One year on and the future of Crystal Palace National Sports Centre is still in limbo
The long term future of the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre (CPNSC) still remains in doubt one year on from the start of the Greater London Authority (GLA) public consultation, aimed at shaping its future.
Crystal Palace Sports Partnership have been working tirelessly behind the scenes, but as chair John Powell states progress is slow, “Five months ago the CPNSC Development Options Appraisal Final Report 2015 was published, detailing the findings from the CSM Strategic led consultation, undertaken on behalf of the GLA. Following the report – budgeted at £75,000 - a return on this investment is still sorely lacking, with as yet no clear requirements established for the CPNSC to date.”
“We are grateful for the willingness of GLA to work with us to discuss a long-term sustainable future for the CPNSC, to secure the venue and its sporting facilities for future generations. We have been pressing them not to finalise plans without a robust needs assessment and vision, with growth of sporting participation at its core. Critically what the community, aspiring athletes and businesses based at the CPSNC want to hear are some hard facts of what plans are being made, and remove the uncertainty which is currently restricting any long term planning. As decisions are drawn out even longer even more deterioration occurs, only increasing the cost of essential investment.”
“Alongside the GLA we have built a strong relationship with ‘Better’/GLL who are currently the CPNSC operators", John Powell continues. "We have been working with them to support a range of short-term solutions and initiatives prior to their current contract ending at the end of March 2016, or during any possible extension. With less than six months to run, and a tender process for a new operator not evident, we would very much welcome a statement to clarify the position for all concerned.”
“We have learnt that the GLA are rightly concerned over the potential loss of grassroots development and sports participation at the CPNSC, during this time of uncertainty. With a protracted transition period looking likely, getting the best value CPNSC repairs and support will be a key short term outcome”.
The GLA are due to produce a paper on the CPNSC and its maintenance ‘in the autumn’, according to the Q1 2015/16 Finance & Performance Monitoring Report. “But this was promised in July, then August, and then September”, John Powell explained.
“Just what is the current, or next London Mayor's sporting legacy for South London? How will their approach support the Mayor's London Plan, and Bromley Council, both of whom have designating Crystal Palace to be of "strategic" importance for sport in the area?”