Opponents of plans to build homes on the edge of Crystal Palace are a little upset by yesterday’s Evening Standard story that Boris Johnson has “has given his backing” to the scheme.
It seems the London Development Agency is seeking permission to build private homes (none affordable) on the current caravan park and use the proceeds for an unprecedented wave of investment in park facilities and refurbishment.
First it’s probably important to say Johnson hasn’t given the go-ahead although he has indicated the scheme “is acceptable in principle” but has also issued clear warnings on the need to draw up “robust” agreements to ensure the scheme delivers the promised improvements for park users.
There’s a long way to go before a final planning decision is made and a scheme of this size has to be less certain in the current financial climate.
All that said, I’m not really sure I understand the objections at play here. Crystal Palace park is a decrepid shadow of its former self. The National Sports Centre is in pretty bad shape and the decaying remains of the Italian Terraces are an embarrassing tribute to years of under investment and neglect.
This project promises to radically transform the park, boosting its appeal and creating a lasting legacy for future generations.
Hopefully we all agree on the importance of park space being protected, but when the only truly great part of the park are some (rightfully) treasured but wildly inaccurate dinosaur sculptures it just doesn’t make sense to forgo millions of pounds of improvements just for the sake of protecting a relatively small area .