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Mayor not told of cut in sport pitches

PUBLISHED: 16:54 29 July 2009 | UPDATED: 15:48 16 August 2010

THE Mayor of London has been kept in the dark by one of his own advisors, a public inquiry into a historic park heard, writes Jerry Green.

THE Mayor of London has been kept in the dark by one of his own advisors, a public inquiry into a historic park heard, writes Jerry Green.

Boris Johnson (pictured) has not been made aware of the potential loss of sports facilities at Crystal Palace Park, including those used at the London Youth Games, it was claimed last Friday.

The blunder was exposed when it was revealed at the Upper Norwood inquiry that strategic planning manager in the planning decisions unit failed to tell Mr Johnson he had left vital information out of his written evidence.

Advisor Justin Carr only realised his mistake when he saw evidence submitted to the inquiry by Sport England and, in the words of barrister James Strachan, 'kept schtum' about it, the inquiry in Upper Norwood heard.

The proposals would mean the loss of synthetic turf pitches used for football and hockey as well as the London Youth Games no longer being able to use the venue. Tennis courts would also go under the plans.

The revelations came just days before London organisers marked three years to before the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games on Monday.

According to planning guidelines, the loss of sporting facilities without there being an similar or better replacement should be brought to the Mayor's attention.

Answering questions from Mr Strachan, Mr Carr agreed he had not taken the matter back to the Mayor when he realised his mistake.

Mr Strachan, for Sport England, said Mr Carr had also not seen fit to draw the error to the attention of the inspector hearing the inquiry either.

He told Mr Carr: "I'm not criticising the Mayor because he was not properly advised by you."

But when Mr Carr was questioned by the GLA's barrister during re-examination, he claimed that the natural turf pitch at the arena would be re-positioned so the proposed development 'would not prejudice that'.

Answering questions from Alex Goodman, the GLA's barrister he said the stadium pitch would also be retained.

The hearing continues.


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