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Date: Fri, 18 May 2001 01:05:44 +0100 (BST)
From: "Jo Makepeace" (
Subject: SchNEWS 305, Friday 18th May, 2001

Crystal Palace Park spared


South London residents received a breath of fresh air this week, with news that Crystal Palace Park may be spared the 56 million cinema multiplex development that was planned for it. Left looking like twats, then, are Bromley council, who two years ago waded in to evict the protest camp there at great expense (see SchNEWS 203). It seems the council have fallen out with their firm of developers, London and Regional Properties (L&R), who they say 'have failed to complete the Lease within the prescribed period.' Since 1997, residents and activists have fought a bitter battle against the council's modest proposal. As councillor John Lewis, a keen supporter of the development, observed: "People don't want change and will find any excuse to hinder progress." Apparently people found that taking back the park to resist the development was more exciting and interactive than anything offered by the proposed, soulless wasteland of leisure.

In tandem with numerous legal actions, that campaign of direct action seems to have played a crucial part in the council's downfall, by holding up work in the park for a whole year during a critical period. Still, people at the Crystal Palace Campaign are remaining vigilant, as planning permission for the development lasts until March 2002. And ominously, the council is trying to remove Metropolitan Open Land (akin to Green Belt) status from the site - leaving it unprotected from further development plans. For the moment, as local people celebrate, the frustrated city-planners turn on each other. Bromley are considering legal action against L&R, probably to try and recover some of the money they've thrown down the drain over the last few years. In the meantime, this patch of green space continues to be enclosed by 24-hour guard, though residents are hopeful that the fences will come down in a couple of weeks.


from SchNEWS 306, Friday 25th May, 2001

Celebrate the recent victory against the multiplex at Crystal Palace this Saturday (26th May) -
2-10pm, at the top of Crystal Palace Park, bring picnics and musical instruments

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