and for dry pitches in the long term, to remove unnecessary concrete from around the building as soon as possible and to build a new sports centre near the station/athletics stadium after the Olympics.

Questions were raised about the flexibility of the temporary pool and the LOA confirmed that it hoped to explore the option, subject to cost, of providing a moveable floor, creating a pool that would be as flexible as a permanent one.

Dialogue representatives asked if the design of the new centre could start earlier than the proposed date of 201 O. The LOA pointed out that it would be wiser to wait until nearer the proposed start of construction, as many factors having a bearing on the design could change, or become clearer, by then. The Mayor added that it would be better to focus resources on bringing other aspects of the park up to standard in the interim.

Dialogue representatives said that the change in plan re the NSC had been very sudden and that they had not been consulted, resulting in some loss of support for/confidence in the Sports Working Group. The Mayor acknowledged this and pointed out that it had been a difficult situation for the GLA/LDA team as well.

Dialogue representatives expressed concern about the length of the delay in building the new sports centre and the lack of certainty that it would ever happen. The Mayor was asked to indicate his commitment. In response he stated that he would actively support it provided he was still mayor at the time - and that he intended to stand again at the next election - although if he was unsuccessful, he could not really offer any guarantee. The LOA confirmed that the new centre would be indicated in outline on the masterplan in the meantime. All agreed that removal of concrete etc. from the vicinity of the existing building and greening the centre of the park were priorities.

CP as an Olympic Training Camp

It was confirmed that the lead on the promotion of CP as a training camp was being taken by the South London Sub-Regional Partnership. Sports representatives had found the situation confusing but now welcomed the chance to be involved in this and saw it as a way of reviving flagging commitment to the Sports Working Group.


Sports representatives mentioned that the World Pentathlon Championships will be coming to the NSC in 2009. This is regarded as a great success but one that might present some problems for swimming and possibly accommodation (in The Lodge) and that the facilities for both needed updating.


Chris Snode outlined the particular opportunity for CP to be a major training venue for domestic and foreign diving teams and the potential for this to promote both diving and London. The LOA said that diving requirements could be catered for in the temporary pool at an extra cost of circa £0.75m. Chris stated that he could probably raise this funding provided that he had the support of the GLA/LDA. The Mayor offered full endorsement and Chris agreed to begin the promotion and fundraising process immediately.


The Mayor was asked if the route through the edge of CP park was the only option being seriously considered. The Mayor stated that there were two possible routes but that the road route was likely to cause severe traffic congestion - and that termination at CP station was not a viable option as it would greatly reduce usage. He also pointed out that there was a third possibility: if neither route proved acceptable, the scheme could be dropped and the resources used for tram routes elsewhere in London.

The Dialogue Process

The Mayor confirmed that he expected the dialogue to continue after submission of the park planning application, as there would still be many details to work out. He also confirmed that, now that the project was up and running, the GLA was represented in the dialogue through the LOA and he did not, therefore, consider it necessary to send separate GLA representatives to dialogue meetings (i.e. aside from Assembly Member Val Shawcross, who usually attended Main Group meetings). However, he confirmed his personal interest in CP and although he cannot be closely involved, he agreed to consider attending a meeting in the

spring/summer of 2007 provided he could be notified of the date as soon as possible. He also confirmed that minutes of the regular GLA/LOA CP Steering Group meetings are now publicly accessible on the GLA and LOA websites. He thanked all Dialogue members for their ongoing commitment to the project and reminded them of the genuine value it holds.

Other Park Issues

The Mayor acknowledged that funding park improvements was a challenge and that full restoration of historic features would be expensive. He referred to his vision for the use of CP park for concerts and other cultural activities.

Dialogue representatives emphasised the importance (revealed through the public consultation) of access to live animals. The Mayor accepted this and pointed out that this was unlikely to be achieved by any other route than Capel Manor's involvement in the park. They also spoke of the current division of the park into separate areas and the need for improvements and/or events to bring life back to the hilltop area.


Papers on swimming and diving were handed to the Mayor at the end of the meeting.

NWA 12/10/06

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19/11/06 Last updated 19/11/06
Ed.: note - italics- added words should have been in the record.