THE MASTER PLAN - Questions and Answers

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1 - What is the Master Plan?
The Master Plan is a comprehensive plan for the regeneration of Crystal Palace Park. It is based on a vision for the park developed by the Master Planners following a long design period and with a great deal of consultation with local people.
2 - Why does anything need doing in the park?

Anyone walking through the park can plainly see for themselves that it is in much need of attention. The Italianate terraces are positively dangerous; the sphynxes are dilapidated and have graffiti on them. The old statue plinths stand as sad monuments to the art work they once supported. There are wilder areas (on the hilltop) which are dangerous to walk through and attract fly-tipping. The subway from the ex-high level railway platform into the old Crystal Palace is in bad need of repair. There is too much concrete, too many fenced-off areas, inadequate toilets, a small disused fountain basin surrounded by a fence and containing rubbish..... evidence everywhere of a lack of investment in the park in cash, time and care.

A large majority of people attending the public exhibitions (marquees-in-the-park and other events) wanted more than just the basic make-over. The Master Plan reflects this aspiration and allows for three levels of work namely Basic, Regional and National.

3 - Why does the Master Plan include housing?

The Master Plan includes a provision for up to 180 housing units. They will occupy land at the Rockhills corner of the park with some infill units along the north boundary (Crystal Palace Park Road) and will cover about 1.5 acres of land. This is land which has never been accessible to park users. In fact, the accessible park area will increase by about 4.5 acres if plans for the Rockhills corner are fully realised. For comparison, the total park area is about 200 acres.

Importantly, the housing will make a net contribution to park refurbishment of about £13.5 million. Another significant consideration is that the increased activity in that area will help provide security to the new entrance and the buildings will include some general amenities. The fact that housing is part of the Master Plan could also help attract matched funding to contribute to the overall costs.

For all that, the housing has been a contentious issue for some people and, indeed, the LDA have said that, if they can find funding in another way, they will. There is no reason to disbelieve what they say. The situation has not been helped by a lot of misinformation put about suggesting that large areas of the park will be covered with houses - this is plainly not so. If the Master Plan were approved tomorrow in its entirety, the housing could only be built as described in the application, no bigger area or greater number of units can be built. Also, the final planning permission (this is only an Outline Planning Permission application) has to go through a detailed design phase where the quality and exact look of the housing will come under great scrutiny.

Finally, it should also be borne in mind that Britain is severely short of housing. It would be a bit churlish of us not to play a small part in alleviating this crisis especially since it hardly infringes at all on what we want.

4 - How much will the Master Plan cost and who's paying?

The total cost of implementing the Master Plan is £67.5 million. This is broken into three phases - Basic Park Improvements £41.8 million; Regional Park + £16.8 million; National/International Destination + £8.9 million. Total cost £67.5 million. For a detailed breakdown see the COST PLAN link on the Master Plan page.

Who's paying is a much more difficult question to answer. The Park Working Group is currently investigating a variety of possible funding sources however nothing can properly be progressed until Outline Planning approval has been granted - there will be much more activity in this area.

5 - What's the time scale?
Subject to planning permission and available funding the plan will be delivered over the next 15 - 20 years. It will be much sooner that the effects of change will begin to be seen even if it is in small ways to start with.
6 - What happens in the mean time?
Some funds are available for small items like the refurbishment around the entrance to the park from Crystal Palace Station. If outline planing permission is granted, then the detailed design phase can begin. Also, a start will have to be made on thinking about the replacement for the National Sports Centre (not costed as part of the Master Plan). Discussions have begun on possible management models for the park. The Crystal Palace Campaign set one of its aims to find a way the community could continue to have a say in the running of the Park - there is a way to go yet.
7 - Won't the finished Master Plan create a lot of traffic and congestion?
The simple answer is no. There are no commercial buildings, conference centres or cinemas, which will continually attract large numbers of cars. This has arisen partly because in all the public consultations which have taken place in recent years - including that done by the Crystal Palace Campaign - the large majority view was that there should be no large-scale commercial development in the park. Modern urban design has tended to try and limit the encouragement of car journeys while accomodating those groups for which it is essential, so parking in the park itself will be limited and confined to the periphery. There will, however, be provision made for some areas to be used for parking for special events - the park has been able to hold large events from time to time - but this is not a day-to-day facility.
8 - Will there be much disruption while the work's being done?
Since the work is phased over a fairly long period, disruption caused by construction works will be minimal. Further, careful thought has gone into, for example, how soil can be moved and used inside the park, rather than outside, for the National Sports Centre preservation concept.
9 - Will it change the character of the park?
The answer is definitely yes! That is, if it is meant that the park will be improved from its current miserable state. The work will allow the real character of the park to be revealed and the many imporovements should generate a great deal of pride in our park and our locality.
10 - What is the planning process?
More details about the planning process - a simple block diagram of the information flow and a link to the government's "Planning Portal" - can be found on a separate page link to planning portal

Return to the Master Plan page.

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16/3/2008 Last update 16/3/2008;22/6/08(format)