Councils united against housing on Crystal Palace  Park  22 September 2008

On 18 September Croydon’s planning committee considered application to Bromley Council by the London Development Agency for Crystal Palace Park. It is usual for boroughs to consider adjoining major development proposals and Southwark, Lambeth and Lewisham raised concerns over the sale of parkland for housing, recognising the precedent this would set for parks in their boroughs.

In just two minutes a Croydon Council officer recommended approval of the 11,000 page, £62.5 million LDA Park Masterplan, the largest ever received by Bromley. Only after protests from the public gallery did the officer reveal that the application included the sale of public parkland for blocks of 180 private luxury flats.

Quoting the CPCA, Cllr Buttinger asked for confirmation that it is “the intention to sell areas of protected public parkland to residential development”, to which the officer presenting the Masterplan proposal said: “Yes”.

CPCA Chairman John Payne, reminded the committee that the main Articles from the Convention of Human Rights are enforceable under national law in the United Kingdom and that it is possible to bring proceedings against a public authority for acting incompatibly with such right should someone have been affected or is at risk of being directly affected by something done by a public authority. This was demonstrated when a local resident made successful application to the European Court of Human Rights, concerning the earlier Crystal Palace Park multiplex application, approved by Bromley Council.

Mr Payne reminded the Council of the blanket opposition to housing in Crystal Palace Park.

Members unanimously objected to proposals for housing but welcomed possible improvements to the Park. Cllr Scott said: “the housing is the only really contentious part of the scheme”. Cllr Filbey said: “Housing is not the solution to fund the Park… Building on Metropolitan Open Land is not the answer. No No”.

Cllr Perry said that he agreed with council officers recommendation that there should be ‘no objection in principle’ but that there was probably a consensus on the Committee against the housing. He said that Croydon’s report to Bromley should reflect this and a paragraph should be added stating that, “it is not appropriate that parkland is being sold for housing”.

Open Space and Green Belt Assurances

Cllr Perry gave assurance that “Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land is safe in Croydon”.

Cllr Scott said: “the important issue now is to see open space maintained”.

Cllr Khan said: “the MOL is the people’s inheritance”.

The Committee accepted their officer’s recommendation that no objection to the application be raised in principle, with the proviso that a number of conditions be added including the inappropriateness of selling parkland for housing.

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