(N25)CAPEL MANOR (from the Campaign July 2007 Bulletin)

In the June Campaign bulletin, I mentioned Capel Manor and the good news concerning their planning permission to utilise the old farm buildings.  I regret that there have been some developments which I can only describe as shocking. A short summary of the story might be worthwhile: They currently use a room in the Jubilee stand of the athletics track for teaching purposes. They have been advertising recently (full page in, at least, the Bromley Times and South London Press) for students for their offered courses which would help to finance the college and, particularly, the farm.  The LDA have agreed to subsidise the farm for the next two years (under strict conditions that the farm will be open most of the time). However, the long term future requires other means of funding.

Someone or some people have lodged a complaint about Capel Manor's request to Bromley to be able to use two more rooms for teaching purposes while the work on the farm and farm buildings is being completed. This does not constitute a huge invasion of the stand since the students do field work for a lot of their study time. It constitutes a practically invisible increase of their use of the Jubilee stand facilities and, considering the farm work, an entirely understandable way of increasing their student base for financing the farm. The so-called 'change of use' complaint that these additional rooms might bring about seems, to most people I've talked to, an outrageously petty act, perpetrated by some mean-minded individuals for no purpose other than to attack the park improvements no matter what they are.

I received the following note from Madeline Hall of Capel Manor College:

"...Without local teaching accommodation we cannot afford to re-open or run the farm. We are starting up the quest for further planning permission (again).  As a safety net though, we need urgently to find a plan B to reassure ourselves, staff, students and their parents, that we  truly will be in business at Crystal Palace Park from September 2007.  We are exploring all options. We'd be grateful for any leads on potential teaching accommodation within walking distance of the farm available for hire..."

If you have such leads contact Madeline Hall directly at Madeline.Hall@capel.ac.uk .

Bromley Council are not permitted to reveal the name of the complainant (or complainants) but, as is their duty, they will consider the issues at a Plans Sub-Committee meeting on 19th July. I am told that a report should be available on Bromley Council's website about a week before the meeting.  Let us hope that Bromley take a sensible view of matters (it is by no means a clear cut case) and facilitate the continuance of Capel Manor College at Crystal Palace Park.

In the mean time it would be helpful to show your support of Capel Manor by writing to Bromley Council; or email Chris.Evans@bromley.gov.uk

eMail, 13 July 2007, from:
Madeline Hall
Head of College,
Capel Manor

This was sent by Madeline Hall to clarify, to the people who had writen to Bromley, the sequence of events and Capel Manor's plans so that there is no misunderstanding about their intentions:

Dear [supporter],

Thank you very much for your support for our plans to re-open the farm at Crystal Place. 

Chris Evans forwarded your email to me for information. He asked me to correct any misunderstanding about Capel's plans.  This has been a tortuous tale.  I hope it will be straightened out next week at the Planning Committee.

Briefly, the history is:

  • Summer 2006 - Capel Manor College application for planning permission for change of use (to educational use) of the farm and erection of three mobile classroom buildings.  Application refused in September 2006.
  • September 2006 &endash; two rooms (one classroom and one office) rented in the Jubilee Stand to accommodate horticulture theory classes.  Plot in the park identified for practical tuition.  Animal Care students offered places, and assistance with travel, at Enfield campus.  17 youngsters took up this option.
  • April 2007 &endash; application to reopen the farm, refurbishing existing buildings, to allow combination of public access and practical learning opportunities for Animal Care students.  Application granted.
  • April 2007 &endash; outline agreement with LDA for rental of additional two rooms in the Jubilee Stand for teaching. (Necessary because there will be no classrooms at the farm.)
  • April 2007 &endash; challenge from local resident about use of Jubilee Stand for educational purposes. 

Our proposed use of three classrooms and an office in the Jubilee Stand is therefore long-term &endash; or at least for as long as the Stand stands.

I hope that your support also still stands,

Best wishes,

Madeline Hall
Head of College

Bromley Council Plans Subcommittee No 3 - meeting 19 July 2007 - Verbal Report

Formal minutes likely to be on Bromley website following the next meeting (which needs to approve the minutes) scheduled for 12 July 2007.

The recommendations from the Chief Planner were approved and Capel Manor will be so informed in the next few days (to see details click on Bromley Report below). Look forward to the continued presence of this horticultural institute in the Park and especially look forward to the opening of the FARM; probably September - exact date not yet fixed.

Some details from the meeting:

  • it was considered that the "change of use" was not material and therefore did not require planning permission. Neither was further planning permission required for the horticultural plot.
  • With regard to the trees, evidently they were not of a size (i.e. too small) which was notable for planning permission - in any case, the College have said and agreed that they will be planting more trees as replacements.

top of page; to News Index; Bromley Report for 19th July Plans Sub Committee No 3 meeting: Good News

12/7/07 Last Updated 12/7/07; email added 14/7/07;20/7/07(meeting report)