(P.19) New Defence for Palace

Campaigners pin hopes on legal classification

South London Press - Friday 17th September 1999

A RECENT change in the law has thrown the future of the Crystal Palace cinema and leisure complex into doubt once again.

Action group the Crystal Palace Campaign has canvassed locals asking them to prove that they have used the park as an open village green.

If they are given the go-ahead to register the half-mile stretch along the Crystal Palace Promenade as a green. then it will put a stop to the building of the £58 million complex once and for all.

The new initiative was inspired after a relaxation of the law regarding the registering of village greens back in June.

In a ground-breaking judgment, the House of Lords granted a council in Oxfordshire the right to register a patch of land and in the process stopped the owners the Church of England building houses on it.

To register a site as a green locals must prove that the use of land was open, that they did not require permission of the landowner and that locals had to believe they had the right to use the land.

All this must have been the case for the past 20 years at least.

In an attempt to win a similar reprieve, the Crystal Palace Campaign has produced a questionnaire urging people to come forward if they have any photos, memories and reflections of time spent in the park since the Crystal Palace burnt down in 1936.

If the campaign does manage to gather sufficient responses they would make their application to the Common Registration Authority, which in this case would be Bromlev Council, which has supported the development of the site.

A spokesperson for The Crystal Palace Campaign said. "We will probably be looking to register the area as a town green in the next six weeks.

"We have had about 20 responses so far, but we are keen to do this as thoroughly as possible.

"I think we have a reasonable chance."

A spokesperson for Bromley Council said it would consider any such application.

Meanwhile the campaign received a further boost when Andrew Lloyd Webber lent his support to the opposition to the complex which will house Europe's largest roof-top car park.

Lord Lloyd Webber said, "It seems incomprehensible to me that such a development should be considered in this beautiful Victorian Park.

"This is a sile of national historic significance.

"Its loss to a huge commercial operation is totally inappropriate."

If you can help please submit information to Lorna English - see Village Green Registration for a questionnaire which can automatically be sent to us.

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18/9/99 Last updated 24/10/99
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