(R.11) Letter To The Kentish Times - Public opinions disregarded
21st December, 1999
Please note the amendment to my letter, faxed to you at approx. 3.30 pm today.
End paragraph 2 should read: "In May 1997 at a meeting in Anerley Town Hall, when the multiplex proposals were first put forward, the Chairman did not allow any questions to be asked about the plans, statements only were permitted."
It was refreshing to see Councillor Gaster finally recognising the public concerns about the proposed multiplex-linked leisure centre on the top site of Crystal Palace Park, in his letter of 16th December. But contrary to Cllr. Gaster's dismissive claim the Crystal Palace Campaign is not negative. There is much we welcome, but we have stated on many occasions that although we are keen to see regeneration - we are not prepared to see it at any price.
The Park proposals have received little or no public consultation and the objections made at the planning meeting on 6th May, attended by some 700-800 people, went unanswered. The Park proposals were rushed through, twenty-five minutes before midnight. The Advisory Panel on Conservation Areas, APCA, had carried out an exhaustive site visit and wrote a long, balanced report on Bromley's Park proposals. It was not referred to. In May 1997 at a meeting in Anerley Town Hall, when the multiplex proposals were first put forward, the Chairman did not allow any questions to be asked about the plans, statements only were permitted.
What is the point of holding public meetings if the opinions and concerns of the public are disregarded? Cllr. Gaster seems to be ignoring his former leader's advice. At last year's Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton, Paddy Ashdown talked of his vision for society: "A powerful citizen living in a strong community supported by an enabling government".
Of course there is bafflement and concern when on the one hand Bromley are claiming to recreate the original flowing Paxton landscaping and on the other they are endeavouring to impose angular contemporary designs as already seen in the rusty steel concert platform. This will soon be joined by other inappropriate and discordant new Park buildings.
Your exhibition of the proposed plans for Crystal Palace Park needs to be widely advertised and the people who visit and make their views known, listened to.
Last updated 29/12/99