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Park campaigners want inquiry closer to site

PUBLISHED: 16:20 13 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:52 12 August 2010

CAMPAIGNERS are lobbying for a controversial planning inquiry about a park redevelopment to be held in the local area. Contentious plans to build housing on historic Crystal Palace Park were due to be heard in Bromley council s civic centr

CAMPAIGNERS are lobbying for a controversial planning inquiry about a park redevelopment to be held in the local area.

Contentious plans to build housing on historic Crystal Palace Park were due to be heard in Bromley council's civic centre.

But after several complaints, planning inspector Alan Novitzky said he would consider having some sessions in the Crystal Palace area.

Protestors made their views known at the evening pre-inquiry meeting last Tuesday.

Bromley council barrister Tim Comyn had said public inquiries were usually held in council buildings and claimed moving it could cost £5,000.

He said: "That may not seem a large amount of money in terms of a London council but it's an expense we don't need if it can be avoided.

"This council chamber is more than appropriate and suitable for this inquiry.

"It meets all the health and safety and disabled access requirements.

"And the Civic Centre is

very well served by public transport from Crystal Palace and elsewhere. We can also offer accommodation to store papers overnight".

But Crystal Palace Community Association Chairman John Payne suggested they use the Salvation Army hall which would cost £250 per day.

Mr Novitzky told the campaigners: "For the time being, leave it with me".

Friends of Ledrington Green spokesperson Suzanne Creighton said: "We are interested because if the application succeeds, Ledrington Green Butterfly and Bird Survival zone and community project will be obliterated, covered 100 per cent in concrete and brick with a large building.

"There will not be one blade of grass or tree for the children, butterflies or birds, and no community project.

"For this improvement the taxpayer will fork out more than £48 million, yet the council was unable to afford to move the planning inquiry to a local hall in Crystal Palace as this would cost £5,000."

The park supporters also complained that they did not have enough time to prepare their statements which have to be submitted by June 9, four weeks before the inquiry starts on July 10.

They appealed for the inquiry to be deferred until September but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

The inquiry into the plans, which includes housing and a college building on different edges of the park, starts on July 7 at 10am and is expected to run for five weeks.

kate.nelson@archant.co.uk

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