Croydon Post, Wednesday 19 April 2000
MAYORAL front-runner Ken Livingstone has promised to do all in his power to stop a multimillion pound multiplex development being built on Crystal Palace Park if he is elected as London's new mayor.
Mr Livingstone was joined by other mayoral hopefuls, Tory candidate Steve Norris; Lib Dem Susan Kramer, and Frank Dobson, of Labour, in slamming controversial proposals to sell off 12 acres of the historic park to make way for a £58m 20-screen multiplex cinema.
They admitted, however, that they did know the extent of the new mayor's powers to stop construction going ahead.
At a packed public meeting at Kingsdale School, Dulwich, on Saturday, Mr Livingstone told hundreds of campaigners: "There is no justification for consuming any of the remaining green space that exists in London.
"The mayor has to make a priority to defend the little bit of green space that we've still got in this city."
He also pledged to bring Green party candidate Darren Johnson into his cabinet and give him the resources to "go through every clause and dot and comma in the legislation" to put a stop to the scheme.
He added "If we can find a way to stop it we will stop it."
Frank Dobson's running mate for Labour's bid, Trevor Phillips, said: "I believe that if we cannot get the protection that we need, we have no alternative but to say to the developers, in this case London and Regional and say "If you don't want this to be the last development you ever make in London then you need to talk to us; you need talk to the community, you need to rethink your ideas".
Meeting organiser, the Crystal Palace Campaign (CPC), is hoping the new mayor will at least pile moral pressure on to Bromley council, which owns the land, to pull out of the scheme.
Meanwhile, campaign leaders are looking into the possibility of mounting a further legal challenge.
They claim Bromley Council is not legally entitled to grant rights to L&R Properties over the construction of a road and tunnel from Anerley Hill to serve the multiplex.
Campaigners are taking advice about a legal challenge and have written to Bromley to answer the claim.
Single mum Diane Barker has also pledged to appeal against a High Court decision to throw out her bid challenging the development.
Asthma sufferer Miss Barker, of Anerley Hill, had argued that Bromley council should have ordered environmental impact assessment to be carried out before granting planning permission; she now faces legal costs of £100,000.
Last updated 24/04/00