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Crystal Palace Park challenge discussed in private

CPCA chair John Payne and CPCA members Suzanne Elkin and Richard Francis

CPCA chair John Payne and CPCA members Suzanne Elkin and Richard Francis

Archant

A legal challenge against a Government decision allowing 180 new homes on public parkland was to be discussed behind closed doors on Tuesday night.

The Crystal Palace Park Association is contesting a decision by Communities and Local Government Secretary of State Eric Pickles, who agreed the £67.5million application by the London Development Agency for the historic Crystal Palace Park in Anerley Hill last year.

Bromley council — as landowner and the local planning authority — was taking legal advice about the planned court case at the Development Control Committee meeting at Bromley Civic Centre, from which the public were banned from 
attending.

The actual case is against the Secretary of State and is expected to be heard before judges in the High Court, but no date has been set yet.

The association believes the sale of this land will set a precedent for all public parkland.

Chairman John Payne said: “This was agreed because it had supposedly fulfilled ‘very special circumstances’ but this is public parkland which should be protected. What else will fulfil these so-called special circumstances? Will the need for cash 
suffice?”

The association also believes that there are 
no safeguards in the conditions set by Mr Pickles that the agency has to make improvements to the park before it begins work on the luxury flats.

Mr Payne added: “I could come along with my bucket and spade and say that work has started. It’s not good enough at all.”

The long-running dispute began in 2008 when Bromley council agreed the application for the 200-acre site in 2008, to the dismay of thousands of residents.

Some 8,000 people signed a petition against the development, which under the conditions will supposedly yield the council £12million in revenue for the sale.

A Communities and Local Government Department spokesperson said: “We are aware of a legal challenge but we can not comment any further than that.”

The CPCA is currently arranging its legal aid and costs.

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