Dear Vner's - here's the latest from the Picture Palace Campaign - thank you for all your efforts and support over the past three years. Let's make it count. Best wishes from the Campaign Team.
Team CP – time to dig deep! Make the Campaign count this Saturday
25 Church Road – latest news:
It has to be said: things are not looking great for those of us wanting a cinema at 25 Church Road.
Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) will shortly be holding two events to announce its presence and start operating in Crystal Palace:
- Saturday 11 August - an ‘Open Day at the Open Door’ 10am-6pm (more on this below)
- Saturday 25 August - an opening ceremony (‘dedication service’), together with a seminar and exhibition called ‘Connecting businesses in the UK and Africa’.
…BUT NOT OUT!
The Picture Palace Campaign (PPC) remains determined to bring a cinema to Crystal Palace, ideally at 25 Church Road. And a leading cinema operator still wants to come to Crystal Palace, and would still be willing to buy 25 Church Road. This strengthens our case for retaining 25 Church Rd as a place of public entertainment (D2 Assembly and Leisure Use, in planning terms).
What happened when we and our MPs met KICC's Trustees
The PPC has had several meetings with local MPs Jim Dowd, Tessa Jowell and Malcolm Wicks. We and they have spent a couple of years trying to get round a table with KICC’s trustees and senior management team. They finally accepted and a meeting took place on 11 July. Here’s a summary of what they told us, and our view of it.
- KICC gave an express undertaking that there would be no religious activities at 25 Church Road under its current planning use.
- KICC said it had produced a business plan and intended to hire out the building for conferences and ‘community’ space.
- KICC stressed that many of its proposed activities – including a Saturday Cinema Club, zumba and keep-fit classes, business seminars, counselling, and work with schools – would fall into the D2 category. It has already installed a single-screen cinema for showing family-friendly films on a conditional basis (that is subject to KICC’s approval).
- KICC said it was mindful of the impact of a large group of people coming into Crystal Palace and would be sensitive to our needs and concerns.
- KICC gave a sincere apology for any past failings in their approach to public consultation, saying they wanted to “move forward and correct wrongs, and to positively engage with the Crystal Palace community”. It offered to hold an Open Day to set out its intentions more clearly and transparently.
We know very well the strength of local feeling in favour of a cinema, the positive effect that this would have on jobs and opportunities in the area, and the strong desire to preserve the existing D2 use.
It was very telling that KICC confirmed its ultimate aim is still to secure 25 Church Road as a ‘Place of Worship’ for its Wimbledon congregation, as well as members from across South London, Kent and Surrey. This is why it originally bought the building, and why the change of use was refused.
What we did
Following the meeting with KICC, our legal and planning specialists helped us make a detailed case for D2 enforcement. On 30 July, we sent a nine-page letter to Bromley Council, copied to local ward councillors, expressing our concerns regarding the inappropriate use of the building and the potential loss of our only significant D2 leisure venue.
Bromley is considering the issue from all sides. It wants to see its D2 ruling enforced, but it is also obliged to consider KICC’s ‘community’ proposals based on evidence rather than concerns.
That means allowing KICC to go ahead on the basis it has proposed. If it then turns out to be operating unlawfully, that is, within a religious context or outside the D2 use class, we have a substantial basis on which to object. The MPs have asked us to keep them closely informed.
What we can do?
Our focus remains on a ‘Cinema for Crystal Palace’. It is not for us to comment on KICC as an organisation.
So the next stage of the campaign is to monitor very closely how 25 Church Road is going to be used. That’s why we’ll be attending KICC’s Open Day this Saturday, 11 August. We hope you’ll take this opportunity too, and give us your feedback. You can contact us at 'email@example.com' or 'firstname.lastname@example.org'
We would also encourage you to make your ward councillors and MPs aware of your views. Thank you for your continuing support.
We are a community campaign. Your continued support and views are important to us - we really appreciate them! Please check out our website: www.campaign.picture-palace.org and facebook page: Picture Palace Campaign (return a cinema to Crystal Palace)