20th March 2018
Seb Coe leads fight to save athletics at Crystal Palace National Sport Centre.
IAAF president Coe, who first raced there in 1970 and enjoyed countless duels at the venue with great rival Steve Ovett, warned: “Once it’s gone, it’s not coming back. If we lose it, will it appear somewhere else? I don’t think so.” Seb added “This is about a vision for a future and we should fight for that.”
John Powell, chairman of Crystal Palace Sports Partnership, warned of a doomsday scenario for the site, which opened in 1964. Powell fears the indoor track facility, where British stars such as Phillips Idowu and James Ellington began their athletics careers, could be knocked down and the main outside track become a shadow of its former self. “The very real danger is that sports facilities at Crystal Palace could be dealt a hammer blow,” he said. “If, for example, the indoor track goes then athletics is dead at Crystal Palace and in the south east of London.”
Read the full Evening Standard news story here.
Let the Mayor of London know why the NSC is so important for sports, aquatics and athletics. Contact your MP and London Assembly Members and let them know why the NSC is a crucial venue for South London, and ask what they can do to help! See www.cpsp2020.com/how-to-help/ for contact details.
5th March 2018
Bromley Council update on the latest plans before their planning application is submitted later in Spring 2018 for the wider park regeneration and park wide developments. See the link and Event Poster for details.
The Mayor of London is reviewing the long term future of all sports and facilities at the CP NSC. It’s vital to hear from all users, clubs and groups, schools and event organisers of the CP NSC by filling in the survey:
Based on this sporting needs assessment, the GLA will be creating new development options covering the future of the CP NSC stadium area, outdoor areas, main hall (and multi-use areas), aquatics, and reviewing their whole 26 acre CP NSC estate (set within Crystal Palace Park)… and what CP NSC facilities are enhanced, reconfigured, or permanently lost.
See “How-to-Help” for more ways to support the CP NSC.
18th February 2018
Reported in the South London Press – The number of people signing a petition to save athletics at the National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace has exploded…
Thousands of people now fear it will be hard for the arena to attract funding on the same scale ever again – despite it being vital to the future of athletics and sport in general in South London. London Sport head of corporate communications Chris Scott said: “CPNSC is an iconic part of London’s community sport infrastructure, across the whole spectrum of physical activity and sport from grassroots to performance level sport“. Read in full here.
8th February 2018
London Sport statement on the future of Crystal Palace National Sports Centre here.
- CPNSC is a crucial venue for significant participation events, such as London Youth Games and Panathlon
- In realising our vision of making London the most physically active city in the world, the protection of facilities that enable local communities to build physical activity habits is a crucial component
- We also note that, as the Draft London Plan acknowledges, ‘current provision of swimming pools, artificial grass pitches (AGPs), and sports halls is not meeting demand’ and, further, that for ‘all types of facilities, the level of unmet demand is projected to increase by 2041 if no new facilities are provided’
- CPNSC is a… unique place within the region, and London as a whole.
31st January 2018
CPSP Press release: Press release: Athletics at the Palace on a knife edge!
CEO of UK Athletics, Dave Moorcroft. led a structured two hour Athletics focus group at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre (NSC).
Concern over future of Crystal Palace National Sports Centre ahead of consultation. The Chairman of the Crystal Palace Sports Partnership John Powell MBE has been coaching sprinters there for over 40 years and says not enough people are aware of the possible consequences… he added: “If the indoor track is lost it will eliminate track and field in Palace as a training place. Who wants to train in a cold stadium in the thick of winter?” … A spokesperson for the Mayor of London told News Shopper: “City Hall officers have begun a review of the centre and will consult a range of sporting stakeholders over the next month. The public will then be consulted on more detailed options later in the year.” – Croydon Guardian here full.
21st January 2018
Save Athletics and Sports at Crystal Palace petition passes 10,000! Keep sharing so the Mayor of London knows how important the NSC and all its multi-sports and event facilities indoors and outside, 50m pool, diving, gymnastics, weightlifting centre, and athletics tracks are, for a lasting sports legacy for Londoners of all abilities. Click here for petition.
19th January 2018
The GLA with their appointed consultants Neil Allen Associates (naa), are organising NSC discussion groups for Athletics, Aquatics, Indoor Sports and Outdoor Sports, in January and February (GLA web page here). These are to get sporting user/club perspective of current and future sporting and event demands at the NSC. This will shape what sporting facilities are kept, enhanced or lost at the NSC.
Focus groups consultation events. Click below to register on EventBrite to attend and find out more details:
- Mon 29th January, 7pm – 9pm Athletics
Further details in Athletics’ Focus Group Invitation.pdf
- Mon 12th February, 7pm – 9pm Aquatics
- Mon 12th February, 7pm – 9pm Outdoor sports
- Tue 13th February, 7pm – 9pm Indoor sports
For all sports and NSC activities (including athletics) there are “Drop in” events in the sports centre, and open to all to drop in on the day, and allow 1-2-1s sessions too:
- Mon 29th Jan (10am – 8pm)
- Tue 13th Feb (10am – 8pm)
If you wish to attend but cannot make it, or to provide further evidence on sporting needs at NSC, contact email@example.com .
Your voice counts. CPSP need to hear from all users, clubs and groups of the NSC to demonstrate how extensively the centre is used, or could be improved, by filling in a brief survey: www.tinyurl.com/CP-NSC-Survey
This phase of GLA work specifically covers sports needs assessment at the NSC, and identifying strategic needs (from NGBs, key stakeholders and clubs) and hard evidence for the need for each sport, and the needs for facilities at Crystal Palace, including the indoor track, outdoor track and field, for athletic and indoor events, aquatics (all pools, diving and galas), indoor multi-use areas, outdoor football, community use of the Dome, gymnastics, hockey and beach volleyball, weightlifting center, parking etc. Unless key NSC users, clubs, schools, event organisers, come forward and participate, then essential NSC uses, changes, and essential facilities may be overlooked.
More announcements expected soon and other ways to be involved.
Across many sports using the NSC, there are email gaps in the GLA invitees and stakeholders, and CPSP welcome being contacted by all groups and clubs interested in being informed about further GLA engagement activities impacting the NSC. Please contact John Powell chair CPSP firstname.lastname@example.org or Secretary@cpsp2020.com to help with this NSC engagement underway.
Consultants Invitation to Tender: ITT Tittle: Sports Facility Assessment (GLA NSC SFA 2017).pdf
18th January 2018
“Crunch time for Crystal Palace” – Athletics Weekly news by Jason Henderson.
The future of Crystal Palace as an athletics facility hangs in the balance… John Powell, the chairman of the Crystal Palace Sports Partnership, describes it as “crunch time” for the Palace (pictured) but is worried the process is alarmingly short and has not been publicised. Read more here.
10th January 2018
Save Athletics and Sports at Crystal Palace petition passes 7,000! Keep sharing so the Mayor of London knows how important the NSC and all its multi-sports and event facilities indoors and outside, 50m pool, diving, gymnastics, weightlifting centre, and athletics tracks are, for a lasting sports legacy for Londoners of all abilities.
1st December 2017
BBC news reports London Mayor Sadiq Khan has agreed to take over the former Olympic Stadium amid “financial challenges”. Mr Khan says a “catalogue of errors” by his predecessor Boris Johnson led to the costs of transforming it into West Ham United’s new ground soaring.
In the Mayor’s Press Release has published olympic-stadium-review (click here) into the true scale of the mismanagement of the London Stadium, it reveals a catalogue of errors that led to transformation costs soaring and a bungled decision that has left the taxpayer to foot an annual loss of around £20 million.
The £323m total cost of transforming the Olympic stadium was higher than the “Crystal Palace” stadium option for an athletics legacy, where the transformation works for this option were said to be around £300m.
The cost of manually moving the “retractable” Olympic stadium seating has grown to be £11.8m in 2017, for each time the stadium hosts athletics. In the Moore Stephens review they comment “The cost of the relocatable seating is now the largest annual expense” and “…more heed could have been paid to the legacy at the outset.”
John Powell, chair of CPSP commented “Spending upwards of £20m a year of taxpayers money on a Premier League football ground is nothing short of criminal, not least while formerly world class facilities like Crystal Palace are allowed to rot and decay.”
This Mayor will also be determining the long term future of Crystal Palace NSC for all its indoor and outdoors sports and aquatic strategic facilities. The NSC’s future remains in doubt for its many and future users, clubs, coaches, schools, local and regional community, local services, event organisers… for a unique multi-sport and iconic venue that is extremely well-connected and accessible for South London.
27th November 2017
The GLA have appointed Neil Allen Associates consultants to evaluate the demands and needs for sports facilities at Crystal Palace NSC. They are due to report back before the end of February 2018.
The assessment considers the current and future demand for sports and facilities at the NSC, and (planned and existing) facilities in the London and South-East region. There will be an emphasis on understanding the need for athletics facility provisions.
More news to follow about the upcoming engagement approach, due to start soon. It is vital that sports users, clubs, stakeholders, and event organisers using the NSC help in this assessment of current and future demands.
Invitation to Tender: ITT Tittle: Sports Facility Assessment (GLA NSC SFA 2017).pdf
23rd October 2017
Save Athletics and Sports at Crystal Palace petition passes 5,500! Keep sharing so the Mayor of London knows how important the NSC and all its multi-use sports and event facilities indoors and outside, 50m pool, diving and training pool, and athletics tracks are for Londoners of all abilities.
The iconic sports venue, with a sporting legacy for over 150 years, and the London home to the most World and All-Comers Records in athletics…
7th August 2017
Decision by Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, approving the extension of Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) contract for leisure management services at the National Sports Centre (NSC), Crystal Palace. Extension for a minimum of 2 years from the 1st April 2018, with an option to extend this by a further 1 year (2+1 years). Read the decision report here MD2126 Crystal Palace, National Sports Centre.
The report adds:
1.3 Working with the support of Sport England and UK Athletics, the CLA will shortly be commissioning research into the demand for athletics facilities (both indoor and out) in South London. This will also consider the range of existing facilities available and will reflect on changes taking place across London but particularly locally at Sutcliffe Park, Eltham and the proposals for Normans Park, Bromley.
1.9 By extending the current contract with GLL during this interim period… There will be a degree of certainty for end users which will enable them to make plans for the immediate future. There have been recent signs of progress in attracting major events to the NSC in terms of Volleyball, Gymnastics and regional athletics and a secure position at least until 2020 will enable that progress to be built on…
Commentary from John Powell MBE, Chair, Crystal Palace Sports Partnership:
“I and all who rely on the track and field facilities at Crystal Palace – as I’m sure with other sports – am grateful to the GLA for the clarity they have now granted a previously unpredictable future for the National Sports Centre (NSC).
It may only be for up to a 3-year period, but at least the powers that be have acceded to what we have campaigned for all along, and that is a carefully considered plan for a sustainable future taking into account demand as well as current usage and potential.
My only reservation is that still, despite all that we have said, venues like Sutcliffe Park, Eltham, and Norman Park, Bromley, still appear to be considered to be part of the equation. Neither venue has anywhere near the transport links afforded to Crystal Palace, are nowhere near as accessible, nor do they sit within an area of such high demand for sports and recreation as Crystal Palace. As for what these other venues offer in terms of multi-sports, they do not come close to what we have at the NSC.
The fact, however, that due regard will be given to what national governing bodies have to say, especially that of athletics, and that due research will be carried out into demand and usage of the NSC is very encouraging.
I hope that the Crystal Palace Sports Partnership will be able to actively contribute to the decision-making process between now and 2020, and that a resolution can be arrived at that satisfies the sports and local community and the purse strings at the GLA.”
19th July 2017
Bromley Council Executive resolved £625k from Capital Receipts to progress the Regeneration Plan towards an outline planning application by spring 2018 (draft minutes item 283). The completed Crystal Palace Park Regeneration Plan uses the GLA’s 2014 shortlisted option for the NSC area that’s “subject to agreement with the Greater London Authority“, which includes:
• Removal of the podium and high level walkway [that includes demolishing the indoor athletics track and other facilities]
• Removal of the 25m learner pool (building in front of main NSC building).
• Demolition of the West stand.
• Demolition of the Jubilee stand.
• Retention of the athletics track [outdoor]
• Reduction in parking, removing parking from Paxton’s Axis.
The shortlisted option has been used to inform the relationship of the NSC with the park in the development of the Regeneration Plan by Bromely Council for planning of the wider park.
Reporter, Jason Henderson, pictures, Mark Shearman
June 10th 2017
Championship Athletics returns to the NSC, with Southern Track & Field events hosted by South of England Athletic Association. Entries have been up on previous years. Spectators welcomed.
Saturday 10th & 11th June. Southern Outdoor U20/Senior Championships
Saturday 19th & 20th August . Southern Outdoor U15/ U17 Championships. U13 Open Events. All Ages Walks Championships. Details of the event here.
June 8th 2017
Bromley Council release plans with NSC indoor track demolished subject to agreement by GLA.
Information on Crystal Palace Park regeneration plans from Bromley Council is here, and is an updated version of the previously agreed 2007 Masterplan for Crystal Palace Park and NSC, The Bromley plans were shown over two days, open for four hours per day, in the Park’s information centre, near Penge Gate.
The “…public exhibition aims to inform you about the preferred option that was identified through this process for the Regeneration Plan… The Council Executive and Full Council will make a final decision on the Regeneration Plan this summer.”
Bromley are expecting the NSC’s indoor track and other NSC facilities to be demolished, and to remove the NSC’s parking in the centre of the park. Bromley’s plans were said to be based on previously preferred GLA shortlisted options for the NSC, from the time of the CSM Strategic public consultation in 2014. This would also mean demolishing the 25m Family/Training pool, and the London Weightlifting Centre. Bromley report their plans are “subject to agreement with the Greater London Authority“:
The approved Crystal Palace Park Masterplan (link with illustrations) has outline planning permission for an integrated “Regional Sports Centre” set within the Park. Over 4 years of preapplication consultation this vision was shaped by one of the five core principles of the Masterplan for a “sports and events park“.
The new multi-sport regional sports centre (RSC) stadium (link with accommodation schedule) would be sensitively integrated into the landscape. It includes reprovision of the indoor athletics track. With the combination of the new RSC sports stadium (with the indoor and outdoor athletics tracks), and the Grade II* listed sports hall, it minimised the overall net loss of sports facilities.
The formal sporting facilities proposed for the Park included strategic planning across the Park landscape for organised sporting events and space to undertake runs and cycle routes (for example, schools sports days and triathlons).
The new reconfigured stadium facilities would be located below ground taking advantage of the topography of the Park, with an accessible green roof, and with outside seating up to 3,000 spectators. The RSC has expected use as a large sports centre, indicative footprint 10,910-14,500 sqm. The car parking total was for up to 383 cars, integrated with tree planting to minimise the impact on the surrounding parkland, and with over-flow parking during major events. It is envisaged that the largest likely events at the Park would be held within the stadium area (for up to 30,000).
May 15th 2017
Bromley Council update event on the Regeneration Plan for Crystal Palace Park.
Two-day Public Exhibition and Regeneration Plan Update at the Information Centre in the park, where all visitors will be able to see a display on the Regeneration Plan and talk to representatives from the project team:
Public Exhibition and Regeneration Plan Update
Friday 19 May 2017, 2pm to 6pm
Saturday 20 May 2017, 10am to 2pm
Crystal Palace Park Information Centre (near Penge Gate entrance)
“Come and join us at the Information Centre in Crystal Palace Park to find out more about the park’s Regeneration Plan. Over the past year we have been reviewing and refining ideas, consulting with the community and developing a recommended plan that will support a restored and vibrant park.
We are inviting you to come and see how your input is helping shape the future development of Crystal Palace Park. The project team will be on hand to answer your queries about the plan and how it was developed, before it is considered by the Council Executive and then Full Council this summer”
December 16th 2016
Latest news in Athletics Weekly:
In what could be one of the great sporting comebacks of 2017, though, the old arena is set to hold athletics events again after undergoing refurbishment work in recent months.
Starting with three indoor events in January and February, the venue is due to stage the South of England Championships for senior and young athletes next summer, plus a number of open meetings.
“Crystal Palace has a global reputation and is possibly the most iconic track and field venue in Europe,” John Powell, chair of the Crystal Palace Sports Partnership, told AW.
“It will be of interest to many in the sport that these meetings will be returning to Crystal Palace next year and that it will be match-fit for competitive athletics.”
With support from the Greater London Authority and Mayor Sadiq Khan, the facilities have undergone a significant facelift this winter, with more improvements planned in the new year.
See the Dec 15 issue of AW for more on this story here.
November 11th 2016
A brief update on the NSC at Crystal Palace:
We are now approaching what could be another critical phase with the NSC planning by the GLA, where it will be crucial that NGB’s – especially for all outdoor sports generally, to engage at the highest level.
In a recent conversation between the GLA and our CPSP Chair, they made it clear that without the engagement of National Governing Bodies (NGB’s) it was going to be very difficult to make the case for retention of some facilities. The last CSM study into the NSC is still referred to, but we think this is somewhat historic in value and relevance now. The CSM report lacked robust data usage and strategic needs assessment by sport.
The GLA hold the long term lease for the CPNSC sports areas, and are considering a potential new operating model and its facility mix, from March 2018, and may even extend the current Operator further to allow more time to consider the long term future for sports provisions in Crystal Palace NSC.
In parallel, Bromley Council are forming a new governance model for the wider park, and creating a new Trust and appointed new Trustees. They have appointed AECOM to develop a sustainable business plan for Crystal Palace Park that will be in line with the 2007 Masterplan vision for the Park. See report here for details.
Why could this be important now? The Park’s approved Masterplan involved the removal of most of the outside playing pitches, that was to be offset by the NSC main building being converted into a low maintenance dry sports use. Post the Masterplan, with subsequent GLA/LDA investment to upgrade and enhance the main swimming/diving pools and internal plant equipment, this Masterplan building conversion is considered less likely. So what will happen to all the outdoor pitches and indoor athletics track?
Now is the time to inform relevant NGBs and CPSP about your use and value for the NSC and outdoor areas, and for NGBs to inform the GLA. This feedback is needed to inform a robust needs assessment on the future of the outdoor pitches and facilities in the Crystal Palace NSC. This will best ensure the GLA can plan for the appropriate outdoor facility mix for the current and future user demands in this area, that can support the future sustainability of the NSC.
Please contact Secretary@cpsp2020.com with comments.
September 28th 2016
We have been informed by the GLA they have now made appointments covering the role of the NSC. They have mentioned that when developing the future procurement brief for the site, input from relevant parties would be taken into consideration. Following ongoing meetings, they will get a clearer idea about the potential options (at high level) going forward and will develop the next steps.
Recent Mayor Written Answers to Questions about the NSC:
Future of Crystal Palace Park and National Sport Centre (1)
Question No: 2016/3047
Will you ensure that the Crystal Palace Sports Partnership is involved in the tender process for the National Sports Centre if the contract is extended or re-tendered, including with writing the specification and interviewing the companies?
Written response from the Mayor
In undertaking any future procurement exercise, input from the Crystal Palace Sports Partnership and other relevant organisations will be taken into consideration when producing the brief.
Future of Crystal Palace Park and National Sport Centre (2)
Question No: 2016/3048
Based on new evidence on matters such as the use of sporting facilities at the National Sports Centre, if you decide to proceed with redeveloping the site, will you seek to develop and consult on new options?
Written response from the Mayor
When developing any future procurement brief, input from the previous public consultation exercise undertaken by CSM plus subsequent input from relevant parties would be taken into consideration. It is expected that this would produce a number of new and wide ranging options for evaluation.
August 1st 2016
The 150th Anniversary of first National Olympian Games held in Crystal Palace in 1866.
Reported as the “First Great Gathering of the National Olympian Association” attracted crowd of around 10,000 spectators. The young WG Grace won the 440yard hurdles in 1m 10s at Crystal Palace game. Notably, this was in the same week he was playing cricket for England, in a match against Surrey at the Oval, and scoring 224 runs not out. The National Olympian Games included Swimming, Gymnastics, athletics, wrestling, boxing, fencing. First day had swimming at Teddington on 31st July 1866, with indoor events in German Gymnasium (Kings Cross) on the 3rd day of the Games. The first National Olympian Games outdoor events included the “Gymnastic and Athletic Display in the Park of the Crystal Palace”, 1st August, 1866.
The British Olympics: Britain’s Olympic Heritage 1612-2012, by Martin Polley.
May 18th 2016
A cross party of newly elected London Assembly members have written to the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to ask him to work with the local community in Crystal Palace in shaping the future of the National Sports Centre and Crystal Palace Park.
The story can be read in full on the GLA’s website.
Part of the letter states:
The Crystal Palace Sports Partnership, with the support of London Sport, has prepared a brief on finding sustainable options for the NSC and its integration with the park and the current masterplan.
March 21st 2016
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 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.
To find out more read our latest press release.