Bromley Council, reacting to Sport England’s withdrawal [May 19] of £32m Lottery funding for their £40m scheme to redevelop the National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace, yesterday said the decision was disappointing and frustrating and a particular blow to the local community. Brian Turpin, Bromley Council spokesman appearing on BBC TV Newsroom Southeast, did not however explain why Bromley wanted no part in Sport England’s new proposal for a more cost effective and community-linked upgrading of the swimming and athletics facilities.

The Crystal Palace Campaign, while welcoming Sport England’s proposals, declares that Bromley Council’s plans for the whole of this historic park are now a shambles. Bromley have always maintained that all their schemes are interlinked and that none could be truly successful without the other.

In short order, the loss of funding for the sports centre follows Bromley’s failure to obtain the bulk of Heritage Lottery funding for their refurbishment of Crystal Palace Park. All that is left is their proposed cinema multiplex on top of the park which is opposed by Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and his Environment Secretary, Darren Johnson, as well as tens of thousands of local residents.

Ken Lewington, CPC Vice-Chairman said:

“It is beyond belief that in 1996 the government could have considered offering £14.1 m in Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) funding which was predicated on the success of Bromley’s bids to the Sports Council and Heritage Lottery Fund and the multiplex development on the Palace site, which remains on hold. All these schemes are now in tatters. It is odd that Bromley suddenly express concern for the blow to the local community when they have consistently ridden roughshod over all local opinion. We now call for an urgent public inquiry into this fiasco”.

Sport England sources said that Bromley had rejected their invitation to join in the discussions with sports bodies to firm up the new proposals. At a crisis meeting last Thursday evening [May 18] Bromley effectively “walked away” from the project, saying that it was now solely up to Sport England.

Bromley’s loss of £32.m Lottery Sports funding out of the total £40m needed, means the collapse of their scheme described as “too ambitious and expensive” by Des Wilson, chairman of the Sport England Lottery Panel. It is understood that even before developments at Picketts Lock and Wembley, Sport England considered Bromley’s proposals as “not value for money”.

[Note to Eds: Last year Bromley lost £26m of their £28m bid for Heritage Lottery Funding for a controversial re-landscaping of the Park. .]

The latest development in the long battle to stop the multiplex is a call to the developer by Tessa Jowell, Minister for Employment, and many other elected representatives, to attend an urgent meeting at the House of Commons in the new situation following the London elections.

Acting Press Officer: Fred Emery 020 8761 0076 Mobile: 0794 117 2023
Correspondence to: Hon Secretary, 33 HogarthCourt, Fountain Drive,
London SE19 1UY Telephone/fax: 020 8670 8486 Website: www.crystal.dircon.co.uk

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21 May 2000 Last updated 21 May 2000