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The Future Of Crystal Palace Sports Complex


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#1 miles

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 12:22 PM

A little article that appeared in the Guardian that might be of interest:

QUOTE
Crystal Palace under threat

Funding crisis could leave the capital without a major venue for athletics

Duncan Mackay
Wednesday January 8, 2003
The Guardian

The future of Crystal Palace is under serious threat because of the crisis in national lottery funding. Sport England's 35-year lease with Bromley council ends in March 2004 and, unless the two parties can reach an agreement at a meeting on Friday over its future funding, one of the most historic sports venues in Britain faces closure.

According to Alan Pascoe, Britain's leading athletics promoter, it would make London the only major capital city in Europe without a stadium able to host major events.

The centre survives only because Sport England provides funding of £1.8m a year; Bromley council pays nothing. But with Sport England next year due to receive less money from the national lottery than ever before, it has to cut costs. Bromley is thought unlikely to want to keep the centre in its present format.

If Sport England decides not to renew its lease it will still have to pay £20m because the contract says it has to meet dilapidation costs before returning the centre to Bromley. But with Sport England in a period of belt-tightening under its new chairman Patrick Carter, even that is thought more attractive than approving a redevelopment scheme that could cost twice as much.

Pascoe was a huge favourite at Crystal Palace and now, as head of Fast Track, the marketing agents of UK Athletics, is responsible for the organisation of the annual grand prix meeting there which is rated among the world's outstanding events.

"I sincerely hope the need for a revamped Crystal Palace is fully recognised because, without that, Britain would struggle to host any sort of significant athletics event in the future, whether that's grand prix, World Cup or European Cup," said Pascoe. "The sport would be blocked out after having the world championships taken away from it."

Britain's ability to stage major events has been in doubt since October 2001 when the government went back on a promise to provide a purpose-built, state-of-the-art athletics stadium at Picketts Lock because of the costs. As a result UK Athletics suffered the embarrassment of having to pull out of staging the 2005 world championships.

"It's quite bizarre we should be talking about this when UK Sport research showed by a large margin that, apart from soccer, athletics was the sport the public singled out as wanting to see British success," said Pascoe. "Part of that is seeing success on home territory.

"According to the research, athletics was five or six times more popular than rugby or cricket to the public and they have their glamorous headquarters able to stage the showpiece events.

"Every time we get to winning the right kind of support there's been a change of leadership at Sport England. Crystal Palace needs to be seen as a London facility rather than a millstone to Bromley council."

Sport England invested £100,000 in 1999 to repair the track and spectator facilities at Crystal Palace so that the British grand prix meeting could return there from Sheffield. The meeting has since evolved into one of the most eagerly anticipated events each year and has sold out for the past three years to see the likes of Maurice Greene and Marion Jones compete.

However, last September it was surprisingly overlooked for inclusion in the Golden League series for 2003 amid suspicions that the International Association of Athletics Federations feared taking one of its flagship events to such a run-down venue.

Yet it was only six months ago that David Moffett, before he resigned as chief executive of Sport England, enthused about redeveloping Crystal Palace as "the symbolic home of athletics in this country. We need 21st-century facilities for the athletes and, importantly, for the spectators."

Athletics has been staged somewhere in Crystal Palace for 136 years. The current arena is on the site of the old football stadium that was built in 1894 and staged early Cup finals. It was opened in May 1964, the same year as the National Sports Centre complex, with a 440-yard cinder track.

In 1968 it was upgraded to a Tartan 400m synthetic track, the first in Europe. It staged the 1994 World Cup final and 21 world records have been set there. The most fondly remembered came in 1973 when the charismatic David Bedford, in his famous red socks, established new figures for the 10,000 metres and helped spark a revival in the fortunes of British athletics.

"This is very sad news," said Bedford. "We all know Crystal Palace needs some sort of work but it would be a crying shame if London was unable to hold an international event."

"We have recently reviewed all the options for the centre," said a spokeswoman for Sport England, "and this meeting is to update Bromley on progress and what the possible courses of action are."

Rise and fall of the Palace

1964 Stadium opens on current site

1968 A revolutionary Tartan track, the first in Europe, is laid

1969 The Sports Council (now Sport England) signs 35-year lease

1973 David Bedford sets a world record for the 10,000 metres

1978 Steve Ovett sets a world record over two miles

1983 New world champion Steve Cram beats Ovett in one of the best races seen in Britain

1985 Zola Budd sets the only world record of her career, in the 5,000m

1990 A capacity crowd watches Steve Backley set a world record for the javelin

1994 Stages the World Cup final, won by Africa's men and Europe's women respectively

1995 Many of Britain's top athletes, including Linford Christie and Colin Jackson, boycott Crystal Palace's grand meeting in a row over money

1997 A report reveals plan to demolish the Palace and replace it with a rugby stadium. It is defeated

1999 A crowd of 17,000 welcomes the return of the British grand prix

2002 Dwain Chambers becomes the first Briton to break 10 seconds for the 100m in Britain

2004 Sport England's lease due to end. Future is uncertain

#2 phatandlong

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 05:09 PM

Knock it down, cover it with grass and turn it back into parkland.... much nicer

#3 Iceman

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 05:11 PM

Wrong answer, this is the pride of crystal palace

#4 pbradburn

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 07:56 PM

Knock it down is the kind of seventies discredited answer to things you don't like. It would be a ridiculous loss of a valuable amenity to the community and the sports centre is something that keeps the area on the map!

#5 Windy Miller

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Posted 10 January 2003 - 02:51 PM

Lets have a big music festival to rival reading and Glastonbury with simultaneous performances in the stadium and stage by the lake

#6 phatandlong

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Posted 10 January 2003 - 09:06 PM

and who is going to pay for upgrading it?!

#7 James

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 12:44 PM

http://news.bbc.co.u...age/2684835.stm

An influential committee of MPs has backed in principle the idea of London bidding for the 2012 Olympics. They warned that a bid should not be made "at any cost" but stressed that it was probably Britain's last chance to host the games. The Culture, Media and Sports Committee - made up of MPs from all parties - held two days of hearings earlier this month into whether the UK should bid or not. Their report comes a week before Tony Blair and his Cabinet have to decide whether they will go for it. The MPs also say that the transport system in London would need to be improved, with the government having to decide what would have to be done and who would pay for it. Supporters of the games, such as five-times gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave, have argued 2012 is a golden chance for British sport. The games would put London on the map, regenerate deprived inner city areas and leave a golden legacy for future generations. Opponents of the bid question whether a huge new stadium is the kind of legacy London needs. The government estimates the costs of staging the games at £2.5bn, although experts predict the bill could be lower or higher. Ministers say they will base their decision on four tests: winability; affordability; legacy and deliverability. Tony Blair this month said it would be great to win the games but those four tests had to be met.

European.vote - EU Referendum


#8 miles

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 01:31 PM

As far as I'm aware, Crystal Palace has not been named as a possible venue should we host the 2012 Olympics. I can't understand it. Surely, it would be an ideal opportunity to refurbish it. All the articles I've read about the Olympic bid bang on about the regeneration of East London, in particular Stratford and Hackney. And there's no doubt that it would be great if that happened. But when we've got the basis for a decent stadium in great surroundings already here in Crystal Palace, it does seem daft not to even consider it as a possible venue for some events.

By the way, has anyone heard anything with regard to the outcome of the meeting between Bromley and Sport England about which my husband posted at the start of this topic?

#9 miles

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Posted 30 January 2003 - 01:31 PM

Good news (I think):

Duncan Mackay
Wednesday January 29, 2003
The Guardian

London's mayor Ken Livingstone, having been the most enthusiastic and innovative backer of the bid to host the Olympic Games in 2012, is now throwing his weight behind securing the future of Crystal Palace.

The indoor arena and 17,000-capacity stadium faces closure unless its owners Bromley Council and leaseholders Sport England reach agreement over funding. But Livingstone said he was prepared to use his position to ensure that it maintains its status as the home of British athletics.

Sport England provides £1.8m per year to run Crystal Palace, although its new chairman Patrick Carter is under pressure to cut costs because of the decline in lottery sales. Its 35-year lease ends in March 2004 but a clause in the contract leaves it liable for dilapidation costs of around £20m if it chooses not to renew. Bromley Council is reluctant to pay for much needed improvements.

"The whole area used to be managed by the Greater London Council," said Livingstone. "Transferring it to one council borough was always going to be a problem. If Bromley think it is a burden they cannot bear, the Greater London Authority would take back the whole of Crystal Palace or make a detailed proposal on reconstruction of the site.

"It is vital that the current deadlock between Bromley Council and Sport England is ended as soon as possible. If not, there is a real threat the local community will lose a much needed sports facility and that athletics in this country will lose its home."

Crystal Palace is not due to play any formal role if London does host the 2012 Olympics but it could be used as a training venue. A decision about whether the government is to endorse a bid for the games will be discussed by a committee chaired by the foreign secretary Jack Straw today. Their recommendation will almost certainly be rubber-stamped by the cabinet, either tomorrow or on February 6.

"If the government decide to bid for the Olympic Games it would be inconceivable that Crystal Palace be allowed to wind down," said Livingstone. "We would press the government for a major expansion. We are talking about billions of pounds for a London bid, of which Crystal Palace would cost only millions."

But Livingstone reassured athletics officials that funding does not depend on an Olympic bid. "We would ensure Crystal Palace goes ahead with or without the Olympics."

Livingstone has already demonstrated his commitment to athletics by providing a £75,000 sponsorship package for its annual grand prix meeting at Crystal Palace. The meeting, which is on August 8 this year, will be renamed the London grand prix.

#10 Guest_Andypclark_*

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 03:34 PM

This could do with being in private hands, it is run so amateurishly it is unbelievable.

Take squash for example.

If you are not a member you can only book a court on the day you want... meanwhile the courts lie empty.
There are only about three squash ladders going, they have five courts and a huge catchment area. I suggested a long time ago to put in simple things like first names, mobile numbers and email on the contact details for the ladders but, no, you still have to phone your competitors home phone number.

Swimming

You can't use the diving boards unless you meet a whole load of conditions. We don't need kid gloves, as adults we can take decisions like whether we think it is safe or not. It just doesn't get used.
As a member of the public it is hard to get into the pool outside working hours - I'm sure swimming clubs have a point but what about regular users trying to get fit.

It's got to help itself, it relies too much on subsidies and it's going to disappear horribly.... Management, get a grip and sort yourselves out!

#11 Sarah

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 12:57 PM

Agree - swimming pool needs better opening times for the general public. Would be useful to have at least 3 nights a week when the pool is open from 6.00pm.

#12 phatandlong

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 03:39 PM

I agree with opening times! Turned up on monday for my usual swim at 7.30 to find they have 'changed' the hours so is now open at 8pm. Have these people heard of communication?!

#13 Melvyn Harrison

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Posted 25 September 2003 - 03:53 PM

The lease for the Sports Centre expires on 25 March 2004 Sport England will then effectively and no-one be in control - I wonder who will run it then...

#14 richard moore

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Posted 26 September 2003 - 04:50 PM

As ever there are many mixed views about this and pehaps there are some who should be to be blamed. The Managemnent is very poor and does not do much to help themselves. Sport for marketing side under Pascoe are however the real culprits and pascoe should know better than to cry wolf. I rememeber when he was a sports master at Dulwich College and he would train at the then new sports facilities there as they we better than the Palace which were also new at the time.

If the atletics events are full to capicity then why not hold more and use the mony to improve the palace. It can only be a simple good quality business plan and the sport would be able to invest in it's own world class facilities instead of always handing out the begging bowl.

Some people may remember the days of the Coca Cola sponsered games ( Incidently all thanks to Terry O'Connor who still drinks in the Railway Bell) they made a fortune and it was all ploud back into the facilities and not into the pockets of a few elite athlete's

We live a wealthy Country and any subsidy should go to those few people who are not well off. Look at football I dread to think how much a season ticket costs now and many people moan about it but they all still pay up.

All sports should stand on there own two feet except for school activities ( and oh yes look how many school playing fields have been sold off despite HMG clever talk.) Athletes should stop being so pompass look at the third world who produce world class runners with virtually no facilities. A good game of football needs a bit of clean area and four football shirts . Cricket played in the back yard in Jamaca has produced many fine players.

All the major sports have the ability to provide their own top facilities and in some sports the players themselves could build a stadium on there total incomes.


The balance seems all wrong either through greed or bad managment, both need to change and of course do we all need sports kit that some kids will steal from other kids from just because of a marketing name, Perhaps Addidas would funded the facility they have made million s out of slave labour

Athletics knew what it was letting it self in fore when they signed the lease why no properly funded exit route planned. ??

No not a a single penny of tax payeers money should be used until they put there own house in order

#15 phatandlong

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 12:09 PM

The sports centre is currently running a petition to save the sports complex. I suggest people go down and sign it as if this centre goes then Crystal Palace becomes a backwater which will be ignored.............