A pioneering survey of local residents' views reports overwhelming majorities favouring green and sensitive regeneration of Crystal Palace Park. Perhaps the most significant figure of all was the 69%-16% majority against any commercial leisure development of the ridge top site, where the Palace was once located.

The survey, the first serious consultation ever conducted among residents in the five boroughs adjoining the historic park in south London, was undertaken by the Crystal Palace Campaign following Bromley Council's abandonment last May of a hugely opposed 20-screen multiplex on the top site. The survey results are published today with a full report and analysis.

The survey questionnaire, entitled "Consultation Starts Here", asked people to mark their preferences in four distinct areas of the Park. For the top site, the highest ridge in south London with sweeping views over the capital and into Kent and Surrey, the most striking majority (82%) favoured an ecology park or managed parkland. Asked their views on any new building on the top site people were almost equally split with a narrow majority (45%-42%) opposed to any building whatever, while those in favour came up with many interesting small scale alternatives.

For the main area of the Park, where Bromley have been engaged in piecemeal "restoration", with much tree felling and new planting, again overwhelming majorities (85% and 73%) came out for managed parkland or ecology. But new community or cultural buildings in the main park were opposed by smaller majorities (40%-33%) and (45%-24%). Sizable majorities favoured more events (72%-12%) outdoor arts (60%-17.5%) and more sports facilities (48%-26%).

For the Park sector currently housing the old museum, large majorities favoured new cultural (62%-16.5%) and community (63%-14%) buildings.

In all the above three areas strong majorities favoured emphasis on the Park's 150-year history, predictably highest in the museum area (75%-7%).

For the rundown National Sports Centre, which Sport England, as Bromley's tenant, proposes refurbishing, the survey recorded a huge majority wanting renewal (81%-5%), although only a narrow 42%-38% majority favoured commercial leisure operations in the sports centre.

Analysis of the results by postcodes showed no variations, either within or between the boroughs.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone in his foreword to the Report commended the Crystal Palace Campaign for consulting the local community and stated that the report was an important contribution to the debate on the Park’s future. He added:

“ The quality of the Park in recent years has not been of a standard fit for a regional park, or for the communities surrounding it. Improvements are needed, but not developments of a scale best suited to an urban town centre.”

CPC Chairman Philip Kolvin stated:

"This survey clearly demonstrates that the Park is seen by the community in general, and park users in particular, as a green asset of historic importance. While that does not necessarily preclude all built development, the people have spoken: a commercial/ leisure development is neither wanted nor needed here. The responses are an essential starting point for creating a viable and sustainable way to regenerate this Park for the public good. We hope that the consultation process will be taken forward by the cross-borough charitable trust which we have proposed, and are working to establish, for the Park."

Note for Editors:
The full Report, with collated results, is being published on our website as soon as possible. If you would like a printed copy, please e-mail the address at the bottom of this press release.

As a first stage in consultation, CPC’s volunteers distributed 40,000 questionnaires to residents living close to the Park in the London boroughs of Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham, and Southwark, as well as in Bromley in which the Park is situated. The survey was also taken into schools around the Park. The return of over 2,300 completed questionnaires, 5.1% of the total, exceeded professional pollsters' predictions of 2%. Results percentages are of those expressing an opinion. As the Report makes clear, the CPC is satisfied that the results, in which household responses were correlated with a survey in the Park, are representative of all Park users, and that the methodology and conclusions are statistically valid.

The Report is being presented on March 26 2002 to Rt Hon Tessa Jowell, MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. A photograph will be available for e-mailing.

The Report is available for inspection at the following libraries: Anerley, Beckenham, Forest Hill, Penge, Sydenham & Upper Norwood. Later it is expected it will be accessible at main reference libraries.


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

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25/03/02 Last updated 25/03/02