(P129) London Borough of Bromley - News release, Tuesday 25 November 2003
DECISION TIME FOR NATIONAL SPORTS CENTRE
Bromley Council's Executive is meeting on Thursday 27 November to decide how it can encourage the Government to keep sport alive at Crystal Palace.
The Council has worked with a group of national and regional governmental bodies for the past nine months to come up with a rescue plan. A consensus on the best way forward has emerged. It is the replacement of the existing sports centre with a new multi-sport facility, with the stadium retaining its role for athletics events.
The funds required amount to £30 million of capital for a scheme that once complete would require no ongoing revenue subsidy. It has received unanimous support from the national stakeholders as the way forward because the centre currently requires an annual subsidy of over £2 million and is dilapidated and out of date.
Having agreed the vision, the capital funding needs to be put in place to avoid the centre having to close at the end of March next year.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone has indicated to the press that he thought Sport England would allocate £10 million to the centre and £1.5 million for the stadium. However, in a letter to Bromley, Sport England Chairman Patrick Carter said it could not offer Bromley any comfort in respect of funding for anything other than the stadium.
Ken Livingstone visited the centre recently and pledged his support to find a funding solution. As well as Sport England he mentioned funding from the London Development Agency and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Bromley is pleased to have national level partners trying to narrow the funding gap but still requires greater reassurance that pledges will be delivered. Similar schemes to save the centre in the past have not come to fruition because of changes to priorities.
Bromley Council's Executive Member for Leisure and Culture Councillor Neil Reddin said,
"Bromley is keen to keep sport alive at the Palace but will not be persuaded to support athletics alone without the future of other sports like basketball, swimming and weightlifting also being guaranteed.
"Crystal Place is a regional and national venue for sports events and sports activity. The history of its funding and the scale of the task involved means that its fate should not be down to Bromley alone."
Having heard Bromley's case the local Crystal Palace stakeholder forum, which includes all the local resident groups, has issued the following motion of support for the centre.
"The proposal put forward by Bromley and Sport England is very much in line with the preferences expressed by the Crystal Palace dialogue group at its meeting in July this year. This meeting endorsed the Working Group's recommendations that there should continue to be significant sports provision within the park, and that a modernised and relocated sports centre would be the best way to achieve this. With this in mind we would support any attempt to fund this way forward with support from national and regional agencies."
The meeting on Thursday 27 November 2003 is of the Council's Executive councillors and will take place at 7.30pm at the Civic Centre, Bromley. It is not open to the public as this agenda item includes restricted information. However, a statement will be made following the meeting.
For general information on Bromley Council visit www.bromley.gov.uk
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26/11/03 Last updated 26/11/03
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