THE DIALOGUE PROCESS
What is the Dialogue?
The Crystal Palace Dialogue is an independently facilitated process, set up to resolve conflicts about Crystal Palace Park. The dialogue brings together a wide range of groups with the aim of reaching a consensus on future policy for the park, including the hilltop area, historic features and the sports centre.
Although a preliminary meeting was held in the summer of 2002, the process has been fully funded since February 2003. Resources were initially provided by a number of London Boroughs and amenity societies, and from the Bromley Single Regeneration Budget. However, from now onwards, process funding will come from the London Development Agency. This reflects the emerging role of the Greater London Authority which, through the LDA, expects to take on ownership of the sports centre, and probably the park itself, in the near future. The LDA has made X clear that the dialogue process will be its primary forum for engaging with the full range of stakeholders on park and sports centre issues.
How Does it Work?
The dialogue group currently comprises over two hundred organisations and individuals. Meetings are held two or three times per annum and are usually attended by 50 - 100 people. However, most of the detailed work is carried out by smaller (but still representative) Working Groups. There are currently two of these, one focusing on sports and the second on all other park matters. They meet monthly and report back to the larger, open meetings. Their function is to explore issues in detail and to draft recommendations for consideration
by the wider stakeholder group - but not to take decisions on their behalf. The Working Groups also draw on additional expert advice when appropriate.
The facilitator's role is to design the process and manage the meetings in a transparent and balanced way, in order to generate solutions that are acceptable to all interest groups. Meetings can be volatile and feelings about the park can run very strongly at times. However, there has been a real sense of progress in recent months and we continue to aim for a realistic consensus through mutual exploration and negotiation.
What is it Doing?
The dialogue began by exploring both the differences and the common ground between the various stakeholder groups. Possible ideas for the hilltop and sports centre were examined and a provisional set of criteria agreed for assessing any proposals.
In March 2004, a set of draft principles to guide the future development of the park was discussed by the full dialogue group. Agreement was reached on a large number of these for example, that there should be no private space created on the hilltop area - and the resultant Agreements Package" is now being sent to all the relevant local authorities in order to create a clearer framework to guide future decisions.
The Working Groups are now developing draft options for major aspects of the park and these will be presented to the full stakeholder group in July. If these are adopted, they will form the basis for a major public consultation event in September 2004. The dialogue will continue after that, probably until early 2005 and further consultation stages are possible.
Please note that, whatever you may have seen in the press or elsewhere, the dialogue group has adopted no proposals so far, nor even recommended any as front runners.
Who Takes Part?
The dialogue group includes representation from:
England Tenants and
residents associations Greater London
societies London Development
Agenc London Boroughs of
Bromley, Local traders The office of Tessa
Jowell, MP Campaigning
Heritage Govemment Office of
residents and others
Lambeth and Croydon
(Most of these are also represented on the Working Groups.)
Local community groups
Tenants and residents associations
Greater London Authority
London Development Agenc
London Boroughs of
The office of Tessa Jowell, MP
Govemment Office of London
Individual residents and others
The stakeholder list for full meetings remains open and if you know of a group that should be invited, please contact the facilitator.
How Can I Get Involved?
The public consultation in September will be widely publicised and your contribution would be welcome. In the meantime, if you wish to receive an invitation to the next full meeting on 10th July, please send your contact details to the facilitator.
Nigel Westaway & Associates
74 Thurlow Hill
London SE21 8NJ
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21/6/04/04 Last Updated 21/6/04