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Twentieth Century Society in fight to save nation's sporting heritage

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The Twentieth Century Society has launched a campaign to save the Grade II*-listed National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace after discovering plans to demolish it.

The lobby group claims that Bromley council and the London Development Authority are drawing up plans to knock down the building, which was designed by a Leslie Martin-led team of London County Council architects in 1964.

Caseworker Cordula Zeidler said she was horrified to have discovered the fate of the swimming pool because it is 'a completely original building that has absolutely fantastic interiors'.

Zeidler said the society had discovered that the council and the LDA are currently drawing up proposals for a smaller community leisure centre because the building's maintenance costs are too high. 'Our members have agreed that we must campaign to save the building because it is so important, ' she said. 'We will be talking to local groups and discussing how to persuade the council to abandon its plans.'

Bromley council's head of heritage, Peter Martin, admitted that there are plans afoot that would require the building's demolition. 'It will be subject to some kind of redevelopment in the not too distant future, ' he said. 'One of the serious options to ensure long-term future sporting activity on the site is the demolition of the building. There are many people that consider it too expensive and unsustainable to be retained.

'However, we have always said to them that it is Grade II*-listed and they will have to prove that they cannot look after it anymore, ' he added. 'But there are no local groups, that we have consulted, that are keen to keep it.'

The LDA, however, insisted there was little to worry about. 'We have helped ensure that the National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace stays open in the short term, ' a spokesman said.

'We are consulting with a wide range of stakeholders over the nature of sports provision in the area over the longer term, ' he added. 'No conclusions over the NSC's future have been reached at this stage.'

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