Reprieve for Crystal Palace National Sports Centre
Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, one of the most accessible multi-sports venues in the UK, has had the threat of losing its iconic stadium and a host of other existing facilities lifted - at least for now.
Resident operators, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), now have Greater London Authority (GLA) authorisation for a further operating contract extension, which indicates the centre will largely continue to operate as it has been for the next two years until March 2018. It is news that has been received by Crystal Palace Sports Partnership (CPSP) with muted enthusiasm.
CPSP Chairman, John Powell, commented: "Of course this is good news for the shorter term, but we wonder whether the two-year extension is going to be one where the authorities seek to formulate plans for future development, or whether it will simply be another two years of managed decline. The place still suffers from years of managed decline, even after the limited fixes being seen to support this contract extension.”
CPSP co-Secretary, Francis Bernstein, added, "The Crystal Palace National Sports Centre (CPNSC) remains unique in London in hosting many multiple sports at one venue, supporting five London boroughs. It provides wide spread grass roots access into sports and recreation, serving all levels of abilities up to elite. Its transport links make it the most well connected multi-sports centre in the country. CPSP hope this will be a positive time, and all users see clear and positive changes in the next two years, with better facilities, experience, and enhanced participation levels over all sports.”
Following monthly GLA Investment and Performance Board meetings, the GLA have made it clear that the new London Mayor who will ultimately decide on the centre's future, stating they are now focussing on developing a long term strategy during the remainder of 2016, as outlined in MD1602 Crystal Palace - National Sports Centre Contract Extension, published on March 17th 2016.
John Powell concluded, "We at CPSP hope London and National sporting bodies will support us in creating a positive way forward to help inform the next Mayor, and make sure the best options are provided for the centre. We are pleased that the GLA have clearly listened to the voice of the 4,000 NSC users who signed the CPSP petition against demolishing half of the CPNSC, and the many others who objected in the CSM consultation in 2014."