(B.10) Single Regeneration Budget

The London Borough of Bromley claims that the multiplex will attract funding and jobs into the area, so that a vote against the multiplex is a vote against regeneration. NOT TRUE

  1. The Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) funding of £14m did not depend on the multiplex. It depended on 46 projects, 43 of which have been or will shortly be completed. Most of the SRB funds have already been spent on these projects and SRB officers have confirmed that cancellation of the multiplex will not necessarily affect the rest.

  2. Bromley Council's application for £28m of Heritage Lottery Fund money for Park re-landscaping never depended on the multiplex. £26m was refused, purely because the Fund trustees considered the scheme too poor to merit funding.

  3. Neither Bromley nor the developer has considered the loss of jobs which will result from the multiplex, particularly in the local high streets. The multiplex building's restaurants, cinemas and leisure boxes with their 950 dedicated car parking spaces, may well destroy the economy of the Crystal Palace Triangle, which will have practically no parking once the highway "improvements" turn it into a pollution-filled thoroughfare for multiplex customers. The London Planning Advisory Committee has stated that the multiplex scheme is likely to overwhelm the Triangle: we agree.

  4. The Council told GOL (Government Office for London) that the multiplex would create 450 "full time equivalent jobs". However, when we probed we were told that it would create 187 full time jobs and 230 part time jobs. If the latter are the equivalent of one fifth of a full time job, the total number of full time equivalent jobs is 233, i.e. half of the alleged total. Even then, we do not believe the figures. The developer suggests that 33 full time jobs would be created in the family entertainment centre. Doing what? Pulling the arms on the bandits?

  5. If there is a need for a huge commercial leisure development, it can go on any of the alternative sites, e.g. adjoining East Croydon Station, where the Council is keen to develop, Bromley South Railway Station, where UCI recently severed its connection, or Battersea Power Station, a leisure proposal which has been frozen for years. None of these would harm the environment, but all would create jobs. The issue is not whether there should be jobs created by commercial leisure, but where.

  6. Alternative proposals for the site would also create jobs. For example, our People's Park proposals were in line with both SRB and Heritage Lottery Fund criteria. But neither Bromley nor the developer will discuss alternative schemes. Even if the park were simply to be beautified, this in itself would regenerate the surrounding area and create jobs, because of the magnetic effect this has on businesses and homeowners. Enlightened town planners, such as those at Barcelona, have understood this for decades. Superb, non-commercial, lottery-funded schemes such as Mile End Park in East London, the Lowry Museum in Salford and the music and arts centre in Gateshead are based on this premise.

  7. Conversely, major retail and leisure schemes tend to create economic desolation in their environs, as the trade is sucked in to the scheme and out of the local economy.


May 2000

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