Involve locals in Crystal Palace Park plans

01 July 2015

The London Assembly today urged the Mayor to engage openly and transparently with local community groups on future plans to redevelop Crystal Palace Park and the wider area. The Mayor supported a deal between Bromley Council and the ZhongRong Group to develop plans for Crystal Palace Park, which collapsed in March following the Council’s withdrawal of support. Darren Johnson AM, who proposed the motion said: “We need a new way forward for local people who have been excluded by the Mayor’s secretive deals and discussions with developers. The Mayor of London’s interventions have been completely counter-productive and set back the improvements plans and funding for them which was already in place. The new local Forum and Trust that are being set up will hopefully give people a genuine voice in what happens to their local park.” Fiona Twycross AM, who seconded the motion said: “Local people are understandably angry about the loss of sporting facilities and the Mayor’s secretive discussions with developers wishing to build in the park. What we need now is to engage in an open dialogue with local people to rebuild trust and ensure that any future projects for the park serve the needs of the community.” The full text of the motion is: "This Assembly notes the GLA’s recent projects for Crystal Palace Park, including: the collapsed deal with the ZhongRong Group to build a major commercial development on the hill top of Crystal Palace Park, which the Mayor secretly brokered following the London 2012 Games without the involvement of local stakeholder groups[1]; its draft plans to radically redevelop the National Sports Centre and grounds with a significant loss of sporting facilities, which only involved the local sporting community after significant protest[2]; and the park’s designation, without a clear rationale, in the London Plan as an Outer London Development Centre. This Assembly notes that the Mayor is continuing to pursue secretive discussions with companies regarding building on the park’s hill top[3], and believes he risks repeating the mistakes of the ZhongRong Group proposals, which resulted in the loss of £4.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund[4] and eighteen wasted months during which community projects were suspended. This Assembly also welcomes that the local community is progressing plans for a Crystal Palace Neighbourhood Forum[5], and that Bromley Council is working with local stakeholders to establish a community trust to govern Crystal Palace Park[6]. This Assembly therefore calls on the Mayor to end any private discussions about proposals for development on the park, and engage openly and transparently with the emerging community trust and Neighbourhood Forum in developing any future projects for the park and wider area.” Notes to editors:

The motion was agreed by 11 votes for to 3 against at a meeting of the full Assembly today.

The Mayor met Mr Ni Zhaoxing at the Games, and officers first held meetings in February 2013. Plans were not made public until October of that year.

See, for example, https://crystalpalacesp.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/press-statement-11-11-14.pdf

Question 2015/1523

http://www.crystalpalacepark.org.uk/2014/heritage-lottery-fund-application-fails/

Question 2014/1801

http://www.bromley.gov.uk/press/article/984/improving_crystal_palace_park_taking_shape

Darren Johnson AM who proposed the motion is available for interviews. Please see contact details below.

The webcast is available here.

As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Lisa Lam on 020 7983 4067. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.