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Kate Nelson, Senior Reporter
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
A battle over the future of Crystal Palace Park is due to be thrashed out at the High Court this week.
The Crystal Palace Community Association is challenging a decision by Local Government Minister Eric Pickles to allow the sale of public land in Anerley Hill to build 180 luxury flats as part of a £67.5m plan.
The association says the plans, first agreed by Bromley Council in 2008, could set a precedent and threaten publicly-owned green spaces across the country.
Chairman John Payne said: “This is Grade II* listed land which is amongst the most protected in Britain. It is the same grade as Buckingham Palace Gardens.
“The Queen wouldn’t take kindly to building in her garden would she?”
The court case is the latest development in a long-running planning saga which involved a call-in by the then Secretary of State Hazel Blears and a five-week public inquiry in 2009.
A final decision was made by Mr Pickles in July 2010 to grant planning permission for the controversial development, which 8,000 people signed a petition against.
The planning permission for the luxury flats, which will give panoramic views of the capital, lasts for 15 years although no investors have been found yet.
Mr Payne said he was confident the association would succeed, adding: “We have a top QC who is acting pro bono.
“He would hardly be doing that if he thought we would lose.”
The original application was submitted by the London Development Agency, which will become defunct on April 1, but the planning permission would still be valid.
A Communities and Local Government spokes man said the department could not comment on an ongoing case.
Members of the public can attend the hearing at the High Court in The Strand on Wednesday.