Crystal Palace Monstrosity high on wannabe mayor's list

Opposition to Bromley's plans for a giant multiplex on top of Crystal Palace Park has been continually reiterated on the hustings and in broadcasts by London mayoral candidates as the election reaches its climax on Thursday.

In LBC's "Sunday Supplement with Brian Hayes", in particular, Frank Dobson (Labour) joined debate with Ken Livingstone (Independent), Steven Norris (Conservative) and deputy to Susan Kramer (Liberal Democrat) Sally Hamwee. The issue was whether Bromley and the developer London & Regional Properties might be balked if London's new mayor were to seek a change of law (with Prime Minister Blair's help) to recover strategic control over London's great parks. Candidates and listeners were reminded that it was only in 1986 that boroughs like Bromley got handed GLC parks like Crystal Palace when Mrs Thatcher's government abolished the GLC.

Ken Livingstone stated again that if Bromley's planning process had come before him as mayor he would have refused it outright. If elected he would appoint the Green party's Darren Johnson and "I will give him the task of looking into every aspect of that deal to see if there's a way we can stop it." He wanted the mayor "to take over the Royal Parks".

Frank Dobson, too, was in favour of the mayor and the London Assembly "taking over responsibility for the major parks" but not of the smaller ones.

Steven Norris agreed that control over parks was important, but criticised Bromley's approach over Crystal Palace, saying: "There were so many things wrong with the way the process of decision making happens in a site that has got five local authorities involved and one of them made a decision... If it can be unwound I know a lot of people would like it to be." Norris said that he knew many people would be angry if it went ahead.

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More comments from mayoral candidates see: Mayoral Candidates meeting 15 April 2000 - FULL TEXT

2 May 2000 Last updated 2 May 2000