National newspapers and politicians last weekend raised grave doubts over the future of the planned Crystal Palace Park multiplex following the intervention by the Brussels European Commission, first disclosed last week.

The Daily Telegraph on November 4 quoted planning experts believing that Bromley's planning consent will have to be withdrawn. The Financial Times November 3 reported that the EC "will seek to overturn" the development and suggested the move by Brussels "could have implications for planning and development across the country".

Ms Tessa Jowell, MP for Dulwich and W Norwood, issued a statement welcoming the EC intervention and criticising Bromley and developer London & Regional Properties saying "It is time for them to stop trying to push through a scheme nobody wants."

The reactions followed the decision by the full session of European Commissioners, including the two appointed by Britain, to send a formal notice to the UK government over Bromley's failure to comply with the European Council Directive requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) prior to grant of planning permission. Bromley had relied on a 1998 consultant's report saying there was no need for an EIA for the giant multiplex -- but the European Commission states "there appeared to be considerable flaws" in the report by Blandford Associates. The Euro Directive in question had been passed into UK law by Mrs Thatcher's government.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone promptly wrote to the European Commission urging them to assist him in his efforts to halt the multiplex, and issued a statement saying that the EC's action "has not come a moment too soon". He said Crystal Palace exemplified the need not to allow single boroughs to concrete over major parks with commercial developments.

Darren Johnson (GLA Green), who is tasked with the environment in the mayor's advisory cabinet, expressing delight with the EC decision, stated that local people "know that the impact on the local environment will be horrendous: the loss of hundreds of trees and open space and the vast increase in traffic..."

In similar vein Jean Lambert MEP (Green) called on John Prescott's Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions to stop multiplex work beginning. Her statement said the current severe weather showed that "we need to question very carefully any developments likely to produce more traffic which causes global warming".

According to national newspapers, the Brussels move took the government by surprise.

Press Officer: Fred Emery 020 8761 0076 Mobile: 0794 117 2023 All correspondence to: Hon Secretary, 33 HogarthCourt, Fountain Drive, London SE19 1UY Recorded Information: 020 8653 5995 E-mail: fred@syre.demon.co.uk Website: www.crystal.dircon.co.uk

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6/11/00 Last updated 6/11/00