FreeSport

Publication from Caroline Russell: Crystal Palace Park and the National Sports Centre

Date published: 
18 May 2016

Caroline Russell AM (Green Party Group), Florence Eshalomi AM (Labour Group), Steve O’Connell AM (Conservative Group) and Caroline Pidgeon AM wrote to the new Mayor of London asking him to work with the local community in Crystal Palace in shaping the future of the National Sports Centre and Crystal Palace Park.

Download the letter and the Mayor's reply.

The letter read:

One of your first decisions will relate to the future of the National Sports Centre (NSC), on which the GLA has a long lease. The NSC is one of the area’s largest employment sites, and still hosts a thriving community of amateur and elite athletes.

The GLA subcontracts management of the facilities to Greenwich Leisure Limited. The contract was extended by two years in March. Your predecessor initiated a rushed consultation on some preferred options for the future of the NSC. Over four thousand signed a petition calling for the consultation options to be withdrawn.  As it stands there are not yet enough facts to make an informed decision.

The Crystal Palace Sports Partnership, with the support of London Sport, has prepared a brief on finding sustainable options for the NSC and its integration with the park and the current masterplan.

The GLA is currently at risk of leaving too little time to ensure a well informed and proportionate approach in planning for the long term future of the NSC and its integration with the wider park, and finding the best options for the longer term.

You may also be aware of the history of your predecessor’s discussions to help the ZhongRong Group to build a very large commercial and cultural facility on the hilltop in Crystal Palace Park.

One direct consequence of the ZhongRong proposal being dropped was that a joint GLA/Bromley bid for £7.5m Heritage Lottery Fund was rejected, after years of detailed preparation.  The GLA and Bromley decided to spend their match funding element on projects in the park, but your predecessor indicated that the GLA would support – with staff time and funding – a future bid. We hope you will honour that promise.

The London Borough of Bromley is working to find a sustainable plan for the whole park.  The Crystal Palace Park Stakeholder Group has been working with Bromley Council on plans to transfer the management of the wider park to a community trust. We hope you will be supportive of this process.

The Mayor has unique role to support Crystal Palace, where five boroughs meet. The London Assembly called on your predecessor to change his approach in June 2015.

We should like you to ensure that your administration is transparent and fully engaged with appropriate park and NSC stakeholders. It would be a mistake for you to follow your predecessor in making top-down decisions.