Cllr Lewis Robinson – Conservative Councillor for College Ward (2002 – present) issued this statement on the Crystal Palace Development:
“Many of you will be aware of the consultation taking place about the proposals put forward by the ZhongRong Group to build on the top site at Crystal Palace Park.
I am a regular weekly user of the Park, and as much as I love the dinosaur walk and other features, the Park has been sadly neglected and is not realising its true potential for South London. I do not know of any serious local politician who would disagree with this. That does not mean that “anything goes” in terms of redevelopment. I am the only Dulwich Councillor who personally attended the Public Inquiry, nearly five years ago now, and objected to the last plans to build residential housing on the Park, and I am pleased there is no sign of this again.
I have now spoken to and received responses from hundreds of local residents about the new proposals. Opinion is very mixed, many supportive of investment being needed in the Park, others don’t believe anything should be built on the Park, and a lot of people wishing to hear more details before making up their mind.
There are however, two clear concerns, whatever your view about the proposals;
- Traffic and transport. Nearly everyone I have spoken to mentions that the traffic and transport impact will be serious on the surrounding road network. I have already been in touch with the Mayor’s Office, and raised my concerns with Southwark Council that any proposals will need a proper transport and traffic assessment to take place as soon as possible. I can’t see how a planning application could be successful without this.
- Transparency. Any negotiations and lease agreement between Bromley Council and the ZhongRong Group should be made as openly as possible. Whilst there will always be commercially sensitive information, Bromley should not want to get themselves in the current mess Southwark have at the Elephant and Castle. Here the Australian developer Lend Lease’s “viability assessment”, effectively the business case for the project, was ordered to be disclosed by the Information Commissioner in full, and the Council are still contesting this on appeal, to the total cost of nearly £140,000 in legal fees to date. The added irony is that some of the information under dispute has already been accidentally made public anyway. It strikes me that when dealing with sensitive proposals, openness is always the best policy.
For the past twelve years as a local councillor, it has always been a priority of mine to defend the “unique character of Dulwich” , which is why many of us chose to live here, from inappropriate development, and I have spent more evenings at Planning Committees doing this than I care to remember. Any proposal for the Park needs to enhance our local and cultural heritage, and if not, I will not hesitate to do so again.”
Please feel free to let me know your views so I can represent them in any future planning application by e mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Lewis Robinson
Conservative Councillor for College Ward (2002 – present)