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Green Party calls on Boris to ‘come clean about Crystal Palace’

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London Assembly member Darren Johnson has called on the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to explain his ‘vision’ for the proposed overhaul of Crystal Palace

The Green Assembly member has urged Boris Johnson to publish the briefs given to the two different teams looking at future options for Crystal Palace sports centre and the surrounding area.

Both Architecture 00 and GT Architects have been commissioned by the Greater London Authority to work up separate schemes for the area. Architecture 00 has been asked to draw up a regeneration plan for the surrounding area of Anerley, Penge and Upper Norwood, while GT Architecture is working on the existing National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace park.

A period of public consultation on GT Architecture’s proposed options for the sports centre ended yesterday (16 November).

The plan for the National Sports Centre is to reinstate the Paxton Axis and remove the bridge link and other buildings to the front of the main building.

But Darren Johnson has raised concern that the project has ‘no coherent vision’.

He said: ‘[Boris Johnson] should publish the briefs he is giving to consultants to reshape the area, and come clean about how plans to demolish the athletics facilities, build a major commercial development on the park’s hill top, and regenerate the area relate to one another.’

The Green Party member has urged the Mayor to reconsider his approach to Crystal Palace after fierce opposition from local residents.

He added: ‘I’ve heard from countless angry residents who feel that the Mayor is imposing one flawed grand project after another on them, with no coherent vision for Crystal Palace Park or the wider area.’

An international competition for a £500million plan to recreate the original Joseph Paxton-designed Crystal Palace – destroyed by fire in 1936 – as a new cultural destination is ongoing. The competition backed by Chinese ZhongRong Group has been stalled for months while negotiations continue with the local council over a proposed land deal. The developer’s exclusive rights over the site end in February 2015.

A winner, chosen from a shortlist including David Chipperfield, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and Zaha Hadid Architects, was due to be chosen in the summer, but a decision is still yet to be made.

Green Party London Assembly Member Darren Johnson’s questions to the Mayor

  • Constituents have told me that they feel under siege from a number of disjointed proposals you are leading in the Crystal Palace area, including: the plans from the ZhongRong Group to build a large commercial development on the park hill top, your plans to demolish the athletics facilities and build a free school in the middle of the park, the study you commissioned to look at regeneration opportunities in some areas adjacent to the park, your proposal that the wider area be designated a Strategic Outer London Development Centre in the Further Alterations to the London Plan, the short-term improvements to the park that you are part-funding following the collapse of the Heritage Lottery Fund bid, and TfL’s possible long-term aspiration to extend the Tramlink to the area. Beyond a superficial level, these plans do not appear to be joined up, local stakeholders are not being involved at an early stage to develop a coherent vision for the park and wider area, and important information such as the options appraisal for the National Sports Centre has been withheld. Will you take these comments on board and review your approach?
  • Will you extend the consultation and dialogue on the future of the National Sports Stadium to February, as requested by Bromley Council? This would enable the options to be considered when there is also clarity about the proposals from the ZhongRong Group to build on the hill top in the park.
  • Will you publish the briefs given to CSM and Architecture 00 to make the process more transparent and help constituents understand the work being undertaken?
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