July 2003



Background to the report
Strategic Working Group (SWG) work programme
What is wanted in the Park?
Options for the future of the National Sports Centre (NSC)
Options for the Hilltop
Financial drivers and opportunities
Criteria for options appraisal
SWG time table-work programme

Appendix I: SWG Membership
Appendix II: Personal aspirations for the Park
Appendix III: What do we want in the Park?

Current Elements to be Retained
Current Elements to be Removed
New elements wanted

Appendix IV: Options for the NSC

Option 1: Closure (and Demolition)
Option 2: Continue with External Funding
Option 3: Continue with LBB Funding
Option 4: Reduced Form, Less LBB Funding
Option 5: Modernised/Rebuilt Centre, Little LBB Funding
Option 6: Change to Non-Sports Use
Option 7: Relocation

Appendix V: Options for the Hilltop

A: Parkland
B: Commercial Development
C: Development for (local) Community Use
D: Mixed Commercial + Community
Other Comments on Hilltop Options

Appendix VI: Financial drivers and opportunities

1. Potential Capital Needs
2. Potential Capital Receipts
3. Potential Revenue Needs
4. Potential Revenue Sources
General Comments on Finance

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The Strategic Working Group (SWG) was one of the two working groups set up by the Main Group meeting of the Crystal Palace Dialogue in November 2002. Membership of the SWG was agreed in outline at that meeting and it was also agreed that it was to work to the Main Group and had no authority to make decisions on behalf of the dialogue group as a whole. (A membership list for the SWG is attached at Appendix I.)

Following a gap in the process while funding was secured, the SWG has met five times between February and June 2003. (During the same period , the Management Working Group has also met twice and been discontinued.) In April, five groups represented on the SWG (Crystal Palace Community Association, Crystal Palace Protest, Ridge Wildlife Group, Triangle Traders and West Beckenham Residents Association) elected to withdraw from the process. The remaining members (which still includes a number of residents groups) considered that the process, and SWG meetings, should continue at least until the next meeting of the Main Group.

The SWG is required to report back to the Main Group from time to time. This report gives an account of the SWG's work and thinking so far and has been amended and endorsed by the Main Group. It is now being presented to the Executive Committee of the London Borough of Bromley, who are invited to respond to the report and to indicate the extent to which they agree or disagree with its draft findings.

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It was agreed that the SWG would focus on long term issues and future capital expenditure in the park, including:

• Future of the National Sports Centre (NSC)
• Future of the hilltop area
• Future of the rest of the park
• Any other improvements or development works, including landscaping and conservation of historic features
• Future ownership and management models for the park, and community involvement in this
• Capital and revenue funding
• Public consultation proposals

The future of both the hilltop and the NSC were seen as core issues and the following staged approach was agreed, potentially involving a mix of SWG work and wider public consultation:

• Scoping of the needs and aspirations of the various parties in relation to the long term use of elements within the park, including the hilltop and the NSC
• Clarification of any uses that would be unacceptable
• Development of jointly agreed criteria for assessing options
• Assembly of any current proposals (and the generation of new ones, if required) to create a broad range within which to work
• Initial assessment of options according to agreed criteria
• Modification of options to produce a comprehensive range that covers the full range of needs
• Final assessment to select or synthesise the 'best fit' option

The first three tasks above have already been addressed by the SWG and are reported on below. The remaining four points are still to be addressed.

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Initial discussions about the future of the park as a whole revealed a significant degree of consensus. A full account is given at Appendix II, but the main areas of agreement are summarised below:

A high value is placed by all on the open space provided by the park

The great majority of SWG members felt that limited and appropriate building development would be acceptable on the hilltop (but without any definition, at this stage, of either 'limited' or 'appropriate'). Others felt that development might include landscaping, for example, but not necessarily building; few were prepared to endorse the idea of a large, and especially a commercial, development.

The importance of developing or maintaining wildlife value was widely recognised

Heritage and education were seen as key themes and the need to restore and care for heritage features was acknowledged

Community access to, and use of, the park and its buildings was a common theme; uses should in many cases be community-led and should include provision for children and young people

The importance of local/regional/national/international aspects was recognised

There was widespread support for the provision of a viewing platform at the top of the park

Many participants supported the idea of a feature of landmark quality

It was acknowledged that the majority of the aspirations were not mutually inconsistent

Appendix III sets out the results of a more detailed review of the individual features that SWG members believed the park should or should not incorporate. Once again, there was a high degree of consensus, with only a small number of features appearing to be contentious. The list of agreed items could serve as a 'shopping list' of potential features during the design stage. The SWG recognised, of course, that the planning status of the land would have a bearing upon the extent and form that any development might take. The result of the development plan inquiry scheduled for October 2003, that may see the hilltop site de-designated as Metropolitan Open Land, will clearly have a bearing upon this.

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The SWG understands that the future of the NSC, and the possible costs associated with it, is a key issue in determining other aspects of the park and its future. In view of Sport England's planned surrender of the lease in March 2004, it also an urgent matter. A range of basic options for the NSC were identified and discussed. These are summarised at Appendix IV.

The SWG recognises that Bromley Council is faced with a considerable dilemma as a result of Sport England's decision to surrender the NSC lease. In particular, the SWG accepts that it would be unreasonable for Bromley to fund a national/regional facility without outside financial assistance (such as that currently made available to Sport England by the government). In the absence of external funding, LBB responsibility for the NSC would inevitably have financial consequences elsewhere, and probably on the remainder of the park. It is unlikely, however, that any other body will take on the current revenue cost of £2m per annum. Closure of much or all of the facility is therefore a real threat, although this must be seen in the context the decision to mount a London bid for the 2012 Olympics and the impact this will have on the London sports scene, and on the Crystal Palace athletics track in particular.

There is no doubt that the existing NSC buildings cut the park in half and that many of these facilities are out of date when compared with the needs and aspirations of 21st century users. The SWG recognises that perhaps the most viable long term option would be to demolish and rebuild the facilities as a modern multi-purpose sports centre with much lower running costs. This would allow possible re-siting (e.g. closer to the railway station or another location on the periphery of the park) which would be less disruptive to the rest of the park and could be more easily accessible. However, this would require listed building consent, since the NSC is a Grade II* listed building.

Whatever the impact of the London Olympic bid, the SWG's favoured option, despite the funding challenges, is the continued provision of sports facilities in the park. The provision of such a facility could satisfy regional and possibly national needs and would be subject to agreement on such issues as its size, location, footprint, architectural design, etc. The mix of facilities provided would affect its income generation potential and therefore its subsidy needs.

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The SWG has explored a list of broad options for the hilltop. These are detailed in Appendix V, with examples of the kinds of activity that might be included under some of the headings. The activities are illustrative only and appearance on the list does not signify any support from the SWG. The pros and cons of each were assessed but the options are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

A key theme that has emerged is the likelihood of significant resistance from many sectors of the community to a large commercial development on the hilltop. However, there is a willingness to consider a mix of uses within the context of the range of facilities that the park as a whole could provide. In any event, the SWG identified a linkage between the determination of the future of the hilltop and the NSC. There was concern, however, that if the regeneration of the park proved to be a great success, a whole new range of issues associated with more intensive use would need to be addressed. What has also become clear is that there is no single community view: different groups want open parkland, some community-based development (to a greater or lesser degree) or some commercial development (again to a greater or lesser degree).

Clearly the London Borough of Bromley, as the owner of the site, has to deal with financial considerations for the hilltop and how these can be integrated with capital and revenue funding for works within the rest of the park. Other factors that have a bearing on the future of the hilltop identified by the SWG included:

• The area of the hilltop that might be developed given that the maximum area available for development specified in the Bromley London Borough Council (Crystal Palace) Act 1990 and the height constraints imposed by the existing transmission masts.
• The need to consider any development of the hilltop within the context of a plan for the whole park.
• The benefits and constraints imposed by any Metropolitan Open Land designation.

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The group recognised the potential to develop positive financial interrelationships between the hilltop and the NSC and the rest of the park. It was acknowledged that modest commercial or mixed development could enable a capital premium to be released to help fund other improvements needed elsewhere in the park.

Revenues could also be generated that could help with running costs for the park. To clarify the scope of the figures involved, the group attempted to estimate both capital and revenue costs, and potential sources of capital and revenue income for the park.

Perhaps the most significant issue is the scale of financing required to help bring improved facilities and services to the park. For example, the previous Lottery bid to refurbish and modernise the existing indoor facilities within the NSC was estimated at around £40m at 2000 prices. The park itself requires substantial funding to enable the restoration project to be completed - probably in the region of £30 - £40m.

The scale of the financial challenge is clearly well beyond the means of a single local authority, and the SWG have recognised the need to involve regional and national government offices in an attempt to build multi-agency support and funding to address Crystal Palace's long term sustainability. Although a large scale commercial development is unlikely to muster support, it is possible that a more modest or mixed commercial/public facility would be supported if it resulted in some much needed capital or revenue spin off for the benefit of the park.

Estimated figures are summarised for the main elements within the park at Appendix VI.

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At a later stage in the dialogue process it is likely that competing proposals for the park will need to be assessed. In order to do this as objectively as possible it is helpful to have an agreed set of criteria that all participants will use. The dialogue group has identified the following criteria but did not agree any order of importance.:

• To what extent does the proposal recognise the park's heritage and green open space value?
• What are the financial implications of the proposal in terms of capital cost, revenue costs/income and future investment potential?
• Are the proposals realistic/achievable?
• What are the impacts upon the local community?
• Does the proposal enjoy the support of the community?
• Does the proposal contribute to an overall framework for the park and the surrounding area?
• What is the proposal providing to meet the sports, recreational, cultural and educational needs of the community?
• What are the environmental impacts of the proposal in terms of such matters as traffic generation, noise and pollution?
• What is the target catchment area of the proposal, i.e. local, regional, national or international?
• How does the proposal impact upon the level of biodiversity within the park?
• How does the proposal impact upon the extent of managed parkland and wild space?
• Does the proposal enhance the special qualities of Crystal Palace Park
• What are the implications of parking and public transport provision? Would it provide addition parking for the local trading community (and customers)? Would it be charged for?
• Is the design of an appropriately high quality to enhance the character and appearance of the park as a whole?
• Does the proposal comply with Green Flag* benchmarks?
• Does the proposal enhance or inhibit access to the park?
• Does the proposal safeguard the security and safety of the park's users?

(*The Green Flag benchmark is the set of criteria being developed by the Civic Trust for assessing the value of parks.)

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The SWG recommends the following timetable for the next phase of its work.

July 2003

Main Group

Review SWG work to date
Review options for continuation of dialogue
Review SWG membership
Agree future work programme
Agree broad guidelines & timetable for public consultation


Task Group?

Design public consultation
Begin appraisal of existing schemes



Complete scheme appraisal & generate draft 'best fit' scheme for consultation


Main Group
Public consultation

)Review of SWG's recommended 'best fit'

Jan 2004


Preparation of final recommendations

Whether this timetable will be achievable depends on a number of factors, including

• the views of the Main Group and Bromley on the SWG's work so far;
• the capacity of the SWG to agree its appraisal of existing proposals and develop a 'best fit' scheme;
• the extent to which challenges to the effectiveness of the process (see below) can be overcome without taking up excessive time.

Even if the timetable is achieved, a number of items will still remain outstanding, including discussion of the long term ownership and management structures for the park and development of an agreed management plan.

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Sport England plus national governing bodies for swimming & athletics (as appropriate) & local sports organisations:

English Heritage
Crystal Palace Foundation
London Wildlife Trust
Crystal Palace Community Forum
LB Bromley, officers & members
Crystal Palace Community Association*
Sydenham Society
Dulwich Society
Norwood Society
Penge Forum
Tessa Jowell's office
Ridge Wildlife Group*
Green Party
Upper Norwood Chamber of Commerce
Triangle Traders*
Crystal Palace Campaign
Lambethans' Society
LB Croydon
Crystal Palace Protest*
LB Lambeth
LB Southwark
LB Lewisham (?)
Local residents (including W. Beckenham*
Residents Association)
Youth representatives
Special needs groups
Transport for London
Greater London Authority

Note: Representatives from LDA and Arup have also attended as guests of the SWG, to discuss their role in the process convened by GOL.

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[*Ed: note - these groups were not present for some of the meetings]


The facilitator invited participants to spend up to two minutes each, uninterrupted, to express their personal views on the future of the park. Some participants also spoke on behalf of the groups they represented.

Preserve hilltop for wildlife and open space. Building should be restricted to above old subway.

Park is for people who live nearby, especially the parts nearest to residential areas W & N &endash; should be maintained as public open space. Consider congestion issues from access to anything in the park.

A resource for local and out-of-area people. An open space with enough income stream to pay for maintaining the park services and security. Could have some income generating projects. Question of how and where.

Manage as a coherent space. Publicly owned and managed for benefits of local people living round park. Beautiful landscape. Wildlife friendly. Some 'wild space' where people can escape. Use local and other experience to design and manage more cheaply. Use for local community led events - revenue generating (markets e.g.) or for entertainment. Top site retained as open space. Minimal building.

Heritage site. Recreating and learning use. Embracing new focal points or Concepts. Focal point can be structure or something else which focuses.

Heritage and listing is the glue. Basis of park is history of CP. Education on CP (not to exclusion of walking/open space opportunities etc.). Could be like Iron Bridge Gorge Museum, a museum and people's back garden. Living history.

Parkland/history/Community. Park aspect is important for locals and people from further away. Management plan and sustainable finance are necessary. Commercial building OK as contributes to financial sustainability - as long as there is public consultation. New things not ruled out.

New things are OK and can be good (see Sheffield Winter Gardens). Something that stands out on the ridge - an Angel of the South? To be visible from long way. Maybe phoenix theme.

New things can be good. Let's not be afraid of them. In Gateshead lots of initial opposition to Angel of North. New things can assist regeneration. Largely agree with what others have said.

Public open space. Renovate Italian terraces and Sphinxes. 10.6.04 &endash; 150th anniversary of CP. Improved top site. No fence.

Appropriate development on top site. Do need income generation. Good public transport links.

Sports Centre as Olympic venue (possibly).

Sports Centre as regional venue, centre for sporting excellence. (Not Olympic - not got road infrastructure.) Urban park surrounded by people without gardens. Space for young people.

Education centre for local and beyond, (i.e. not just re. CP). Education re architecture and design generally. Buildings which blend in with surroundings.

Large open space/park. Enjoyed zoo as child. An oasis. Recreation - your enthusiasm, your soul.

Demolish sports centre. Like Hampstead Heath or Wimbledon Common - large open space. Flowers nice but expensive. Don't go to a park for buildings, but to get away from them. Peace and quite!

Sports centre restored as regional centre and minor part of Olympics. Top site as heritage centre using old castings, viewing platform, restore old remains, terraces. Do something with derelict areas.

Refurbish CP Museum.

Well used park (like Kelsey Park). Focal points OK. Top site can be developed as open space, then council remove fence.

A plan for whole park, financed. Listed buildings repaired.

As a park (in a very built-up area). Appropriate community type buildings. Put back race track as it generates income. Low maintenance design for park (cheaper). Restore hard paths for children to play. Play area at top, on ridge. A village green for locals, (incl. Croydon, Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham).

A viewing gallery. Use the subway as part of museum, arts centre or something. Restore tree area as trees. Not restore terraces. No Olympics. Park keepers.


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The group was asked to build on the 'aspirations' work above by generating a more detailed list of features that were or were not wanted in the park. This was done in three categories, as shown below.

When the full list was displayed, participants were asked to indicate any with which they disagreed and these are marked with an asterisk*. All the others were broadly agreed by all participants.

Current Elements to be Retained

i.e. What is in the park already which you would like to see kept, including items needing repair or improvement?

  • Sports Centre (relocated?)
  • One o'clock club
  • Refurbished museum
  • Bus station
  • Dinosaurs
  • Terraces* + statues
  • Balustrades*
  • Grand Central Walk/ Central axis
  • Entrances
  • Fishing Lake
  • Concert Bowl and facilities
  • The maze
  • Water
  • Concert Platform (relocated?)
  • Zoo/city farm
  • Kids' playgrounds
  • Caravan site
  • Green open space
  • Boating lake
  • Last remaining fountain (restore)
  • Tennis courts
  • Car park
  • Walks around park
  • Subway
  • Outdoor pitches
  • Ornamental gardens
  • Old established trees and woodlands
  • Guy the Gorilla
  • The Stadium
  • TV Mast*
  • Conference Centre (improve)
  • Hastel Maintenance depot*
  • Aquarium
  • Swimming pool
  • Cycle route
  • Athletes track
  • Signage
  • Cricket field
  • Cafetaria
  • Cycle circuit
  • Model railway
  • Lighting and floodlighting
  • Wildlife areas
  • Picnic areas
  • Radio controlled car circuit*
  • Paxton statue
  • Information centre
  • Toilets
  • Defined boundary fence/railing

Current Elements to be Removed

i.e. What is in the park already which you would like to get rid of?

  • All internal fences (including fence round sports Centre & fence round fishing lake)
  • Concrete walkway
  • Excessive tarmac
  • Dumped rubbish
  • Unused sites
  • Listing of the sports centre*
  • Small toilet block just below sports centre
  • Rats
  • Reduced footprint of sports centre*
  • Maintenance building (CP Park Road)*
  • Some areas of car parking
  • Spoil heap below terraces
  • Current information centre
  • Canadian Geese
  • Sports centre maintenance building
  • Model racing car track*
  • Concert speakers
  • Houses in NSC site
  • Stone channel*
  • Turnstiles
  • Existing athletes hostel high-rise
  • Bridge from railway station to NSC
  • Concert platform*
  • Electricity sub-station at Penge entrance
  • Disused bowls pitch/court
  • Transmitter mast
  • Café (building not used)
  • Plastic palm in dinosaur site
  • Car access to north side of central axis
  • High level flood lighting

nb: Some of the uses are acceptable but may be in wrong location or wrong building - e.g. café. Others may need alteration - e.g. store channel needs re-aligning.

New Elements Wanted

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OPTION l: Closure (and Demolition?)



saves £2 million pa revenue cost

against listed designation

gets rid of out of date facilities

loss of asset

frees up land

disaffected users

integrates the park(Paxton's Central Avenue)

takes CP off map
fewer visitors
loss of employment
politically uncertain for LBB
loss of only national sports stadium
in London ( football & athletics )
history would be lost
costs of demolition/dereliction (may
not get demolished &endash; just left)
loss of youth/communities facilities
effect on local economy
other statutory agencies would be
unhappy about losing facility, particularly in connection with Olympic bid


OPTION 2: Continue with External Funding




retains asset

still got a clapped out centre

retains designed used

park still divided

solves LBB's problems

concrete everywhere

retains employment

doesn't guarantee it won't deteriorate

user groups happy

potential privatisation

business within sports centre happy

introduces uncertainty
- potential undesirable uses e.g. football

Fresh management ideas

same problem might arise in 5 or 10 years time
unlikely to happen
misses opportunity to do something now
doesn't address issues of park

Other Notes to Option 2


OPTION 3: Continue with LBB Funding



receive dilapidation money from SE

doesn't address revenue costs (£2m pa)

keeps as community facility

political resistance from LBB tax payers

run by LA/local control

at risk again financially

as per option 2

reduce LBB money for rest of park

involvement of other LAs in funding ????

doesn't address local v national needs
national vs local conflict


OPTION 4: Reduced Form, Less LBB Funding

e.g. "get rid of swimming pool"



local facility

reduced facility

as per option 2 but for reduced asset

disaffected groups e.g. swimmers

less LBB funding required

likely loss of swimming pool

possible re-use of swimming pool for other sports

possible loss of dilapidations
payment to LBB
loss of staff morale

lose problems associated with swimming pool = easier space to service

loss of business
loss of elite swimming provision
lose grant from NSA



OPTION 5: Modernised/Rebuilt Centre, Little LBB Funding (and Possible Change of Location)




could be popular

demolition would clash with listed status (total demolition would almost certainly go to public enquiry)

energy efficient

safety issues

lower revenue costs

endangers employment in short term

improved facilities
new sports
revenue earning potential
increased usage
moving entire sports centre:

- less divided park
- nearer transport
- better night time access

modernising OK under listed building status
partial demolition might be OK
greater use by local community
maintain employment & business - build elsewhere first

Other Notes to Option 5


OPTION 6: Change to Non-Sports Use



could be self funding

potential commercial use

retains listed building

park still divided

potential community use

viability issues


potential loss of national/regional sports facilities as per Option 1

might help preserve hilltop from development

commercial use possibly
incompatible with historic park
loss of CP prestige
traffic generation + other environmental impacts


OPTION 7: Relocation

This is covered under the discussion of Option 5 above.

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The group developed a list of broad options for the hilltop and gave examples of the kinds of activity that might be included under some of the headings. The activities are illustrative only and appearance on the list does not imply any support from the SWG. The pros and cons of each were assessed but the options are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Comments subsequently added by agreement by the Main Working group are shown in italics.


A: Parkland

Could also include wildlife; viewing "mound"; wildlife plants park as Paxton tribute.



majority of community members/local residents happy?

missed opportunity to resolve NSC issues

missed opportunity to raise capital to inject into park

in keeping with Grade II* listed park? (or not?)

miss opportunity to reinstate architectural focus in park (least controversial option)

could improve entrances to park

Does not provide any extra car parking

Do we need any more park?

Doesn't meet national requirements of site


B: Commercial Development

 "For profit" developments: cinema, restaurant, residential, retail, hotel




generate capital and/or revenue income to benefit park

possibly not right place to put it (or is it?); could put it elsewhere in park

traffic generation + local impact

extra visitors to park

extra visitors to park

would spark Crystal Palace Campaign Mk-II

loss of MOL

loss of archaeological value? (but could dig up before development)

any associated hotel would benefit NSC users

Out of keeping with park's history may conflict with planning legislation

C: Development for (local) Community Use

"Not for profit" &endash; museum, heritage site, art gallery, replica crystal Palace (small scale), Eden type dome; exhibition centre; re-located NSC.




respond to local needs

financial viability?

modest scale

still leaves open space opportunity

difficult to fund?

lost on national historic site

not great traffic generator

regional use may generate extra funds

could focus community involvement in park

could provide employment/training for special needs groups

D: Mixed Commercial + Community

Could include landmark architecture



some financial advantages -commercial development could fund community element

potential loss of open space/parkland community could lose

out to commercial pressure

most pros and cons are a mixture of those for options B & C

Other Comments on Hilltop Options


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The SWG recognised the potential for financial links between the NSC and the rest of the park. In order to clarify the situation, the group reviewed the current and potential costs and income sources for the park. Costs, where given, are based on previous LBB estimates, and are not indicative of today's prices.

1. Potential Capital Needs

Sports Centre:

£20 million to maintain status quo, but previous lottery bid was for £42m, to update on same site, but with significantly improved facilities and services and reduced revenue costs.

Demolition and relocation (with reduced facilities + space - regional rather than national) - £25-30m.

Bespoke facility for Olympics - likely to be substantially more expensive


"repair" and make usable - £10 - 20m
treat as "controlled ruin" - low cost option
demolish and remove - could run to several million bury them on site ?

 Rest of Park:

general refurbishment - £20 - 30m


repair + improvements - dependent on scope and scale of improvement plans


stabilise £20-30k
make fully "accessible" £100-150k
make into usable space &endash; higher cost


General restoration - cost dependent on scope and quality of design

Total Capital Requirement: depending on the scope of the above could be a minimum of £50m but more if schemes are more ambitious.

2. Potential Capital Receipts

Sale of hilltop lease - could generate several millions(maybe more for residential sale, but this is highly unlikely to be an option)
DCMS? - not a funding body - money would come through SE
Heritage Lottery Fund
New Opportunities Fund ( parks + open spaces part of theme for next year)
European Regional Development Fund
Arts Lottery Fund
General regeneration funding from central government
English Partnerships
Commercial partners/PFI - private sector partners design, build, operate - they look for return on investment
Corporation of London
Grant making trusts (can act as levers to other funders)
Governing bodies of sports
Private benefactors
London Boroughs (package would need to include something in return)
Sponsorship - commercial - the Nike sports centre?

3. Potential Revenue Needs

Maintenance of park:

currently costs in the region of £500k/annum

Sports Centre:

subsidy currently estimated at £2m/annum

4. Potential Revenue Sources

Park users:

Zoo, café - £200k pa

Special events (including occasional large events) - £100k pa

Sports centre (only if managed by LBB) - £1m

 Total Revenue Income: £1.3m pa

General Comments on Finance

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25/9/03 Last updated 25/9/03

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