Say "No!" to housing on Crystal Palace Park

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julianms
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Joined: 16 Apr 2007 14:03
Location: Sydenham

Say "No!" to housing on Crystal Palace Park

Post by julianms »

Did you know that the LDA is trying to sell off parts of Crystal Palace Park (Grade 2 * listed) to private developers, so they can build 176 luxury flats and townhouses *inside* the park?

Probably not, even if you attended Saturday's so-called "consultation" on the future of Crystal Palace Park. The glossy leaflets announced "More Park, Your Park!" but it should actually have read "Less Park, Your Park!" The people behind the campaign are Local Dialogue. On their website they say:

"Operating as an integral member of the development team, Dialogue will advise on the likely public relations impact of any development proposal and subsequently will develop appropriate communications strategies."

(Source: www.localdialogue.com/pages%20new/our%20services.html)

Sounds like they're on the side of developers, doesn't it?

If you are opposed to the great sell-off of our PUBLIC park into private hands, please sign the petition at:

www.ipetitions.com/petition/protectcpp
Illuminance
Posts: 84
Joined: 14 Mar 2005 16:49
Location: Tunbridge Wells

Post by Illuminance »

I don't mean to sound rude but why do you think the houses on the park side of Crystal Palace Park Road, Thicket Road, Anerly Hill etc were built?? To raise money to keep the park going maybe? It's been mentioned on this forum a lot of times, please do a quick search.

Nothing in this life is free; we'll have to pay for the park improvements somehow.

It's just history repeating itself.
simono
Posts: 96
Joined: 12 Apr 2006 14:22
Location: Sydenham

Post by simono »

I couldn't agree more with Illuminance. If you are going to fund improvements to the park it has to be paid for and I am afraid housing is the best way. I didn't get to the exhibition but if there is a development of that size 50% will have to be social housing - either for rent or low cost for sale - by the Mayors own rules. We are desperate for affordable housing in this area so I think we have to compromise here.
dickp
Posts: 567
Joined: 7 Jan 2005 14:39
Location: Cardiff

Post by dickp »

I honestly can't get worked up about losing a) car park b) shed, caravan park etc to fund a vastly improved central section of park.

The entire park is ringed by housing, apart from the gaps the LDA are proposing to fill. The LDA's proposal is reasonable and balanced.

And no, I don't work for the LDA. I do, however, walk through the park every day, and also use the sports centre - which is in dire need of refurbishment.
Juwlz
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Joined: 26 Oct 2005 20:49
Location: Outer Sydenham

Post by Juwlz »

I for one am opposed to any selling off of parkland for housing. Once it has been made ino housing it'll never go back to parkland – its precious. Surely now that the sports centre is definately there to stay there will be enough development on that land. Why does the park need to be paid for with with housing? Trees and grass don't cost much in terms of upkeep do they?

I see there is a 'workshop' on the 1st of June in Anerley town hall at 6.30. I suggest everyone concerned about the housing get down there pronto or at least sign the petition as mentioned previously:

www.ipetitions.com/petition/protectcpp
stuart
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Joined: 21 Sep 2004 10:13
Location: Lawrie Park
Contact:

Post by stuart »

Anybody wanting to go to the event on the 1st - might want to checkout the latest information first this weekend. See the CPP stuff on frontpage.

The current plans - as of last Saturday - was a scaling down of the original proposals by around 50%. Gone is the proposed block of flats at Sydenham Gate although the maintenance building may be relocated to that site to free up for more infill on Crystal Palace Park Road. The Rockhills Caravan Park plot has been reduced and footprint even more reduced and together with elevations overlooking the park. The downside is that it towers up to five storeys overlooking the top of Westwood Hill.

There is a division between parts of the community that are against *any* housing development as a point of principle. Their primary argument is that if it is permitted then whenever the LDA needs a pot of money to develop or maintain the Park - they will take another nibble at the land. Others, as you see above, believe that injection of cash would get us a better bigger park (the land freed by the Caravan Park being much greater then the land lost to housing).

Tough choices ... as Julwz suggests, go to Friday's event and explore the options.

PS There is a report here on the original proposals (including Sydenham Gate): http://www.sydenham.org.uk/lda_consultation.html

Stuart
Juwlz
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Joined: 26 Oct 2005 20:49
Location: Outer Sydenham

Post by Juwlz »

Well I am against it as a point of principle. I am gutted cos I can't go the 'workshop' on the 1st June.

What is a workshop anyway - is it where they try to brainwash you into beliving that shiny new houses on the park are a good thing?

And why does the caravan park have to go? Is that a definate now as well?
Weeble
Posts: 358
Joined: 1 Nov 2004 17:56
Location: Sydenham

Post by Weeble »

Juwlz wrote:What is a workshop anyway - is it where they try to brainwash you into beliving that shiny new houses on the park are a good thing?
I'm not involved with the CPP consultation but from a professional perspective I've been involved in similar workshops in the past.

The workshops are organised by a professional consultation company, who specialise in working for local authorities and developers to consult with the public about proposed developments (eg housing, parks, road schemes, etc).

To an extent I'm a bit cynical about these consultation companies as they are in the employ of the developers, and if you look at their websites they tend to focus on 'getting results' (ie the developer getting the go-ahead). ie - are they just glorified PR under the guise of 'consultation'?

On the other hand there are few things more likely to scupper a developement than public opposition, so it is in everyone's interests to genuinely take public opinion into account and tailor plans to meet public approval.

I think this is particularly true in the case of CP park because:

1) We're talking about the LDA rather than a private developer, so (I would hope!) they have the publics interests rather more at heart!

2) CPP has a history of vocal public campaigning scuppering plans, so this is not a risk they will want to take again

3) Everyone has the same ulitmate goal at heart - improving the park - it is just a matter of *how* this is acheived. We're not talking about building a motorway or something.

So, whilst I have a healthy little pinch of cynicism, I'm confident that there is a genuine desire to involve the local community in the plans, and I must say I've been very impressed by the amount of publicity, workshops etc which have been going on.

The idea of the workshops is that it brings together all the interested and involved parties (locals, designers, etc) to discuss various aspects of the plans and help work out a favoured way forward. It's not just a case of someone presenting information to you - you might be asked to split off into groups to discuss one aspect of the plans for the park in more detail.

Just a final point - I'm sure no-one here plans to do such a thing :wink: but there is nothing more frustrating in these workshop environments when a vocal minority with their own agenda derails proceedings by continually repeating their own points and refusing to let other people have a say. I'd say the housing issue is a fairly classic case in point of the type of issue which results in this kind of scenario :wink:
Juwlz
Posts: 749
Joined: 26 Oct 2005 20:49
Location: Outer Sydenham

Me and my big mouth.

Post by Juwlz »

Thanks Weeble for your rational comments.

As a matter of fact I spent yesterday evening badgering some people who are considerably better informed than me who pretty much told me what you have just done and more...

As a result I am not so much of an ignoramous and have reformed my opinion!

I have actually spent a sleepless night worrying that if the LDA had to give up on the project because of too much opposition leading to lack of funds to do up the park and it then reverted to the control of Bromley council (shudder) and the whole thing was left as it is it would be ALL MY FAULT!! (and the fault of people like me).

I can see now that sorting out the park involves more that just breaking up a bit of concrete and planting some flowers and might actually cost a considerable amount of money. And its best if its done properly and not some half hearted compromise. Apparently the plans so far are fabulous.

I was also thinking about that amazing subway underneath the road and how great it would be if it was opened up as a subterranean museum or walkway or something (no doubt there are already some exciting plans that I am woefully ignorant of). At the moment it is just there rotting and not even accessible.

As well as all that I should think that if there were park wardens etc.and better security etc. then things like the pterodactyls wouldn't get vandalised. I expect those parkies might want some wages...

Which leads me to conclude that if all this means building a couple of houses on the edge of the park to fund it - it would be the lesser of two evils and would be illogical to fight on principle. I do think though that they should be kept to the absolute minimum. 176 sounds way too many. I still don't know what the other options would possibly for funding it. I presume there aren't any? Anyone know?

Now how do I get my name off that petition?...

The end.
Weeble
Posts: 358
Joined: 1 Nov 2004 17:56
Location: Sydenham

Post by Weeble »

I wouldn't worry too much Juwlz!

My opinion of these things that is somewhat like haggling at a market - unless you start out by taking a strong position you end up paying more than you wanted.

As it stands it sounds like the plans for housing have been revised in light of the strong opposition and campaigning.

If that hadn't happened, would the plans have been revised? Lack of opposition could even have been viewed as acceptance, which means we could have even ended up with MORE housing than the original plan!

But, as you say, the trick is to know when to strike a bargain, otherwise everyone ends up walking away with nothing.
dickp
Posts: 567
Joined: 7 Jan 2005 14:39
Location: Cardiff

Post by dickp »

Another point to make is that the consultation process is responding to external events - which require constant revisions to the plans. Some of what I would call the "obstructionist" minority appear to view these changes as some kind of evil conspiracy, which of course it's not.

For example, when this whole exercise started, London hadn't yet won the olympics..now, we have. This will have an impact (probably terminal, I hope!) on the future of the under-used athletics track.

Nor were the LDA sure how much fuss would be kicked up about the listed NSC. Because it now can't be demolished, they've had to revise their plans to accept that it's not going anywhere. And, once they decided to keep it, they investigated the cost of refurbishment more closely - and decided that they could afford to repair it after all.
Pat Trembath
Posts: 613
Joined: 2 Oct 2004 10:54

Post by Pat Trembath »

Just to bump this up the Forum

A reminder that tonight, Friday 1 June, there is a public workshop to give residents a chance to discuss the "hot topic of housing to part fund improvements to the park" - from LDA publication Parknews.

The LDA state they have not made a decision on whether or not to include the two remaining housing options in the final Masterplan, which will be submitted to Bromley, the planning authority, in the autumn.

The evening workshop starts at 6.30 and goes on till 9 pm at Anerley Town Hall.

An opportunity here for anyone interested to go along, listen to the arguments and join in the debate.

The updated Masterplan for the whole park should be available - housing is only a tiny percentage of the the ideas being worked up on how to refurbish this very run down Grade ll* park.
Muddy Waters
Posts: 137
Joined: 2 Oct 2004 17:05

Post by Muddy Waters »

Well, I wonder how many ordinary local residents went along to the meeting last night to listen (not much else they could do) to rentamob with their (quite reasonable) position regarding concerns about housing being built on the perimeter of the park, who literally hijacked the meeting and shouted down the organisers and anyone else who ventured to put a different view.

There were several very vociferous members of a local community group present and two pompous self-appointed barrack room lawyers who seem to think they represented the local residents around the park when they continued to interrupt the proceedings.

It is not surprising that a number of members of the audience walked out at different stages during the evening - some within the first half hour. Call this local democracy? No way!

However, I for one, who sat through the presentation of the masterplanners ideas and through the group workshop fiasco afterwards would like to say that I think most of the plans put forward to regenerate the Park (and what is wrong with this word that it calls for ribald laughter from rentamob?) will provide us with a beautiful park with concrete structures and tarmac removed from the centre of the park and replaced with soft landscape. Four hundred mature plane trees to be planted on the site of the old Crystal Palace alone!

The London Development Agency and the Masterplanners should be applauded for their vision. I hope that they will get planning permission and can find the funding for the work to start on making this rundown park into something we locals can be proud of once more.

And, yes I, too, share many peoples' concerns about housing (if the LDA do choose to include it in the Masterplan) but nothing would persuade me to join the bunch of rabble rousers who attended last night's meeting.
Pat Trembath
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Joined: 2 Oct 2004 10:54

Post by Pat Trembath »

I attended last night's meeting and would agree with MW's summation of proceedings. I, too, saw people leave the meeting in disgust.

There were 7 committee members of the Sydenham Society present throughout the meeting who attended in order to inform themselves of the plans for the park, together with the arguments for and against housing on the Caravan Club site and on the smaller sites along Crystal Palace Park Road.

I would like to assure Forum readers that the committee members of Sydenham Society were NOT the "very vociferous members of a local community group" referred to by MW, and certainly had nothing to do with the "two pompous self-appointed barrack room lawyers" (a very apt description, in my opinion).
llanelli
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Joined: 2 Jun 2007 11:02
Location: SE26

Anerley town hall meeting re plans for CPP

Post by llanelli »

My wife and I came to the meeting last night arriving at 7.30 - we, therefore, missed the presentations but were in time to join one of the discussion groups. However, we left after 10 minutes because of the pointless wrecking tactics of two middle-aged chaps who seemed determined to shout down anyone who did not agree with them. What a waste of time when we would really like to know what is actually being proposed.

We see from the comments of Muddy Waters that these chaps represent some local community group - pretty shambolic if this is the level of their participation.

We have lived within half a mile of Crystal Palace Park since 1965 - we are deeply concerned as to what may happen to it - Bromley's stewardship has, to date, been hopeless and we feel that they should not be trusted with "managing" this important and historic site any longer than is absolutely necessary.

How about a bit of sensible thinking about a marvellous local resource? It needs to be considered as a whole and while we have an instinctive concern about housing on the site, it has to be remembered that houses have been part of the park since, at the latest, 1894. Some of the suggested building seems to be replacing houses lost due to enemy action in the 1940s?

Llanelli
nasaroc
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Joined: 1 Oct 2004 12:41
Location: Sydenham

Post by nasaroc »

I too attended last night's meeting and, although I had been warned previously about the behaviour of this lunatic minority, I simply wasn't prepared for some of their tactics.

Almost as soon as the presentation started they were on their feet screaming and yelling trying to make it impossible for the presentation to continue. They continued this throughout the "break-down" groups and then in the Q&A session at the end.

What was worse was the way that they "roughed up" almost every individual who spoke in favour of any part of the scheme. As soon as I asked a fairly tame but equivocal question in the break down groups a woman walked round and stood just behind my chair, leant forward and told me "don't come here again - you're not welcome." I heard another individual approach the main presenter (who was from an Asian background) and tell him "Don't play the f*** race card here". My wife, who had asked whether there could be an architectural competition to ensure that we got high quality houses in the park (if they were going to be built) was approached by a woman afterwards who told her that that she had a supercilious grin "just like Tony Blair".

I am not a sensitive soul and I will now ensure that I attend every meeting to try to counter the tactics of this group. But I can easily see how most ordinary people would either be intimidated or alienated. I was so heartened to be approached by a group of younger men and women who told me that they had attended every meeting and were willing to stick it out come hell or high water despite the steady and routine intimidation they received.

The proposals for the park (which these people oppose although they were soundly endorsed by a huge majority of responses to the public consultation) sound great and should be supported. The issue of housing, of course, needs further debate.
Annie
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Joined: 13 May 2006 11:08
Location: Sydenham

CPP

Post by Annie »

:?
I was against building housing on CPP but since last nights Rent a Gob attendence i have decided to support the developement.
So Rent a Gob you have lost one supporter.
How many more have you lost because of your outlandish behaviour?
a very sad day for democracy. :cry:
nasaroc
Posts: 602
Joined: 1 Oct 2004 12:41
Location: Sydenham

Post by nasaroc »

Just for the record. There are two areas which have been suggested for housing development in CP Park:

1. The Caravan Site
The Caravan Site occupies 6 acres and is currently private and inaccessible to park users. Most people in Sydenham probably don't know it exists.

The proposal is to build housing on 1.3 acres of the Caravan Park and return the remaining 4.7 acres to the park as green space for locals. An alternative site in London will be found for the caravan park.

We are therefore returning a large part of a space which most people in this area have never visited back into local public use as a park. The 1.3 acres of land used for housing is around 1 per cent of the total area of the park. It is hugely emotive to scream" They are using our park for housing!" In fact they aren't.

2. Crystal Palace Park Road

The much smaller housing development replacing the current "One O' Clock" club and Bromley Storage Depot will be much more visible and, in my view, should be discussed further. But bear in mind - you aren't building on "virgin" parkland here either but replacing current buildings with other buildings.

Bear in mind also that the central core of the new park plan is to replace concrete and tarmac with turf. For example, the awful car parks above the NSC will be moved to the edges of the park and replaced with parkland. And the "athletes' hotel block" will be demolished and replaced by a new low-rise building on Anereley Road.
Muddy Waters
Posts: 137
Joined: 2 Oct 2004 17:05

Post by Muddy Waters »

Further to the above

The start of Friday night's meeting began with an almost uninterrupted presentation - the total mayhem came later. We were told the LDA has been talking to the One o' Clock club whose dated facilities need refurbishment (no capital here from Bromley). If the land was used for housing the One o' Clock club would be located in a new community building containing cafe and toilets elsewhere within the park.

The current (disused?) Ranger's Yard, which looks like an ugly petrol station located further down Crystal Palace Park Road, would be replaced by housing and the Ranger's Yard would be built on the site of the disused lodge next to Sydenham Gate with storage facilities built into the hillside behind. The current building would be dismantled and re-used on the new site (and properly landscaped - we must insist as part of this deal - likewise any new housing)

As far as I can see there would be benefits all round in these proposals - especially money for the park (which we were assured would be ring-fenced for park improvements).

So, imho, that just leaves Rockhills (Caravan Club site) really up for discussion. Why are rentamob/gob so frightened about letting local residents have an opportunity to discuss these plans in detail in a reasonable fashion?

It seems to me that maybe a small amount of housing on the perimeter edge of the park on the Rockhills site would have three benefits - a large area of parkland returned to the park, a much improved area roadside at the top of Crystal Palace Park Road (has anyone walked up there recently?) and a new entrance for park users on the Rockhills corner for the benefit of all residents living at the top of the hill. The present entrance by the disused toilets (note, that is 3 times I have used the word "disused" about structures within this park - and that says something to me about the state of the park) by the junction of CP Pk Rd and Westwood Hill is not a park user friendly entrance and, if kept open, would also need considerable improvement.

In fact, I am beginning to come round to thinking a small amount of housing on the perimeter may not be such a bad ideaafter all, if funding from other sources is not available. :?
Muddy Waters
Posts: 137
Joined: 2 Oct 2004 17:05

Post by Muddy Waters »

It's a beautiful day - so what am I doing posting on the Forum site, you may well ask?

I have been sitting in the sun and contemplating "disused" structures within the park and wanted to share my thoughts with you avid STF posters and readers.

Apart from the three I mentioned in the last posting ie, Rangers yard, the park lodge and the toilets at the CP PK Rd/ Westwd Hill junction what about the:

1. Farm - now due to be re-opened with funding from the LDA
2. Subway - LDA looking at how this can be renovated as possibly part of a heritage/interpretation centre with cafe/toilets and (possibly) a viewing tower
3. Turnstiles - two currently being demolished c/o £250k from LDA
4. Terraces - LDA talking to English Heritage about funding to restore these
5. Broken down and redundant fencing - LDA says these will be removed - who will pay - the LDA.

Other infrastructure the LDA want to improve are the paths throughout the park and fences around the dinosaur lake - oh, and the intention is to build a new cafe/toilet/dinosaur interpretation centre and boat house and RESTORE BOATING to the lake

If local residents cannot see the LDA Cavalry which has ridden over the hill to save us from Bromley Council they need to go to the opticians!
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