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Exclusive: Crystal Palace Park decision legal challenge

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

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

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A community association is mounting a legal challenge against government-granted planning permission to build houses on public parkland.

Crystal Palace Park

Three members of Crystal Palace Community Association (CPCA) met barristers on Monday to discuss how they will oppose the ruling by Secretary of State for Communities Eric Pickles to allow development of historic Crystal Palace Park.

The London Development Agency has been given 15-year planning permission to build 180 luxury apartments with panoramic views across London and Kent.

The CPCA believes that selling the land will set a precedent for parks throughout the country. CPCA chair John Payne said: “The crux of our objection is the selling off of public land for housing. This would be bad news for parks across the country. We are not opposed to the whole masterplan.”

A five-week inquiry was held last July after planning permission was first granted by Bromley council in 2008.

The decision was called in by the Secretary of State because of the size and controversy of the £67million project, which some 8,000 residents opposed.

Following his almost full approval in July, Mr Pickles stipulated some further conditions for the LDA’s masterplan, which must be set out by October 6. This is when he is expected to givee his final approval. The CPCA will then have a six-week window to lodge objections.

Mr Payne added: “We are looking at launching a statutory challenge against the decision. We are confident this will happen.”

The case is expected to be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice.

An LDA spokesperson said: “We have always believed the masterplan for Crystal Palace Park is balanced and well conceived. It proposes a way to improve the park and increase the amount of green, open space available.

“The Secretary of State’s decision supports that view. We will now begin with Bromley council and the neighbouring boroughs the process to turn the masterplan into action.”

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