& Associates

environmental facilitation and conflict resolution




Report on the LDA

Public Consultation Exercise




September/October 2004


(Report Date 12th November 2004)


74 Thurlow Hill London SE21 8JN 020 8670 7861




  1. There is a very keen interest in the future of Crystal Palace Park, as demonstrated by the attendance of nearly 2,500 people at the consultation and the total of nearly 6,000 individual comments they made.
  2. The park is seen as a place which can offer a variety of attractions, including tranquil open space and wildlife, family facilities, sports (for local people and others), heritage value and possibly public attractions on a wider scale. The link with the Crystal Palace itself is still strongly felt and many people would like to see the park resume its previous status as a place of regional or national significance - although others would prefer it to remain primarily as a local park.
  3. There is real dissatisfaction with the current state of the park and in general terms there is strong support for major investment (the "extensive improvement" option). Lower key approaches were rejected by the great majority as insufficient to bring the park back to an acceptable standard, or to safeguard its future. Many individual facilities and features (e.g. fences, children's facilities) were highlighted as requiring particular attention.
  4. Views about the future of the hilltop area illustrate some of the key conflicts to be resolved for the park as a whole. Opinions range from "leave it open" (or even wild) to "go for a major development". Many would be happy to see something in between to echo the grandeur and history of the Crystal Palace - albeit on a smaller scale.
  5. There is an appreciation of the financial hurdles to be faced in improving the park. Some readily accept that commercial development would help to surmount these, while others are resolutely opposed to it. For many however - perhaps the majority - there is uncertainty about what would be involved and a need to know more about the nature of such development and its impacts before coming to a firm view. However, it is clear that "rampant commercialism" would be very unpopular.
  6. The great majority wish to see sports facilities remain in the park. It is widely accepted that this will need to cater for the needs of local people as well as a range of regional or national users.
  7. There is majority support for large-scale investment new sports facilities by the stadium. However, many could only support this provided that an acceptable new use were to be found for the existing National Sports Centre or that the building were to be demolished.
  8. Many believe that an independent trust would be the most appropriate vehicle for future park management and there is a strong concern for involvement of the local community in this as well as in planning the improvements.

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Summary of Key Findings


The Consultation Process
How the Data was Managed
Interpreting the Results

 A. Future of the park

  1. Overall Vision for the park
  2. Levels of intervention in the park
  3. Features and facilities
  4. The hilltop area
  5. The Terraces
  6. A new Crystal Palace?
  7. Day to day management
  8. Events
  9. Roads and parking
  10. Public transport links
  11. Outside the park
  12. Future governance and ownership
  13. Funding
  14. Commercial/non-park related development
  15. Conclusions on park responses

B. Sports in the Park

  1. Appropriateness of Sports Provision in the Park
  2. The existing NSC building
  3. Current sports facilities
  4. Sports facilities in a new or refurbished centre
  5. Non-sports facilities in a new or refurbished centre
  6. Design/Functional requirements for a new or refurbished building
  7. NSC management
  8. Refurbishment or new build?
  9. Sports studies
  10. Other possible uses for the NSC
  11. Sports funding
  12. Conclusions on sports responses

C. The Process of Change

  1. Managing the changes
  2. Comments on the consultation process

Appendix 1: Who attended the consulatation
Appendix 2: Comments from the marquee consulatation
Appendix 3: Website responses

Appendix 2 and 3 can be seen on the LDA website.

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This report presents the results of the consultation in respect of Crystal Palace Park, carried out on behalf of the London Development Agency in September and October 2004. The report is intended primarily as an objective account of the results rather than an interpretation, but see "How the Data Was Processed" below for more detail.

The consultation process was managed on behalf of the LDA by in independent facilitator, who was also responsible for the production of this report. The facilitator works at arm's length from the LDA in order to maintain impartiality.

Note that this consultation comes at an early stage in the LDA's involvement in Crystal Palace Park and the questions were deliberately broad in order to encourage a wide range of issues to emerge.

Experience prior to the consultation made it quite clear that the park and sports centre present complex issues and a wide range of possible preferences. It is, therefore, no surprise to note that there are many conflicting views embodied in the responses. These responses &endash; areas of confusion and conflict included &endash; amount to an "issues map" which provides essential intelligence not only about aspirations and possible areas of consensus, but also fears and disagreements. It is not, and was never intended to be, a collection of statistical data that dictates simple answers.

Finally, I would like to offer my thanks to those who gave up their time to make the consultation a success. I hope that your contributions will help with the eventual development of a plan that the great majority can at least live with, and which brings positive satisfaction or delight to as many as possible.

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The Consultation Process


The consultation process offered three main routes by which the public could make their views known.


1. Exhibition

An exhibition of background information on the park and sports centre, along with a range of broad options for the future was mounted in a marquee for nine days (including two weekends) in September 2004, adjacent to the café in the park. This was visited by almost 2,500 people, who left almost 3,000 post-it note (or longer) contributions, amounting to 5,760 separate comments - in response to questions about the options, others unprompted. Subject to space, these were left on display in order to spark other ideas.

The great majority of visitors lived within one mile of the park and most of the remainder came from the five London boroughs that converge on it. In most respects, visitors covered a balanced range of gender, ages and background. The exception to this is that the "youth" age band (and possibly young adults), was under-represented .

(Appendix 1 gives more detail on visitor statisitics.)


2. Website

The same material was also posted on the LDA park website ( and over 100 responses have been received through this. The website was open for responses for almost a month.


3. Paper Pack

A limited number of hard copies of the same material were distributed to people who could not attend the exhibition and had no access to the internet.

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How the Data Was Managed

It would not have been practical to present the main data in its raw form, since it was far too lengthy and, in many cases, was haphazardly posted or mixed a number of topics in one response.

In order to make it more digestible the comments were sorted into topics and sub-topics, including many besides the headings used in the consultation, since a wide range additional, unprompted comments were also made (which greatly enhance the value of the results). Many duplications became apparent &endash; ie. where the wording was exactly, or virtually, the same - and these were grouped together and tallied. 

Generally, the language used is that of the contributors. In some cases this was condensed or paraphrased, particularly for some of the longer contributions. Any offensive words (a tiny handful) were replaced but the meaning has been retained. A very small number of completely indecipherable comments were discarded.

The resulting data is presented in Appendix 2.

The website responses are attached verbatim in Appendix 3 but have not been analysed and tallied, as it did not seem appropriate to reduce these to just a few short phrases. However, although many of them go into much greater (and valuable) detail than the post-it responses, taken collectively, they do not appear to significantly change the overall range or balance of views.

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Interpreting the Results

The consultation method designed primarily to generate in-depth qualitative results, with some degree of quantitative back-up. It does not provide detailed statistics for sophisticated numerical analysis. Because the process allowed people to raise issues spontaneously &endash; or to ignore them - the result is a "weighted issues map". This gives a degree of guidance on the range of issues of concern, the relative levels of interest in each of them, and the range of opinions about them. Used sensitively, it can provide decision-makers with a fuller picture and enables them to be sure that the complete range of needs is being addressed or, where this is not possible, that any trade-offs are consciously thought through.

Beyond that, further statistical analysis is not recommended. For example, it may be tempting to attribute more meaning than is justified to the relative numbers of responses under each heading. This caution is given for the following reasons.

  • A substantial number of responses were posted haphazardly, under inappropriate headings and have been relocated by the facilitator.
  • Even where appropriately posted, the distribution of responses does not necessarily equate to the importance of the headings in peoples' minds. For example, many general points about the park were posted under the 'extensive improvements' heading, probably because it was the last board in the series about the park: some participants undoubtedly read the whole park series first then simply put all their comments at the end.

Interpretational comments by the facilitator are in italics. These include:

  • some tentative conclusions, where this seems appropriate;
  • highlighting of some of the possible links between different categories of comment;
  • identification of possible dangers in relation to interpretation of the results.

Because of the nature of the comments it has not been possible to separate them into completely unambiguous or mutually exclusive categories. The consultation results must therefore be understood in their entirety, and taking individual details out of context is likely to be misleading.

In the summary below, figures in brackets indicate the total number of comments made under each heading.

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Introductory letter(LDA); Summary of Key Findings; Contents;; Next Page (Section A); Section B & C; Appendix 1; Meetings Index

3/12/2004 Last updated: 3/12/2004