(P.123) Mayor vows to push for Palace centre funding

- Croydon Advertiser, 12 September 2003

LONDON'S Mayor Ken Livingstone is promising to apply pressure to secure the future of the National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace.

During a visit to the centre last Thursday he said the athletics and swimming complex did have a role to play in a successful 2012 Olympic bid and as an important regional and local facility. But fulfilling that role will depend on a massive cash injection to get the centre up to a quality standard.

The key problem is finding a financial sponsor.

Sport England's lease on the centre runs out in March next year and it is surrendering it to Bromley Council, saying it can no longer be the sole provider of funds for Crystal Palace [sports centre], which it describes as an "essentially community-based facility".

Bromley, which made an unsuccessful £40m lottery bid for refurbishing the centre five years ago, is unwilling to inherit the costs.


Mr Livingstone, now the centre's most enthusiastic supporter, wants to persuade people to come round to his way of thinking.

He said last Thursday he saw the centre in the future providing southeast London with a great sporting venue. In addition to athletics facilities, Mr Livingstone suggested its reputation could be enhanced by having a football or rugby club based there.

It would also benefit from moves to bring the East London tube line to Crystal Palace and a possible extension of Tramlink.

He said: 'With the tube and Tramlink coming it would be madness not to keep it going. Half of London would be able to get here very quickly."

Combined funding through the Greater London Authority, London councils and Sport England would be one way of meeting the bill, he added.

Mr Livingstone made it plain: "I've got to bang a lot of heads together to make sure it happens."

But John Payne, chairman of the Crystal Palace Community Association, said people living in the area would be concerned about the prospects of a football or rugby club moving into the centre.

Top of page; Return to publications index;

14/9/03 Last updated 14/9/03

Ed. Note:
The Crystal Palace Community Association (also know as the CPCA and formerly the CPTCA) should not be confused with the Crystal Palace Campaign - they are entirely different organisations. The Crystal Palace Campaign led the successful fight to stop the multiplex planned for the top site of the park. It promoted the stakeholders dialogue process which is ongoing and which recognises the fate of the Sports Centre as key to what happens in the park. Interest has been, of course, heightened since the government announced its intention to bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. In conversations [this Ed. has had] with athletes who use the stadium facility, they see it as an important training ground not only for the local area but for athletes who come from a very wide catchment area. They expressed great concern at the prospect of its loss. Ken Livingstone's enthusiastic support is to be welcomed.