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Ritchie scheme wins long battle against protesters

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Ian Ritchie and Bromley Council have emerged victorious against the campaign to halt the proposed development of a 272m-long multiplex cinema at Crystal Palace (aj 17.7.1997).

Just before Christmas the Court of Appeal rejected claims by the protest lobby Crystal Palace Campaign that the council had acted outside the terms of the Crystal Palace Act 1990, relating to style, in granting outline planning permission. It ruled that although the new scheme had to reflect the architectural style of the old, this did not mean it had to resemble Paxton's building so long as it had some features in common.

Bromley's chief executive Michael Blanch said he always believed the campaign's challenge was misconceived and represented the views of a minority. He urged squatters on the development site to leave immediately and accept the 'independent, democratic decision'.

The campaign pointed to the fact that the court accepted that the council 'got its parking figures wrong' with a shortfall of 500 car spaces, and it is now considering a further appeal to the House of Lords. 'We have kept this development at bay for over 18 months and we have enough material to keep it at bay for a long time to come,' said campaign chairman Philip Kolvin. It has simultaneously submitted its own planning application for the site for a 'People's Park' based on a small-scale model of the original building, a statue and ecology park, an orangery and an educational interpretation centre.

Ian Ritchie has been made a Royal Academician.

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