Why is Crystal Palace Park discussed as though it is a piece of disused real estate by politicians on the Sunday Politics Show

posted by Nadia Mahmud-Salvisberg

Fantastic that the Crystal Palace Park proposal is finally making National News, but we are confounded and angry that the park is referred to as though it is a derelict and disused piece of land. It is a beautiful park where children play and wildlife lives.

As well as making the BBC news (23/11/14), The Crystal Palace development was discussed on the Sunday politics show(starts at 40 minutes).  http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04p9cc4/sunday-politics-london-23112014

It is fantastic that the Crystal Palace park development has prominent national coverage, especially considering the odd under-reportage of this massively significant proposal – one that effectively sells off a significant chunk of London National Park to a foreign developer. It was great to see some vocal interrogation of this ill-conceived scheme in the programme cutaways: – from Labour Councillor Val Shawcross, Green MEP Darren Johnson,and campaigners Martin Tempia and Rob Gibson. But I was gobsmacked that when we got to the studio discussion of the Crystal Palace park proposal, the panel seemed to view this land as real estate with which nothing was being done. Conservative MP for Cities of London and Westminster Mark Field made the astonishing statement that Crystal Palace Park was “essentially a bare site for 80 years since the great fire”, and interviewer Tim Donovan said that “no one else was stepping up to the task”. What task? There is no need to build anything on this lovely piece of green space. Crystal Palace Park is a PARK: Children play, people jog, teengaers play football, people stroll in the green space for relaxation and enjoyment. Furthermore is the environmental value of green space in an urban lanscape. The rhetoric should not be of disused land and development, it should be of ecological and social worth, we should be talking about our treasured National Park- which granted may need a small amount of maintenance work. I am still reeling from the tone of the panel discussion which seemed to think we should be applauding the Chinese for getting their act together and showing us how to build some commercial facility on a beautiful green space!! Shame on them.

THIS IS OUR NATIONAL PARK. This is where the people of South East London come for recreation. If anyone mentioned building some glass box on Richmond Park, or Hampstead Heath, there would be uproar! And this is the relevant comparison – not as Mark Field seems to believe the Battersea Power station redevelopment. Why is it that politicians would dare to touch a National Park in South London? Is it because it is slightly unkempt and needs a bit of maintenance work? Or is it because it is the poor side of London, and poor children’s leisure is easy game?


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