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Threat to Crystal Palace’s historic athletics stadium

PUBLISHED: 16:58 05 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:04 06 February 2018

Dave Moorcroft chairing the GLA Athletic focus group at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. Picture:  Crystal Palace Sports Partnership

Dave Moorcroft chairing the GLA Athletic focus group at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. Picture: Crystal Palace Sports Partnership

Archant

A two hour focus group to plan the future of the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre (NSC), was recently held by former CEO of UK Athletics, Dave Moorcroft.

Since 2012 big track and field events, such as the Diamond League, have taken place at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, which has contributed to the iconic venue falling into disrepair.

The core of the latest consultation by the Greater London Authority (GLA), was to distill ‘realistic and affordable options’ for the NSC’s future, to create a ‘vision’ for the centre, and to identify its USP.

Topics covered throughout the evening included discussing current usage, assessing what athletic facilities are needed now and in the future, and ideas to build and sustain athletics usage.

Mr Moorcroft said: “Probably one of the most positive elements of it is that the GLA now own the site, and have a commitment that doing nothing isn’t an option.

“Clearly GLA have to have a plan for the whole site, and that includes the sports facilities on site, and the non-sporting ones, and I think we’re quite lucky as an athletics community in getting in quite early to talk about what we’d like to do.”

Over 50 people from across the South East, representing athletic clubs, athletes, coaches, parents and past Olympians, fed into the lively discussions.

John Powell MBE, Chair of Crystal Palace Sports Partnership (CPSP) and resident sprints coach at the NSC, said: “As part of the approved Crystal Palace Park Masterplan, the NSC already has outlined planning permission for an integrated, regional sports centre with a re-provided indoor track.”

There was an overwhelming consensus by the end of the evening for an NSC that included:

•Retaining the indoor track

•An NSC vision that’s a regional centre, anchored on outreach, training, coaching and events

•The return of a club house

•An easily-accessible track

•Spectator seating for regional events

Patrick Dubeck, the GLA Project leader, said: “This is the start of the process.

“It is the beginning of having conversations with people about what a vision looks like, what the future looks like.”

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