All four neighbouring boroughs object to housing  on Crystal Palace Park  5 December 2008


It is customary for councils to comment on major planning applications likely to impact on their borough, where the application has been lodged with a neighbouring council.

The four boroughs adjacent to Crystal Palace Park were invited to comment on the LDA Masterplan application for Crystal Palace Park by Chris Evans, Development Control Manager Major Applications Team for Bromley. Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth delegated authority to council officers to respond to the application, while Croydon referred it to its planning committee.

Lewisham
Joost Van Well, Team Leader South Team of Lewisham Council Planning Service wrote:

“Lewisham Council is so far not convinced that there are the 'very special circumstances' which would justify this notable reduction of MOL, and the large number of homes which would be built on this MOL.”

Southwark
Gary Rice, Head of Development Control at Southwark Council wrote:

“The proposal would result in substantial new residential development on Metropolitan Open Land and land adjoining MOL that has not previously been developed in this way, contrary to Policy 3D.10 of the London Plan.”

Cllr Kim Humphreys wrote separately on behalf of his Southwark College Ward Colleagues, Cllrs Lewis Robinson and Michelle Holford and himself, supporting his officer’s statements in their objections to the LDA Masterplan. College Ward extends to the border of the Park.

Lambeth
Lambeth Gipsy Hill ward councillor, Cllr Andrew Gibson, wrote on behalf of his ward colleagues, Cllrs Suzanne Poole and Graham Pycock:

“While I am open to improvements to the parkland, I am very concerned about the proposal to use land for housing.”

James Ireland of Lambeth’s planning team forwarded Lambeth Council’s observations on 30 June 2008 as follows:

“There is a real concern that such a proposal could cause a precedent for other MOL land in London.”

“The major policy conflict created by the application still lies with the proposed residential development of parts of the park, the majority of which is designated Metropolitan Open Land. The London Development Agency has put together an argument why an exception should be made to this policy at Rockhills Gate (designated MOL) and Sydenham Gate (not within MOL, but within the park boundary). It will be for the Borough of Bromley to determine whether this argument for exception is acceptable. However, there is a real concern that such a proposal could cause a precedent for other MOL land in London.”

Croydon:

It should be considered whether there are measures in place to ensure that situation does not arise whereby the residential development is constructed yet other parts of the scheme are not delivered.

Following the fiasco of the officer’s recommendations being sent to Bromley without the councillors addendum that a number of conditions be added including the inappropriateness of selling parkland for housing, Bromley has now received the following:

“However its [Croydon] Planning Committee conveys its concern about residential development on MOL and considers that there are several points that need to be taken into consideration and addressed by Bromley, as follows –

Deliverability – there are concerns in relation to the absence of an overall funding strategy which could potentially result in the scheme being delivered in a non-comprehensive way, or perhaps certain elements would not be delivered at all. This makes it difficult to consider whether the parts given over to housing development would be a sacrifice worth making. It should be considered whether there are measures in place to ensure that situation does not arise whereby the residential development is constructed yet other parts of the scheme are not delivered.”

All four neighbouring councils have now aligned with the 7,000 who signed the petition against the sale of Crystal Palace Parkland for private housing, with the hundreds who wrote letters of objection to Bromley on this aspect of the Masterplan and with the views of the overwhelming majority at the LDA’s own consultation meetings, and reject such abuse of an historic public park; recognising the precedent that would be established if this application were approved.

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