Our response to the NSC consultation

We have sent in our response to the latest bungled consultation on the latest ill-conceived plans for Crystal Palace Park, part of a number of disjointed projects that the GLA is pushing in our local area.

When the proposals were first published for consultation, many people thought “great! They’re going to get rid of that walkway” or “finally! More school places”. But as we all studied the maps and read between the lines, and were denied access to much of the information the GLA used to arrive at their ideas, and as the athletes and other sporty types who actually use the NSC and its facilities got stuck in, the folly of these plans became clear.

Because our response was on behalf of all Green Party members in the area, we didn’t respond on some of the more subjective issues like whether or not to demolish the raised walkway.

Instead, our consultation response makes some important points about the process:

  • the consultation is much too short, and doesn’t give people enough information to really understand why, for example, the GLA thinks the athletics facilities should be downgraded to little more than a running track, if that. Darren Johnson, a Green Party Member of the London Assembly, raised that early on in his letter to the Mayor;
  • the GLA has – again – dropped a bomb on the local area before engaging with the local groups that could have helped them develop much more workable plans – for example, the community stakeholder and heritage groups for the park;
  • the proposals differ from the adopted masterplan, which was the result of years of consultation and dialogue to come up with plans that most people could support
  • while we definitely need new school places in the area, the middle of the park is a daft and inappropriate place to put one
  • details like a new road from Crystal Palace Park Road will further cut the park up
  • the sports facilities are well used, their methodology for assessing its use was fatally flawed, and the GLA needs to work with the Crystal Palace Sports Partnership to ensure the Olympic Legacy in London isn’t trashed
  • these proposals are one of a number of disjointed, incoherent plans for the park and they need to – as their consultants say – join the dots!

You can read our full letter here.

There is a better way

Boris Johnson and the GLA love a big, grand project that they can dump on a local community with bold and exciting promises like “a new Crystal Palace!” Jolly old Boris claimed these proposals for the National Sports Centre would be “an exciting opportunity to reclaim one of London’s greatest sporting assets to benefit the local community and beyond”.

Well here’s a radical idea: why not let the local community (and the sports community) decide what we want?

Stop developing these projects in secret, witholding details of briefs given to consultants or their reports, and then being surprised when there is uproar about inadequate consultations.

Instead, get behind the proposals for a Neighbourhood Forum for Crystal Palace, and work with the many constructive and positive people in the local area to develop and implement a coherent vision for the NSC, the park, and the wider area. If you bring everything in the park together with brilliant people like the Overground Festival team, we can develop a sustainable business plan for the whole park.

Get your response in

The consultation is open until the 16th November, so get onto the web site and respond if you haven’t already.

You can download our full letter here for inspiration.

Also, if you haven’t already, sign the sports partnership’s petition!

Photo credit: the ever-wonderful James Balston.