HUNDREDS EXCLUDED FROM COMMUNITY CONSULTATION ON CHINESE PROPOSAL TO REBUILD THE CRYSTAL PALACE
Two Community Consultation meetings arranged by ARUP were held on Saturday 1st March 2014 at 11.30 and 13.30 at the Paxton Suite in The Lodge, Crystal Palace Park.
These meetings, though inadequately publicised by the organisers, were well notified by the CPCA and other local organisations, which perhaps contributed to the inauspicious start to the first meeting, when more than 200 people attending at 11.30 were unable to gain admittance, finding the room already packed to capacity, with every seat taken and many more standing and even sitting on the floor.
Predictably, people unable to attend were furious at this fiasco, which was not helped by the sublime arrogance of some stewarding the meeting in telling those that complained at being excluded from the meeting “…don’t worry there is another meeting at 1.30.” at which one angry person said “This is a joke there are more of us outside than inside.”>> Read on
Those attending the 11.30 meeting, conducted by ARUP Associate Director James Lough as ARUP Main Director Jerome Frost was delayed, were able to ask questions, most of which were heated and heavily critical of the lack of any real information upon which people could make assessment of the Chinese proposals for Crystal Palace Park.
London Assembly Member and Upper Norwood resident Val Shawcross expressed strong concern at Bromley’s behaviour and the lack of transparency in the process, and said we should not forget that the developer is not British and is an overseas private company.
James Lough suffered hostile questioning, and even some heckling, such was the frustration of those attending, and to be fair to Mr Lough, the consensus was that it was not his refusal to answer questions, but his inability to do so due to lack of information.
Following multiple complaints that the picture of the proposed Crystal Palace was a deception and why was this, one local resident received applause when she said “…it’s a slick glossy sales pitch and we don’t buy it, it’s a sham and it’s shameful.“
At the 1.30 meeting, for which some people had waited 2 hours to attend, the situation repeated itself, with again some 200 people excluded from this important meeting, and amongst whom was Melvyn Harrison, Crystal Palace Foundation Chair and acknowledged expert on the history of Crystal Palace.
When questioned on this at the start of the 1.30 meeting, ARUP Director Jerome Frost, who was most courteous throughout, said they had chosen this venue based upon attendances at earlier ‘drop in meetings’ and may have got it wrong, but ARUP would give regard to this in future meetings and make sure everybody was able to attend.
This was quite clearly systemic failing by ARUP, who with their vast experience and resources, were seriously negligent in relying upon returns from ‘drop in’ meetings and not recognising that Saturday meetings on a matter now attracting such escalating public concern, at a venue with virtually unlimited free car-parking, would attract many people.
When asked by CPCA member Mike Warwick if he would take a question on his explanation, Jerome Frost said of course, but as he would like to get on with the meeting “…we will take as many questions as you like at the end of the meeting.”
The meeting, conducted by Jerome Frost with contribution from Marc Hume, whilst generally convivial, attracted interruptions by people seeking information, although beyond repeat reference to the six short-listed architects from which selection will be made to design the proposed ’New Crystal Palace’ (what ever that may be) the strong consensus was that absolutely no new information whatsoever had been provided.
In his presentation, Jerome Frost relied upon wall charts giving statistics to emphasise the extent of ARUP community consultation, but as these statistics were percentages and not actual numbers, low attendance numbers at limited ‘drop in’ meetings and questionnaires with no return address, suggests that community consultation has been minimal.
To bring community consultation into proper perspective, it should be remembered that in support of their Cinema Multiplex proposals for Crystal Palace Park, London and Regional Properties researched the statistic that there were 1.6 Million stakeholders living within thirty minutes drive time of Crystal Palace Park, yet when the CPCA relied upon this in a letter to LDA Managing Director Tony Winterbottom, he scathingly replied that the LDA considered there were 6 Million London stakeholders in Crystal Palace Park.
One person interrupted the meeting with the question what would there be to stop Zhong Rong changing the use of the new building after construction, to which Marc Hume replied that there would have to be a new planning application to Bromley, but the CPCA fears this may not be the case in the future, consequent to changes in the law under "Localisation" and proposed chages in planning legislation exposed in the press under "Nuclear Option".
At the end of the meeting Jerome Frost said that a presentation on the history of Crystal Palace Park would now follow, and when reminded, that he would first take questions, whilst Administrator Katie Kerr said that as there was not much time left she would take six questions only, three from each side of the room, but people with questions could then go to the other room, where somebody would be available to answer their questions.
At this time there were more than thirty people in the meeting unsuccessfully indicating they wished to take part in discussions, when perhaps ARUP should take note that discussion is commonly accepted as conversation or debate on a particular subject.
Not only was this a breach of undertaking given by Jerome Frost to “…take as many questions as you like at the end of the meeting.” but also clearly duplicitous since questions and answers between individuals in the back room would be heard only by those persons, and not by all of those attending the meeting, via the mobile microphone.
By this unsatisfactory means, Jerome Frost was asked what was the large aerial colour picture on the wall in the second room and in the brochure published by Mr Ni Zhoaxing’s ZHONG RONG INTERNATIONAL (GROUP) LTD to which he replied it was a picture of the proposed new Crystal Palace. On being further asked how many of the six short-listed architects had input into this concept, Jerome Frost replied, with commendable frankness, that none of these architects had any input and it was probably just an artist’s impression.
Jerome Frost also said that the final building would probably be nothing like the picture, and had his frank response been given in the main room during the earlier meeting, one person who said the new Crystal Palace looked lovely, might have thought otherwise.
It is perverse that the organisers scheduled a lecture on the HISTORY of Crystal Palace Park by sculpture expert Christopher Marsden of the Victoria and Albert Museum, which although most interesting and well received, absorbed valuable time for meeting attendees to address the FUTURE of Crystal Palace Park, when this was clearly a diversionary tactic intended to minimise questioning.
That there were any permitted questions at all is mainly due to the complaints of Martin Tempier’s Crystal Palace Park Stakeholder Group and John Payne of the CPCA when also protesting at the absence of posters, leafleting and required notification of meetings.
The brochure titled ‘THE CRYSTAL PALACE’ October 2013 endorsed by the personal signatures of Mr Ni for the Zhong Rong International (Group) Ltd, Boris Johnson as Mayor of London and Stephen Carr as Leader of the London Borough of Bromley, contains advice under the heading HOW CAN I ENGAGE IN THE DISCUSSION?
Ironically, although ‘discussion’ is accepted as conversation or debate on a particular topic, one place where people won’t be able to engage in discussion are ARUP public meetings on the future of Crystal Palace Park, where questions are discouraged.
The Questionnaire available on request at ‘drop in’ and public meetings, although omitting important issues, contained questions requiring the application of time and careful consideration, yet no contact details were provided for those who wished to give the questionnaire further consideration at their convenience.
The only reference to “…consultation with the public…” in the triple signed colour brochure ‘THE CRYSTAL PALACE’ is in reference to multiple community uses of the re-imagined Crystal Palace, which most would agree is somewhat posthumous.
An important potential question to ARUP which was obstructed, is was what is meant in brochure reference to the re-imagined Crystal Palace “…It must be owned and loved by the local community especially young people…” and “It must also be affordable as well as financially sustainable.”
FURTHER ASSAULT ON PLANNING LAWS
The Coalition is preparing a new assault on planning laws that will give developers legal powers to force through planning applications without council approval or environmental assessments.
Under new proposals, described by one planning expert as a nuclear option, developers and builders will be able to by-pass local authorities that delay decisions on conditions attached to planning approval.
Even worse, the Coalition also proposes to remove requirement to assess the impact of some large residential developments or housing estates, super-markets and shopping centres on the countryside.
Campaigners, including concerned Tory back-bencher MPs representing rural areas have warned that these radical reforms could result in communities being “held to ransom” and could force councils to wave through unpopular and contentious planning applications.>> Read on
A senior policy advisor to David Cameron has said that the ‘physical harm’ being inflicted on our countryside by the Coalition’s planning reforms could become the “defining legacy of this Coalition government.”
Never the less, arch protagonist and Planning Minister Nick Boles proposes yet further changes that will clear the decks for even more development, claiming that the reforms would “significantly cut the burdens of unnecessary planning applications” and also “save the industry precious time and money.”
The Coalition will unveil a package of new measures in April 2014 to help meet its target of building hundreds of thousands of new homes and stimulate the economy at the same time.
One of the most contentious reforms gives developers legal powers to ignore local authorities.
Grant of Council planning permission routinely imposes conditions providing local public benefit such as flood defences, (an area much under public scrutiny at this time,) tree planting and landscaping.
Builders are successfully lobbying that local authorities are delaying applications for construction of hundreds of thousands of new homes by failing to sign-off such restrictive conditions.
Ominously, this new legislation will enable automatic application approval if councils “fail to discharge a condition in time.”
Richard Blyth, Head of Policy at The Royal Town and Planning Institute aid that under the proposals developers “can hold everybody to ransom”. and “Local councillors work hard to reflect public opinion in developments, and if it later turns out that a lot of these conditions have not been met, residents might feel let down. It is a Nuclear Option.”
Councillor Mike Jones, Local Government Association’s Housing Board Chair said that planning conditions helped to protect communities.
The second new measure will reduce the need for environmental assessment which must currently be considered for any development covering more than one acre. Under proposed legislation, the threshold would be raised to considerably larger than one acre, exempting thousands of development from requirement for evaluation of their impact on the landscape, wild-life and plants.
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said that the Government (Coalition) was concerned that too many unreasonable conditions were imposed, sometimes adding years to the planning process and delaying the building of new homes.
This material is virtually a verbatim from newspaper and magazine articles.
David Cameron has agreed to meet Conservative MPs to discuss their concerns and possible changes to the proposals.
Upper Norwood Library Trust Needs You
Trustees are wanted for an exciting new social enterprise in Upper Norwood due to take over the running of the Upper Norwood Library.
The Upper Norwood Library Trust (UNLT) is a newly formed organisation formed by local residents with the objective of taking over the governance and management of the Upper Norwood Joint Library (UNJL) as a library and community hub.
We keen to ensure we properly reflect the local community, so we are looking for people with a range of skills and experience, particularly people who have experience/skills in one of the following, libraries, community engagement, education, accountancy, HR, legal, fundraising, business, business development, and or marketing. But just as importantly, we are looking for people who are passionate about our library, and feel they can understand the needs of the library members.
While this is a serious endeavor, the trust aims to be a friendly group who are willing to put in time and effort to make our library a widely recognised model for the future.
We would love to hear from you if you are interested and will supply you with more information to explain, in more detail, what is involved. Email Bryher@me.com
CPCA CPCA CHALLENGE REFUSED
Crystal Palace Community Association challenge to decision by Secretary of State to approve the LDA Crystal Palace Masterplan rejected
April 30 2013
Appeal Lords say no
Three Lords of Appeal found against the CPCA at hearing on Tuesday 23rd April 2013 rejecting submission by Robert McCracken QC that the LDA Masterplan application should not have been outline application and that proposal under it for sale of land to raise money disregarded the importance of Habitats Directive Regulations concerning bats.
CPCA Chair John Payne said "Whilst naturally disappointed we are greatly encouraged by the messages of support from all quarters and it is as though we had won the challenge to the Masterplan not lost it. It is gratifying that all the efforts and costs in bringing this matter into the courts have been justified by the resulting interest and attention."
Norwood Society Chair Richard Lines said "It’s disappointing that the application failed, but as an objector to the Masterplan the Society will continue to take close interest over the future of Crystal Palace Park."
Donald Mitchell, London Chair, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England said "Whilst we recognise the need to improve Crystal Palace Park, we are very concerned where the legal protection on a Grade II* Listed, Municipal Open Space and Conservation Area comes under threat. These sites are protected for the benefit of local communities, and more widely, noting the considerable environmental and heritage services they provide, other parks, such as Dulwich and Battersea, have been regenerated without the down-scaling of the green space. We ask Bromley Council to ensure that approval of the Masterplan does not result in further incursion onto this important asset for London."
Kate Ashbrook, General Secretary of the Open Spaces Society said "We are deeply disappointed that this important appeal has been rejected. Crystal Palace Park is of national importance and it would be tragic if it was to be exploited for commercial gain."
Darren Johnson, London Assembly Green Member said "I fear the Courts decision will set a precedent that will encourage inappropriate development on all public parks and green open spaces."
John Payne further said "It is encouraging that the recent GLA/Bromley 10-point plan for Crystal Palace Park includes some features the CPCA suggested six years ago, and does not include building of luxury flats."
Addendum: Following the decision of the Appeal Lords, CPC Chair Ray Sacks sent out an email bulletin with his comments which Mike Warwick has responded to on behalf of the CPCA.
>> Read both here
See our latest edition with pieces on the CPCA's High Court Masterplan challenge, Crystal Palace Park and the Upper Norwood Joint Library, plus a roundup of forthcoming CPCA social events.
Click on the cover to read this edition online. It can also be downloaded as a pdf.
The Upper Norwood Library Trust 21 February 2013
The battle for the future of our Upper Norwood Library continues albeit in a very different form. The following information explains the current position on the formation of a ‘Trust’ and the role it will play in the future management and governance of the Library.
The CPCA would like to thank all those who are working so hard on ensuring the future of our Library for this update.
The Upper Norwood Library Trust Update
Who we are?
We are a group of local residents committed to saving the library. We have all been involved in the library campaign over the last few years, some longer than others. In the summer of 2012 we had the idea of proposing to both the councils that, if they could not agree on a funding model or joint management, that the community could take over the running of the library.
What we want to do.
After many meetings with a wide group of library campaigners and community members, including CPCA and Gipsy Hill Residents’ Association members, it was agreed that the best way to take over the running of a professionally staffed library was to set up an incorporated charity with a business arm. We took expert legal advice on this, and we also consulted the staff. We agreed to name the charity The Upper Norwood Library Trust, as it says what it is and keeps the historic name.
Where have we have got to?
The campaign group and residents organisations then determined that a small group of interim trustees would be appointed to set up the Trust, and start intensive negotiations with the councils. So far we have employed a lawyer, highly skilled in these kinds of transfers from local government to trust status to set up the charity and the business for us. With our lawyer we have made an application to the Charity Commission, which should be approved soon.
We have also negotiated £5,000 ‘capacity building’ funding from both Lambeth and Croydon councils, and £10,000 of development funding from the Social Investment Business. We are using this funding to commission Locality, an expert community organization that has supported many libraries to set up as community run trusts. Locality is working closely with us on the transfer to help us find Trustees and work on business development opportunities that will help fund the continuance of the library. Unfortunately we cannot use this funding on existing staff and running costs.
What’s going to happen next?
Our vision is to work, in the short term, within the severely cut budget to continue to provide a professionally run library service and that will always be at the heart of everything the Trust aims to do. In the medium to long term, when funds and resources allow, we intend to develop a community hub - the Crystal Palace Community Learning centre - a place both IN the community and OF the community that offers sustainable high quality learning, information and community services for all residents in the local area. A brilliant library of the future with books at the heart of the operation. This aspiration follows our own consultation with the community and parallels the response to Croydon Council and Lambeth Councils’ consultations.
Now in February - Croydon and Lambeth Councils are in negotiation to bring the Upper Norwood Joint Library into its new severely restricted budget. We have been asked to present a business plan and a service model – which we have done. It is a particularly sensitive time for the beleaguered staff as they face either voluntary or perhaps compulsory redundancy and it is a matter of huge regret that the interim Trustees are unable to prevent this. We are trying as hard as possible to influence the process to minimise damage and achieve the best possible future, but we do not yet have a definite date for handover. We want it to be as soon as possible – aiming for April 2013. These are difficult times, and cuts to public services are affecting all local communities. We are committed to ensuring that our library continues. Please do get involved if you would like to help. We are in the process of setting up a community forum and also building a website, but in the meantime please join our Facebook group (Save Upper Norwood Library (Crystal Palace) from Closure) to get in touch and to get regular updates, or send us your email via email@example.com.
Bryher Scudamore, Robbie Gibson, Pam Gray, Emma Sharville, Alex Klaushofer, Max Dixon. February 21, 2013.
Upper Norwood Library - no longer a ‘joint library’ 30 January 2013
Lambeth and Croydon have confirmed that the Upper Norwood Library’s joint agreement has ended.
Under a new agreement, Croydon will transfer the 112-year old Library building, staff and agreed budgets to Lambeth.
The fine print of the agreement is being negotiated but the transfer of assets from Croydon to Lambeth is scheduled to take place over the next few months. Croydon Council has agreed to provide an annual contribution of £75,000, for the next two years. This is renewable under a three-year funding agreement. In contrast, Lambeth’s contribution to the Library will be £170,000 a year.
Lambeth in turn will work with the community-led steering group Upper Norwood Joint Campaign whose aim is to create a new trust which will run the library as “a publicly-funded, professionally staffed service”.
Although the continued operation of our Library is ‘good news’ the bad news is that it will have to function on little more than half the budget that it previously enjoyed, while long-term funding remains uncertain.
No place for CPCA in future of Crystal Palace Park January 2013
The CPCA is excluded from the Community Stakeholder Board, one of six boards established by Bromley to consider future management and development of Bromley’s only Grade II* Registered Metropolitan Open Land park, Crystal Palace Park. The recommendations of these boards will be considered by Bromley's Executive Committee.
This exclusion of the CPCA ensures this 42-year old charity registered amenity society will play no further role in the future of this park after years of interest and association.
Bromley's draft Crystal Palace Park Management Board Terms of reference identifies "Sustainable development to promote revenues streams", "Implementing the vision and spirit of the Crystal Palace Park Masterplan."(Which includes sale of public parkland for construction of 180 private luxury apartments) "...opportunities for investment ..."and that "...difficult decisions may have to be made for the on-going sustainable future of the park to be guaranteed."
Although It is claimed by Bromley that three of the eleven appointees to The Community Board satisfy their own condition to be from "...existing community groups" only the Friends of Crystal Palace is a bona fide community group, with open membership and elected committee, a published constitution and accounts.
Bromley are in blatant breach of their own condition that appointees to the Community Board "...must have sufficient authority to speak for their organisations/sectors/partnerships and to provide worthwhile contribution to the work of theCrystal Palace Park Management Board" and "...that feedback is given to their nominating organisations and it is sufficiently reflected upon withaction taken as appropriate and relevant feedback provided in timelyfashion and to the appropriate structure members."
The Community Stakeholder Board has met on a number of occasions and requests to Community Development Manager, Louisa Allen, for access to minutes of these meetings under community information and later under FOI, were formally refused by Ms Allen.
Following CPCA 17 July 2012 detailed written response to such refusal, and to which no reply has been received to date, Louisa Allen left Bromley Council on 26 July 2012.
If you object to Bromley's exclusion of the CPCA from vital consideration and discussion on the future of our historic park, then write in no uncertain terms to Marc Hume, Director Renewal and Recreation, The Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley BR1 3UH, and copy your letter to Bromley Council Leader Stephen Carr at the same address. The CPCA would of course like to receive a copy of your protests.
Click here to view the full correspondence, which should be read in reverse order.
CPCA legal challenge over Park housing Posted - February 2012
The Crystal Palace Community Association is challenging the decision of the Secretary of State to approve sale of protected public parkland for construction of luxury apartments, under London Development Agency Masterplan proposal for Crystal Palace Park.>> Full story here
CPCA responds to Bromley's 'Core Strategy' consultation Posted - December 2011
The London Borough of Bromley has begun the process of producing their 'Core Strategy' document for the Borough. This document will help determine the long-term planning strategy for the Borough and its conclusions will be incorporated into their Local Development Framework (LDF) - a replacement for the current Unitary Development Plan (UDP).>> Full story here
Upper Norwood Library faces closure and sale after Croydon withdraw funding Posted - November 2011
The unilateral decision by Croydon Council to 'terminate' the Upper Norwood Library Joint Agreement was, according to Croydon, the direct consequence of '...fundamental breach of the agreement by Lambeth Council'. Such breach, according to Croydon, was the refusal by Lambeth Council 'to attend the last Annual General Meeting and failing to co-operate at the 2010 meeting.'>> Full story here
Re-run AGM farce as Croydon refuses to honour Joint Library Agreement Posted - September 2011
Croydon Council's continuing failure to meet the terms of their partnership agreement with Lambeth Council, caused yet another meeting of The Upper Norwood Joint Library Committee to be abandoned last Thursday, the 15 September, when more than seventy people attended the Library Annual General Meeting, where the future of the 111-year old Library was to be considered.>> Full story here
CPCA to challenge Secretary of State's approval for 180 luxury flats in Crystal Palace Park Posted - January 2011
Following the Secretary of State's Formal Decision to grant planning permission to the LDA Masterplan application for Crystal Palace Park, the CPCA have been advised that there are powerful legal grounds to challenge this in the High Court. It is currently preparing evidence and other material to tight deadlines and urgently considering the matter of costs.>> Full story here
Please see our Archive pages
Latest News and Events
CPCA Chair John Payne has undergone succesful corrective chest surgery. John is at home recovering well and I am sure we would all like to wish him a speedy recovery.
- Audrey Hammond, President
- Events CPTT Fairtrade Fortnight
- Events ‘Hot Flashes and Mood Swings: The Ups and Downs of Menopause’
- Events Comedy nights
- News CPCA legal challenge over Park housing
- News CPCA responds to Bromley's 'Core Strategy' consultation
- News Upper Norwood Library Faces Closure and Sale
- News Re-run AGM farce as Croydon refuses to honour Joint Library Agreement
- Older news can be seen on our Archive page
Upper Norwood Joint Library
The only independent, jointly funded library in the UK
Upper Norwood Library Campaign (UNLC)
Working to protect our unique library
Our CP based web design and eMarketing specialists
Rotary Club of Crystal Palace and Norwood
Founded in 1924
A weekly FREE 5km timed event in Crystal Palace Park
The Bigger Picture
Local CP artists transforming vacant shops to display art
The Goodliffe Hall
Supporting church and community life in Gipsy Hill
The Crystal Palace Community Development Trust
A CP community-based enterprise since 2004
The Crystal Palace Foundation
Dedicated to preserving the history of the Crystal Palace
Picture Palace Campaign
Campaigning to support a cinema in Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace Park
The LDA's website dedicated to Crystal Palace Park
Offers unwanted items for free to keep them out of landfill sites
Crystal Palace Band
Good guys and great concerts
West Beckenham Residents' Association
Founded in 1945 and still going strong
Warehouse Theatre Croydon
New writing, comedy and entertainment
The South London Theatre
Non-professional theatre based in West Norwood
Stop private housing on Crystal Palace Park
Sign this online petition to oppose private development
Design assistance with our new logo (and a new website too)
Spring 2013 Newsletter
See the latest on the CPCA's High Court challenge, a multi-million pound 10-point plan for Crystal Palace Park and the effect of recent Upper Norwood Joint Library cuts, plus a roundup of forthcoming CPCA social events.
Spring 2012 Newsletter
Our latest edition has pieces on the CPCA's High Court Masterplan challenge, Crystal Palace Park and the Upper Norwood Joint Library, plus a roundup of forthcoming CPCA social events.
Summer 2011 Newsletter
See our latest 24 page edition with detailed articles on local issues including the CPCA's High Court application to challenge the decision to approve the LDA Masterplan application for Crystal Palace Park.
Summer 2010 Bulletin
This latest edition is full of interesting snippets as well as looks at Triangle matters, the CPCA's early years 1969-1973 and whether public money should fund private speculation here in SE19.
Spring 2010 Bulletin
The first edition of our new regular bulletin has an overview of the public inquiry into the LDA Masterplan application, a look at the Upper Norwood Library Campaign as well as a 60 second interview with CPCA President Audrey Hammond.
Spring 2009 Newsletter
With detailed articles on local issues including the LDA Masterplan application process, conservation area planning and the potential impact of building houses on Crystal Palace Park.
Spring 2008 Newsletter
An important edition that covers the LDA Master plan application for Crystal Palace Park in great detail.
Read online, download or request a hard copy.
CPCA comments, October 2011
CPCA responds to Bromley's 'Core Strategy' consultation.
Joint UNLC and CPCA submission, June 2011
An alternative financial and governance model for Lambeth's library service.
English Heritage letter, September 2008
Letter from English Heritage to Bromley Town and Planning regarding planning applications for Crystal Palace Park.
CPCA Masterplan objection letter, June 2008
The CPCA formally objects to the planning applications submitted on behalf of the LDA for Crystal Palace Park