7th May 2022 – How London Stadium row can be catalyst to restore iconic Crystal Palace to former glory. With UK Athletics now in discussions to leave the London Stadium, there is an opportunity to
redevelop old iconic arena in south London. Reported here by By Ben Bloom, The Telegraph.
“There’s probably more athletics talent coming out of London than anywhere else in the country. Having a proper athletics stadium in the capital city is important, and as a sport that is accessible to not only the elite few, you need it in an area that gives access to young people. Crystal Palace is a great option for that. It’s a stadium with great heritage that has hosted big meets in the past. It would be a significant embarrassment if London was left without a stadium, so it makes 100 per cent sense to reinvest the money into Crystal Palace. You’ve got the foundations there – it just needs investment and the will to make it work. Currently, we are seeing the decline of one of the most iconic sports venues in Europe.” said John Powell, chair of the Crystal Palace Sports Partnership.
“The London Stadium has been a total fop,” said double Olympic long jump finalist Jade Johnson. “The whole premise of getting the Olympics was legacy, but how many British athletes have been able to even run there? It only hosts one or two competitions a year. What kind of legacy is that? Most young athletes have never even used it. If UK Athletics shifted attention to Crystal Palace it would create a far better legacy. We are a country that loves sport, and loves track and field, so how can London not have a world-class athletics venue?”
Olympic and world 4x400m medalist Marilyn Okoro added: “It would be really powerful and restore a lot of confidence in the sport. “It’s such a majestic stadium, and I would love to see it used more. Not only would it repurpose the stadium, but it would be accessible for athletes of all standards and the local community.”
“Crystal Palace has history and it can have a future,” insisted Johnson. If it does not, London’s Olympic athletics legacy would be scandalously lost.”
Full story here.
17 December 2021 – Mayoral decision “MD2910 Crystal Palace National Sports Centre” – That the Mayor of London approves expenditure to facilitate the comprehensive refurbishment of the CPNSC.
The decision promotes: “…it is recommended that the upgrade and consolidate option is pursued… to deliver the best value for money for the public purse over 25 years.” The ‘upgrade and consolidate’ option proposes a transformative and holistic refurbishment and redevelopment of the iconic CPNSC site, delivering a significant improvement on the long-term viability of the centre. Including upfront capital investment the projected total cost of £219m for this option, it is deemed to deliver the best value for money for the public purse over 25 years. At a cost of £34m, “the minimum” for refurbishment option is deemed to be suboptimal and poor value for money when compared to the upgrade and consolidate option.
All steps will be taken to progress works where consents are not required. But beyond March 2022, future expenditure is largely dependent on planning consent being attained. Max Associates will assess the current appetite and market engagement for a full procurement of the operational contract at CPNSC. The current GLL operators to remain in place until March 2023 while a procurement approach for CPNSC is developed and progressed. A CPNSC Programme Board comprised of appropriate representatives from the Mayor’s Office and senior GLA officers.
Steps will be taken to continue to engage these organisations alongside others [including National and Regional Governing Bodies including Sports England and] such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, Big Lottery Fund and London Marathon Charitable Trust to identify further opportunities for funding toward the cost of the refurbishment, and to gain their input as we seek to minimise the inevitable periods of partial closure and disruption associated with this project. Additional routes for investment will also be reviewed as part of this project.
The strategic objectives are said to be as follows:
- to make the CPNSC a place you want to stay all day, with exciting opportunities and activities for all ages and abilities
- to increase participation and levels of physical activity for residents of the five boroughs and London by creating pathways into sport
- to make the CPNSC better connected and accessible to the communities that use and surround it
- to help the main building work better to provide an accessible and comfortable environment for physical activity, whilst celebrating its modernist architecture
- to deliver upgraded sports and community facilities, which will encourage participation and increase membership numbers.
“… for the vision of the CPNSC to revolve around delivering a revitalised, fit-for-purpose community asset that will be accessible to all Londoners, offering a wide range of activities for competitive and casual users alike. ”
However, “how long it would take for the works to enable the 50m swimming and diving pools” is not made clear in this report, and we hope the Mayor delivers on his promise that these strategic vitals pools will be opened asap, with works to start soon in 2022 (that have closed since March 2020). CPSP look forward to GLA stakeholder engagement on supporting this investment and NSC revamp and in upcoming public engagement sessions, as well as to support the NSC’s extensive strategic aquatic demands (for the diving and 50m pools), its iconic stadium, and minimise disruption for the NSC’s event competitions, and to clubs and user demands during transition phases.
12th November 2021 – ITV London News reports a spokesperson for the Mayor of London:
4th November 2021 – Ellie Reeves MP met Sport Minister who advised she goes direct to Sport England to help find new funding. With the Mayor of London saying “further assessment work” is required regarding NSC Pools, as reported on BBC News London.
4th October 2021 – After months of waiting, the Mayor of London is openly asking Government and relevant sporting bodies for help, and announces further “information needed for a decision to be made in the coming weeks“. See his reply to Ellie Reeves MP here:
In March 2021 md2746-crystal-palace-national-sports-centre the Mayor’s team already new of the revised scale of repairs for the NSC 50m and diving pools. At this time the were aware of the essential maintenance required to the 50m and diving pools but delayed decisions post-election “to ensure consistency with any planned future works for NSC Crystal Palace.“.
Meanwhile, an epic 40,000+ have signed the petition to re-open and save NSC 50m and diving competition pools in just a few weeks since August 2021.
22nd September 2021 – The London Region is ALREADY missing more pools than ALL other regions combined. That’s the very worrying finding from Swim England’s damming report A Decade of Decline: The Future of Swimming Pools in England report (click here).
The local situation around South London is even worse. SIX of South London boroughs around the NSC have water pool space with SUPPLY LESS THAN DEMAND. As the Crystal Palace NSC pools represents is 8% of all water space over 7 boroughs in South London (Bromley, Bexley, Greenwich, Southwark, Lambeth, Croydon, Lewisham), then if the Mayor of London keeps these pools closed (with no temporary measures) it would be a fatal blow to a generation of Londoners in South London and their health. Plus the huge loss of this region’s competition 50m and 10m diving pools for grass roots to elite aquatics and clubs and schools, and aquatics competition loss for the whole of London.
We could be at a loss of about 10,000 swims per week for Londoner’s with NSC being left closed (with its competition 8 lane 50m and 10m diving pools) and loss of other nearby pools in this region.
Urgent temporary solutions are needed that are commercially viable and well understood by Swim England London.
The NSC attracts members across London due to its strategic and competition 50m and 10m diving pools and its range of sports, at London’s most accessible multi-sports and aquatics competition venue Sporting Facility Assessment National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace – A Final Report (NAA).pdf
15th Aug 2021 – Crystal Palace NSC in the news
Will Crystal Palace’s famous pool ever reopen? by Simon Harris, Political Correspondent, ITN News (11th Aug 2021). “I’m hoping over the course of the next few weeks to give an open date,” said Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.
BBC London TV news (13th August 2021), report by Paul Murphy-Kasp. “In March the Mayor of approved funding for £550k.. but on £30k was ringfenced for fixing the pools so swimmers and divers feel forgotten about”. See MD2746 Mayor decision here.
Hear from Eden Cheng, Olympian diver at Tokyo 2020, and trained at CP NSC. And her “Olympian” efforts studying for her A-levels via online classes in the car on her *three hour* return journeys to Stratford Olympic pool (with the local Crystal Palace NSC pools being closed). And hear from Gill Snode, Crystal Palace Diving on the impact of these pool closures.
BBC Radio London Phone in (7am-10am) 13th August 2021 – Helen Crump started the petition to reopen the pool after it closed in 2020 due to structural damage, it’s since received over thirty-thousand signatures. Peter Fortune is the GLA member for Bexley and Bromley and told Eddie of the challenges to reopen the pool. Eddie Nestor MBE takes calls on what the pool means to the local community.
10th August 2021 – Petition to Reopen Crystal Palace National Sports Centre 50m pool and Diving pool smashes over 30,000 in just over ONE week! Click here to sign.
2nd August 2021 – Ellie Reeves MP and Swim England London step in to save NSC Pools
Ellie writes to Mayor of London (owner the NSC) with a request to commit to opening the Diving and 50m Pools, see her letter here. These pools have already been closed since March 2020, with no planned date to re-open. Works to complete likely to be measured in more years to come, and potentially impacting preparations for Paris 2024. Complexity to repairs is high, and compounded by a site over 50 years old, old plant equipment, and a building that is Grade II* listed, and has major overdue repairs to its expansive roof and in the main hall. Options to find ways to open the Diving pool asap, and potential for an outdoor temporary 50m pool have been considered but may not be prioritised.
The chair of Swim England London, Alex Harrison, has written to the GLA to emphasise why it’s important that the centre continues to be able to provide training facilities for the Olympians of the future. Crystal Palace is a vital facility for the local community and London’s performance athletes. Read their letter here page1, page2.
- CPNSC is one of only two facilities that can adequately cater for elite swimmers, divers and water polo players (alongside the London Aquatics Centre).
- The prolonged closure of CPNSC – whilst completely understandable – has had a significant impact on the ability of our clubs and members to gain training time in competition facilities
- We would also welcome the option to install a temporary pool on the grounds next to the facility to support the thousands of young people in the local community who have already missed out on the chance to go swimming due to the coronavirus pandemic but acknowledge this is would not be a long-term solution.
“Unless repairs are effective very soon this will be a massive body blow to the future of British aquatics, British diving and British swimming as well as for many London clubs, many schools and gala competitions, and generations of Londoners who rely on these pools. Sadiq, the time is now.” John Powell, CPSP Chair.
CPNSC pool being built, and today…
2nd August 2021 Local Crystal Palace residents start petition to save NSC pools
Helen Crump started a petition to the Mayor of London to save NSC pools. She was concerned they’ve been closed since March 2020, have no planned opening date, could stay closed for yet more years, with no clear commitment to get one or both opened asap. Her concerns are widely shared, as in its first few days smashed over 7,000 signed!
John Powell, chair of CPSP adds, “This petition underlines just how concerned the local community are about the potential loss of a National, as well as London regional, essential training and competition facility for our sporting stars of the future.”
The last Mayoral Decision about the Crystal Palace NSC was March 2021 md2746-crystal-palace-national-sports-centre, to spend £550k at the NSC. This decision chose to delay actions to offset the harm of prolonged 50m and Diving pool closures to Londoners. Yet, Swim England told the Mayor of London:
- The Swim England strategy is explicit on the need for five 50m pools located in London, … NSC pool has to be retained to meet these strategic needs… In the view of Swim England, the loss of the NSC would require a replacement. The need for this is overwhelming (pg 37)
- …from a regional and national view point, it is essential that the existing two major competition centres at the London Aquatic Centre, Stratford and the National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace continue to operate (Pg 81)
- as reported by the GLA funding 2018: Sporting Facility Assessment National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace – A Final Report (NAA).pdf
The NSC and its pools do need major repairs and from long term damage to its many visible (and previously filled) underwater portals. GLA funding was ringed fenced for their initial (visible) repairs in 2019. However, the scale of repairs, far beyond the visible broken underwater portals, was greater then budgeted. The full extent of damage was not shared with CPSP until 2021.
There are options that can help mitigate against further and longer term pool closures at Crystal Palace NSC. These include phasing of major refurb works, and use of a temporary outside pool (see letter from Swim England London). These shorter term temporary options were raised in the NSC Aquatic Working Group meetings in March 2020 once the revised (and more extensive) pools repairs become known, and a proposal for a longer term ~£35m NSC regeneration (link here) of the main hall and pool repairs / refurb were outlined. Such a wide refit and much welcomed investment would represent one of the single biggest investments made in the NSC and for Crystal Palace Park. Works were suggested to include pool plant equipment, drainage and roof repairs and other welcomed NSC main hall improvements, but, could mean several years of diving and 50m competition pool closure if poorly planned. This budget (if approved) excluded regeneration for most of the outdoor NSC areas as outlined in “On Your Marks (link here)“ consultation for the GLA, and primarily focused on the main hall, and to support a new Operator’s contract from March 2023.
6th April 2021 Crystal Palace, National Sports Centre – Contract Extension
The Mayor of London (who owns the long lease of CP NSC) approved MD2746 on 19 March 2021:
- The extension of the NSC Contract for a period of up to two years from the 1st April 2021 (on a 1 + 1 option) with Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL).
- Expenditure of up to £550,000 in order to carry out essential maintenance work at the National Sports Centre over the next two years. See here for details.
- Within the proposed extension period specialist consultant, Max Associates, will assess the current appetite and market engagement for a full procurement of the operational contract at the NSC Crystal Palace.
The NSC Crystal Palace is over 50 years old and is in urgent need of major capital investment. A long list of options has been considered, including the ‘mothballing’ and subsequent demolition of the NSC Crystal Palace, disposal of the asset, and varying levels of capital works intervention; from the minimum required refurbishment to more ambitious redevelopment proposals. All these options would require a significant level of investment or ongoing subsidy.
Following a detailed feasibility study and options appraisal, Concept Design Stage, RIBA Stage 2 is underway, revisiting and testing the work done in the feasibility study and progressing the designs in more detail. Essential maintenance is also required to the 50m and diving pools at NSC Crystal Palace. Additional analysis on the remedial works are required to ensure consistency with any planned future works for NSC Crystal Palace.
For full details of Mayoral decision MD2746 click here.
There was no funding to support temporary measures to re-provide 50m or Diving pool solutions in this Mayoral decision of 19th March 2021. Remedial works required were delayed “to ensure consistency… with any planned future works for NSC Crystal Palace“.
5th April 2021 – Improvement works to Crystal Palace 50m Pool and Dive Pool – Customer Update
NSC 50m pool and diving update from GLL includes “…we are not able to reopen the pools, nor do we have a date as to when the pools will open due to the scale and complexity of the works required, and the nature of dealing with a 60-year-old building… The 25m pool is open for fitness swimming and both this and the teaching pool are open for lessons.” Read the full announcement here.
29th March 2021 – NSC Lifeline for Elite Sports
Jake Sheaf, of Deep Dish (Beach Volleyball Academy) says: We are so excited to welcome everyone back to the golden sands of Crystal Palace. After being given the green light to return on the 29th March. We have been working hard to put together a Covid safe timetable that caters for all levels of player. Throughout lockdown we were fortunate enough to receive elite athlete exemptions for our four England athletes and coach. Access to the courts has been pivotal for their preparations for the upcoming season, Olympic qualifiers in May and the Commonwealth Games next year. A big thank you to GLL for allowing access. Jake founded Deep Dish at CP NSC, and is Team GB player.
Keith Morgan, Head Coach Crystal Palace Weightlifting club & multi event strength coach says: The members of the weightlifting club are very eager to resume training at the centre. In the meantime we have been lucky for our Olympic potential athletes to have been allowed to train during the lockdown . Thanks to GLL for the support.
25 March 2021 – Bromley Council APPROVES Outline Crystal Palace Park Regeneration Plan
Bromley Council approves 20/00325/OUT planning application: for comprehensive phased regeneration of Crystal Palace Park. This will include: conservation and repair of heritage assets; removal of existing hard surfaces; alterations to ground levels and tree removal; landscaping including planting of new trees; demolition of existing buildings and structures; creation of new pedestrian paths/vehicular access roads / car, coach and cycle parking; changes of use including part of the caravan site to part public open space and part residential; erection of new buildings and structures comprising: up to 2300sqm for a cultural venue (Use Class D2), up to 530sqm of park maintenance facilities (Sui Generis) including the dismantling and reconstruction of existing maintenance depot; up to 150sqm information centre (Use Class D1); up to 670sqm for a community centre (Use Class D1); up to 3779sqm of educational institution at the Capel Manor College Farm Site (Use Class D1) of which 3399sqm comprises educational buildings and 380sqm comprises ancillary shelters/ outbuildings; and up to 16,352 sqm of residential (Use Class C3) accommodation to provide up to 210 residential dwellings, together with associated and ancillary works including utilities and surface water drainage, plant and equipment. Full planning permission is sought for alteration to highways access at Anerley Hill Gate entrance, Penge Gate car park, Old Cople Lane (Rockhills Gate), Sydenham Gate car park and the creation of three additional accesses for the residential development at Rockhills and Sydenham Villas.
More details of Park and NSC regeneration is here.
17th March 2021 – NSC outdoor activities from 29th March
Crystal Palace National Sports Centre will be offering outdoor activities from Monday 29th March, including:
- Outdoor fitness classes
- Outdoor tennis
- Outdoor court hire
- Outdoor football
- Outdoor pitch hire
- Outdoor athletics track
The Better UK app makes it easy to book an activity or class from your smart phone or tablet.
Indoor activities from 12th April – Crystal Palace National Sports Centre is preparing to re-open on Monday 12th April for indoor activities. Details of the available indoor activities (including gym, indoor swimming, children’s sports lessons) will be made available nearer to re-opening.
6th March 2021 – News round up London Sport
Please see attached the latest round up from London Sport of news, grants, insights, opportunities, and support: London Sport Monthly Update March 21
22 January 2021 – Main 50m and Diving pools have further repair delays.
The pools will not be able to reopen in spring 2021 as originally planned. Read GLL’s update here. GLL expect to reopen the gym and 25m swimming pool as soon as Government restrictions are lifted.
6th June 2020 – London Youth Games goes VIRTUAL!
The LYG Virtual Games takes place over four-weeks from 8th June, giving young children and young people the chance to represent their Boroughs in a series of sport-related challenges that can be done at home, at school or while out for daily exercise.
Three weekly challenges will be released every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 9.00am on the London Youth Games website and social media channels. Participants will then have until Friday at 12.00pm to complete the challenges and submit their scores. All the challenges will relate to a London Youth Games sport and have been set by young Londoners with a connection to the Games.
21st December 2020 – NSC contract extension
A short term contract extension for the current NSC operator, GLL, being considered as the current contract ends in March 2021.
1st April 2020 – The Greater London Authority (GLA) appoints Max Associates
Set within Crystal Palace Park the NSC has been identified as requiring extensive redevelopment and reconfiguration to create a financially viable, fit for purpose venue that meets the sporting needs of Londoners and is better integrated into the surrounding heritage park.
The Greater London Authority (GLA) wishes to establish a sustainable long-term future for the estate, which retains the centre’s ability to support a wide range of sporting activity across a range of pathways, and which delivers a business plan that secures the high-quality listed facilities leading towards a vision to: provide a space for sports and recreation, health and wellbeing that meets the needs of both sports communities and local people. Max Associates will support the GLA in all required work associated with the procurement of a new operator for the NSC.
5th March 2020 – Massive new plans lodged for Crystal Palace Park
Bromley Times announces wide-ranging plans for “colossal regeneration of the park“, with NSC impact from reduced car parking plan and The Lodge and existing conference facilities demolished, addition of 210 homes split between two sites on the perimeter of the park (in four and five-storeys blocks), and including new Capel Manor College developments.
Bromley Council’s portal with the Outline Planning Application reference is 20/00325/OUT click here for link. Standard Consultation Expiry Date Thu 26 Mar 2020.
The total cost of the Regeneration Plan is currently £40 million (and excluding the NSC areas). The proposed enabling development would deliver circa 50% of the funding requirement with estimated land receipts (estimated up to £24.2m), with grant funding and other income sources funding the remainder.
Illustrative drawings from the 195+ planning documents provided:
Structures and surfacing demolished removes car parking form the centre of the park (this will be in addition to planned reduced NSC car parking by the GLA):
January 2020 – Summary of Mayor of London update by FOI
Greater London Authority Land and Property Ltd (GLAP) are the leaseholders for the NSC estate. LB Bromley own the freehold of Crystal Palace Park, including the land of the NSC estate. The GLA are working with LB Bromley to integrate the wider Regeneration Plan for the park and the proposals for the NSC.
The GLA’s next steps are to progress the design work to RIBA Stage 2- ‘concept design’. This work will build upon the feasibility work done to date, to further develop the evidence base and to fully test the proposed design options to help inform future decisions. The public are welcome to submit further views to a dedicated email address- email@example.com A further consultation will be planned later in the year.
25th November 2019 – Mayor of London issues FINAL NSC Feasibility Report
Eventually, the FOI request to see a version of the redacted “Crystal Palace National Sports Centre Feasibility” report has been made available to share and read.
The one report, and its appendices, were provided as multiple files as below:
Please update CPSP with your comments, concerns and opportunities for this NSC planning at firstname.lastname@example.org and current NSC operations, or transition concerns.
- “Spanning community events, professional training, health and wellbeing, grassroots sport and and competition, the NSC will meet the needs of local people and the sporting community alike”
- The current direction is that retention of the separate 25m pool is preferred as this will allow the aquatics programme to expand to meet demand (for lessons and club training) and for the centre to retain its
strategically important role as a competition and long course training venue.
- The over-riding evidence is that the demand for the 50m pool remains very strong across London and Kent given it provides the only 50m pool for Kent swimmers to access as well as most of South.
- Swimming events and galas remain a big driver for the 50m pool use.
- For the purposes of this report the diving pool programme is not being analysed in detail…
- CPSP had set up a CP Aquatics Working Group after the previous consultation was undertaken and the Consultant Team met with the group and Swim England. The importance of the pool stock was noted especially the group’s view on the retention of the 25m pool and the additional capacity that brings for swimming at CPNSC.
- The replacement of the Jubilee stand with a new indoor track will require new services which will probably be run from the main building if possible.
- This study recommends reducing the capacity to create a more affordable facility that can be more widely accessible to the local community, thus increasing use. …preferred option being to remove the Jubilee Stand and replace it with a smaller, lightweight indoor athletics building, retain and refurbish the West Stand and seating directly below, and remove the remaining external seating, replacing it with grass banks that encourage informal spectating. Of the two stands, the Jubilee Stand compromises the NSC’s integration into the park most, by blocking views, creating barriers and contributing to the poor quality of the boundary areas. The West stand is better integrated into the topography of the landscape and also forms part of the set piece of the original 1964 NSC, so it is recommended to retain the West stand and remove the Jubilee Stand.
- recommends the relocation of large sports pitches to the perimeter of the site, opening up the centre with the ‘outdoor hub’, which encourages a wider community use, informal physical activity, play as a pathway to sport and brings green space and parkland into the centre of the site.
- The outdoor pitches are re-organised into clusters for each sport, to aid wayfinding.
- It is proposed to refurbish the disused bar building an adjacent indoor 5-a-side pitch to create a new hub at the heart of the centre …The hub would contain a bar/café, club rooms and social space, changing facilities for the outdoor sports, teaching space, conference facilities and flexible floor space that could be used for a number of facilities including sport-related workspace, the Crystal Palace physiotherapy clinic, soft play, accommodation, or sports-related retail.
- recommends that the Lodge buildings are removed, facilities consolidated into the Hub building, and the area returned to parkland. This requires further review at the next stage.
The main buildings
- The building is refurbished and reconfigured internally… Health and fitness facilities are relocated to the front of the building to improve visibility with the aim to attract new users. Additional gym studios are constructed to enhance this offer.
- An internal glazed screen is proposed to separate the pools from the sports hall – along with refurbishment of the building façade and envelope, which would significantly improve the environmental conditions for users.
- The CP Physio Centre is a major health care provider in the CP area… provides in the order of 140,000 health interventions annually and has been established in its current structure for 20 years. It is both a major local employer and delivers a wide range of health services to inactive people and people with health conditions including diabetes. The potential for integrating and co-locating the Centre within the enhanced NSC facilities in order to support the delivery of GLA and Sport England strategic outcomes around physical and mental wellbeing, social integration and workforce development are clearly very significant. The Centre also generates sufficient income from a mix of NHS contracts (>50%) and private clients to pay a commercial rent.
18th November 2019 – D2526 Crystal Palace National Sports Centre concept design
Mayoral decision signed that the Mayor approves: £1,020,000 for further feasibility and options appraisal for the NSC estate, progressing to concept design stage. This includes procuring a new operator, as the current contract ends in March 2021. The Mayor approves:
- Expenditure of up to £150,000 to appoint a specialist leisure consultant to assist the GLA in the procurement of a new leisure operator for the NSC;
- Expenditure of up to £270,000 for required surveys for the NSC estate, including a measured survey, arboricultural survey, and intrusive building and services condition survey; and
- Expenditure of up to £600,000 for architectural and consultancy services to develop the feasibility design work to concept design stage, reflecting RIBA stage 2, including outline structural and building services design, associated project strategies, preliminary cost information, final project brief and business plan.
A range of options have been considered, including the ‘mothballing’ of the NSC and transferal of the lease to a 3rd party. The strategic investment case for each has been reviewed against its ability to deliver a reduction in the need for continued subsidy and the potential for a positive annual return dependent on the mix of sporting and leisure uses.
The expected outcomes include:
- the engagement of a full project team to assist in developing and finalising the project brief and design;
- the development of a funding strategy and schedule for funding applications for external partners, including the production of an evidence portfolio that makes the case for investment in the NSC;
- the development of a project programme, taking into account design stages, funding processes, procurement, ongoing stakeholder consultation, and planning consent periods;
- the development of a preliminary construction programme, including phasing sequencing studies to reflect optimal operational usage, construction schedule and buildability;
- the production of a business strategy which interrogates appropriate commercial opportunities to sit alongside the sports facilities at the NSC;
- a full transport and travel plan, to integrate parking strategies and inform best practice provision;
- a holistic rebranding and visual identity exercise for the NSC, including a renaming exercise to reposition the centre as no longer of ‘National’ status; and
- detailed design development on the preferred capital works option.
The GLA are working with TfL procurement to consider ways in which to further extend the existing contract to avoid temporary closure of the centre. The specification will need to define the intended development works for the NSC, therefore it has not been appropriate to retender until the future of the NSC has greater clarity.
Click here for the full details: md2526_crystal_palace_national_sports_centre_concept_design_development
Supporting documents: md2526_part_2
- The cost of solely modernising the centre to current standards could be as much as £36.5m. To deliver some of the more transformative impacts that are being set out in the options, the capital cost is likely to be £46.5m
- Consideration to mothball the centre would require capital works similar as the NSC is Grade II* (with Historic England).
- The facilities are deteriorating and are in significant need of investment, in part due to the underspend of required maintenance across decades.
- Swimming pool viewing corridor need urgent structural attention and the drainage system for the pools needs significant work or replacement.
9th May 2019 – Half A Century In Athletics – John Powell Retires
Reported in Athletics Weekly 9th May 2019, special Spotlight feature on John Powell MBE. CPSP adds a HUGE thank you for his amazing achievements to UK athletics, and his lifelong dedication to athletics at Crystal Palace and CPNSC ! John will be staying on as chair of CPSP to ensue there a fitting legacy is developed at the NSC for South London.
5th April 2019
This April marks *150 Years* of cycling in the grounds of Crystal Palace. The oldest venue of continous cycle racing since 1869, a cycling tradition ongoing with CP Crits, Dulwich Paragon, CP Tri, London Youth Games and many more!
Crystal Palace Crits 1869 – 2019 , read our special report (click here).
26th February 2019
GLA announce the Design Option survey CLOSES on 12th March 2019 for survey responses.
9th February 2019
GLA showed their latest overall NSC site plan at their last public engagement event at the Crystal Palace NSC. The venue was said to be of “Regional significance” for sports with over 7500 members, with a strategic need for the 50m pool, nationally recognised diving programme, local and regional need for athletics, indoor and events, serving most London boroughs with strongest demands across South London.
Feedback on the plans is still open for a short period as the consultants prepare their final report (due in a few weeks time). More work is still to be done, including parking needs (scale, combined park management plan and parking location). The NSC plan shown is not final, and indicates current thinking. Final plans (inside and outside) will be further shaped/changed by Mayor of London funding, strategic needs and sporting grants from sports and regional bodies, investment partners, new Operators procurement tender and their requirements.
If adopted, headline impacts will include:
- A fraction of the current parking capacity, and further away from the main centre.
- Loss of the popular training dome, and loss of all indoor football.
- Demolition of the Lodge.
- Demolition of the Jubilee Stand, potentially replaced with an indoor track (but overall much shorter than present).
- Potentially enhanced hockey facilities, with reduced outdoor football.
- Demolition of all Stadium seating except the covered seating area on the West Stadium
- Outdoor 400m track remains, but uncertainty on surface of the infill.
- Numerous access issues (motor and foot) thus-far unanswered by planners
- Sizes and final locations of dedicated Strength and Conditioning, potential new ‘Club House’, gymnastics, and NHS and Sports Injury Physiotherapy Services remain vague.
- Option to maintain the 25m pool.
Overall Site Plan (9/2/2019) Summary:
- (1) New accessible pedestrian route from Crystal Palace Station.
- Retention of 25m pool, and adjoining college teaching block. This is not yet agreed, and subject to demand planning/ viability / funding being assessed with aquatic stakeholders. Proposal being further explored is with existing swimming pool space maintained for diving, 50m and 25m pools.
- NSC main hall reconfigured with potential to relocate leisure fitness to the front, main event arena enhanced, potential for dedicated gymnastics area on North Balcony, potential for dry diving moved to the rear. Significant work into finding a technical solution so reduce heat and noise impact between wet side/ dry side of main hall.
- (18) Demolition of The Lodge and its conference centre (with consideration ongoing to re-provide elsewhere within the NSC site or hub). Current proposals removes transport access that serve the Main Hall arena for events and its loading demands.
- (9) Demolition of Jubilee stand, replaced by new building for indoor track and strength conditioning facility. GLA yet to commit their plans for a sufficiently long indoor track (including run off distance) needed training demands. CPSP has requested c 120m in overall length and to appropriately relocate Crystal Palace Sports Physio including their NHS services and Capel Manor College.
- (2) Overall parking rationalised and substantially reduced (c150 spaces), and located by the West Stadium (with all parking removed by the lodge and Jubilee stand). Wider Bromley park plans removes all car parking north of the NSC centre in the park (from off Ledrington Road). Potential new NSC coach parking provided by stadium off the NSC’s dedicated service access road.
- (7) Lorry and service demands to NSC maintained along service road to rear of NSC and combined as new park shared space.
- (10), (15) – Permanent loss of indoor five-a-side. Re-use site of the old bar and café as a new “hub”. Final shortlist of potential uses in the “hub” are not agreed. Potentials uses: new lift access, café, physio rooms, accommodation, educational / mixed use, relocated conference facilities, (replacing the Lodge), potential outside changing rooms. A Club House was not suggested at Conference event.
- (17) Potential new facility under high level walkway for bouldering.
- (4), (5) (6), (12), (13) – open public area outside NSC main hall and new “hub” and under walkway. Provides “access into sport” public informal facilities mainly for children. Relocated stairway.
- (3), (16), (19) – Permanently remove indoor football Dome. Relocate Hockey (replacing the CPFC Academy pitch is) and potential for second hockey pitch. Potential for small-sided football synthetic outdoor pitch next to NSC and service road (uncovered). Ongoing discussions with Football and Hockey and existing outdoor NSC stakeholders. CPSP has asked to have assessed the viability of temporary “seasonal use” dome for outdoor sports, including football and beach volleyball.
- (8) The West Stadium partly demolished leaving the covered section. Removed seating to be integrated into park/landscape. Grass banks suitable for temporary seating.
- (11), (14) – East end of walkway to be reconfigured, with new accessible paths to service road level.
What happens next?
The survey on the design options will close on Tuesday 12th March
CPSP understands that the consultants NSC Final Feasibility report is expected end March 2019.
The ongoing email contact for the GLA project team is NSC@london.gov.uk . Please update CPSP with your comments, concerns and opportunities for this NSC planning at email@example.com and current NSC operations.
5th February 2019
The NSC’s future design options are being made public finally, with the final public event about the future of the Crystal Palace NSC on Saturday 9th February.
Whilst welcoming draft GLA design proposals for Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, the Crystal Palace Sports Partnership (CPSP) last week warned of significant concerns over key elements that could compromise the entire future of the site’s operations. Read the full statement here:
27th January 2019
The CPSP petition to save sports at CP NSC smashes 16000 record!
4th January 2019
The Mayor of London’s year long consultation into the future of the CP NSC concludes with the “final public event” and a Community Conference on Saturday 9th of February. Resister your interest here (on Eventbrite) to attend. The Community Conference event scheduled as:
- 11am to 3pm – in the foyer of the NSC Main Building, with a display of the proposals for the future of the Centre as well as entertainment for children. At 1pm there will be more entertainment, including an inflatable speed cage and a looping video celebrating the Centre.
- 3pm to 4pm – A presentation of design proposals by the project team and a talk through the next steps in fulfilling that vision. This will take place in the Arena in the Main Building at the Centre.
- 4pm to 5pm – A chance to meet the project team and discuss the future of the Centre and to answer any questions about the proposals and next steps.
Note – there is also a major swimming event due in the NSC this day, and centre may be more busy than normal.
See the NSC workshop draft studies and options (click here), and respond to the “Trialling the Design Options” NSC survey www.on-your-marks.co.uk/#questionnaire
This final public event follows the Mayor of London’s Neil Allen Associates sporting needs report into the NSC that started in 2017. Read their Sporting Facility Assessment National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace – A Final Report.pdf
1st January 2019!
2019 marks 150 Years of Cycling at Crystal Palace! The oldest venue of ongoing cycle racing since 1869, a tradition continued with CP Crits, CP Triathlon and many other cycle races in Crystal Palace… read about this amazing cycling heritage here…
21st November 2018
Workshops were staged at the NSC in October, organised by the GLA for the Mayor of London on the future of Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. See the NSC workshop draft studies and options (click here)
All options demolish most of the athletics stadium and Jubilee Stand, leaving just the covered seated area in the West Stand, and keeping the high level walkway to access the NSC. None of the options have an agreed budget nor agreed funding or investment plan. A brand new building to replace the Jubilee Stand is said to potentially contain a new indoor track area and weight lifting gym. The area under the existing high level walkway (currently the indoor track) would become a new outdoor public area, allowing “more informal physical activity” to provide “a pathway into sport”, say the proposals.
The new GLA online questionnaire gives little indication that the GLA are also potentially demolishing the 25m pool. At the workshops, the GLA were considering either investing in a modernised 25m pool, or combine all 25m pool and 50m pool uses into one pool by adding a new ‘moveable floor and boom’ into the 50m pool (and demolish the 25m pool). Illustrations were provided.
At the workshops, options considered removal of most existing NSC car, coach, and minibus parking areas, and for NSC car parking to be rationalised to the area behind the West Stand. CPSP believe this could be woefully inadequate and a move that could sound the death knell for many activities and sports. Future park and NSC coach parking was said to be part of the wider Crystal Palace Park regeneration plans (the park is owned by Bromley Council), that removes the park’s car and coach parking from the current centre of the park, to the edges of the park.
The GLA design options included the potential demolishing of the Lodge accommodation and conference area, and potential reduction in the combined hockey and football sports facilities. The existing (but disused) stadium bar and stadium hospitably area would be rebranded as a “hub”. This could bring back a bar or clubrooms, and potential repurposing of the indoor football sports area with other new facilities. There was no commitment to maintain the size and scale of the Crystal Palace Physio Group, one of the local area’s largest employers, and their local NHS Community Healthcare services on site.
Inside the Main Hall, new designs were discussed to better protect the dry side / wet side and make the centre operate more efficiently. There remains uncertainty on how the spaces will be finally used, and if, subject as part of the new procurement and operator contract.
The GLA picked out some of their workshop design options to illustrate their wider public survey. But, feedback on all the NSC design options is needed, along with hearing the public’s priorities for the key NSC areas to be improved.
“Trialling the Design Options” survey link:
A Community Conference type event is expected in late December or early in the New Year to show the GLA’s finalised design option plans.
John Powell, Chair of CPSP commented: “The detailed workshop design options as presented had not been consulted with Crystal Palace Sports Partnership in any form in advance, which was disappointing.” John added: “The access plans are farcical at this stage and, like many details, they have not been thought through properly if at all.
“The complete lack of agreed funding and the new uninspired planning objectives gives any future Mayor a clear platform to bulldoze away exceptional sporting heritage at Crystal Palace. If you want to save the sporting and aquatics and event legacy for South London, this is the time to let GLA know your views on the proposed NSC design options.”
16th November 2018
Track stars united in bid to save Crystal Palace athletics stadium from bulldozers, reported in the Evening Standard (here)…
Former stars of British athletics have warned officials run the risk of erasing a generation of future London Olympians if the bulldozers are brought in to the “Wembley of track and field”.
Conrad Williams, who won European and Commonwealth gold, as well as world silver, oversees a group of athletes training at the venue five times a week. “This used to be a platform, a place where a generation of athletes could dream of Olympic success… There’s nothing like this anymore. This is our Wembley of track and field — and if our Wembley goes, it leaves a big hole in the area.”
Meanwhile, former European and Commonwealth long jump medallist Jade Johnson, who has trained at the venue for over a quarter of a century, said the facilities were too precious to lose. “Crystal Palace is an amazing place and it just needs the support and investment to bring it to be the place it deserves to be,” she said. “Everything was taken from Crystal Palace with the arrival of the London Stadium, but what’s the point as we can’t train there? There’s so much that could be done. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to save Crystal Palace.”
10th October 2018 (update)
Under the project banner of On Your Marks! the Mayor of London will determine the future of the Crystal Palace NSC. The final development options may include potential new facilities, and, what existing facilities will be modernised, re-configured, or demolished.
What YOU can do:
- Go to the NSC Design Options workshop events.
- Make your top NSC priorities clear, and post at NSC reception display and ask the Mayor of London How To Help!
- View the draft design option here
- Complete the NSC final development survey : www.ON-YOUR-MARKS.co.uk/#questionnaire
- Further events:
- See How To Help for other ways to get involved and save athletics and sports at Crystal Palace.
ALL… current and future new facilities, including the 25m pool, Jubilee Stand, conference facilities, and outdoor areas are under review and may be subject to future planning application approval.
After repeated NSC short-term Operator contract extensions, significant investment is now needed. The GLA is open to sponsors and potential partners to come forward to support this new Masterplan and its new operating model. The scale of the centre makes it a truly unique London multi sports, event and community asset, with over 7,000 members (visiting from nearly all London boroughs).
And, it has one of London’s largest ‘learn to swim’ programmes that is measured in 1000s of additional members. With clubs and event (non-member) activities every week, it’s not surprising the GLA’s estimate the centre has over 700,000 user visits PA.
Workshops timed for the last August bank holiday week, revealed GLA and Mayor of London’s thinking…
Upcoming CP NSC Engagement Events
Planning design options workshops are due in early October and November to review and inform the developing Masterplan options for the Centre. This work will integrate the NSC with the wider park (see Crystal Palace Park regeneration plans also underway by Bromley Council).
John Powell, chair of CPSP, commented “There have been many false starts regarding the future of the NSC, and there are many people who understandable feel this is just another exercise that will amount to nothing. CPSP can assure its partners and all stakeholders that this process will lead to a long term strategy for the centre which will shape its future. By the time we enter the New Year the opportunity will have passed, and the Mayor of London will be looking to make a decision.
“If you care – have your say. There is a questionnaire on the website if you can’t make any of the open forums, so at the very least, please complete this as fully as possible. Outside of this, CPSP will be pleased to hear from any stakeholders or partners who have any questions: either we will provide answers, or we will collaborate with the project teams and the GLA to provide the necessary information.”
Act now to have your say, or the Mayor of London will beat you to it!
The Mayor of London and GLA release the long overdue CPSP request and FOI for the £25,000 Neil Allen Associates “final” sporting needs report into the NSC, from July 2018: Sporting Facility Assessment National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace – A Final Report.pdf
This builds on the £75,000 report by CSM in 2014/15 also into the future of NSC, 1st CSM Strategic final report (redacted for publication).pdf.
14th September 2018
Crystal Palace athletics stadium faces last chance. Full Evening Standard report here.
5th September 2018
The petition to save athletics and sports at Crystal Palace NSC races over 15,000 as Olympian Jade Johnson and Jo Calvino speak out on ITV London News this week (reporting by Amy Lewis). This is a petition increase of over 10,000 since 2017!
John Powell MBE, Chair of CPSP commented: “Great to have ITV news spotlight the issues at the Crystal Palace NSC at this iconic London sporting and event venue. But the scale of sports now at risk at the NSC, and the potential impact to clubs and users can’t be covered within a very short bulletin. More media coverage is welcomed as this consultation progresses.”
17 August 2018
ON YOUR MARKS AND SET TO ACT NOW!
CPSP are calling on everyone who has any cause to care about the future of the centre to take part in the online survey and a series of consultation events programmed for the coming weeks. “The fact also that early events of this new process have been scheduled for summer bank holiday week, frankly beggars belief with all the schools still off and a huge number of people still away.” commented John Powell MBE.
20 July 2018
NSC Consultation Update
CPSP are excited to hear that new consultants have been appointed for the second phase of the consultation process that will help plan out the future of the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre ( NSC). CPSP are looking forward to further partnership engagement to find a positive vision for the NSC that enhances all current sports and the huge range of sporting opportunities the NSC provides. We have now been supplied with the NAA Executive Summary and a version of the “confidential” full report (these were the consultants who looked into usage and demand earlier this year). We are seeking for this to be shared more widely as soon as possible, as the report has much that is useful, but also has many omissions.
With the second phase of consultation work now starting in earnest, and with significantly reduced time this year to complete following earlier delays, the risk of another rushed NSC consultation remains a concern. This said, we look forward to working with all stakeholders, partners and users, to find a long term and sustainable future for the NSC. As we understand the following have have been appointed to support this new consultation phase:
Continuum – Sports Consultants
Mott McDonald – M&E, surveying, cost consulting
Turleys – Heritage consultants
Pidgin Perfect – Engagement and consultation consultants
Kinnear Landscape Architects.
There will be a range of consultation events planned by the GLA in a few weeks’ time, with a final NSC report outcome to be presented to the Mayor in early 2019. We now have the real prospect of a cliff edge end to the NSC: operators, GLL, have currently a hard contract end date of end March 31st 2020. As we understand, no new centre bookings are being taking beyond this date. CPSP is pressing for the GLA to initiate transition planning now, or the risk of sports, coaches and events being lost from the centre will quickly emerge.
John Powell MBE
20th July 2018
Have your say on the draft London Sport Strategy
The Mayor wants London to be the most socially integrated and active city in the world.
What’s your view for the Mayor of London’s only major sport centre he directly owns in South London, the Crystal Palace NSC? What is your vision and priority this unique multi-sports hub and event centre should play for London? It’s the only 50m in the region and Kent. What special considerations for the health and the sporting future of South London is needed?
If you are responding on behalf of an organisation, you are invited to you share your views and recommendations with this survey (click here).
The consultation is open until 12 October 2018.
5th July 2018
Team GB stars call for city to support London Youth Games!
At this year’s London finals, London Youth Games today launched #SupportYourGames with TeamGB champions, as they look to find new supporters and backers. See and here why in this short video here…
Over 30 different sports and 11 para-sports, culminate in the Finals weekend at Crystal Palace NSC. Over 130,000 young people from the city currently take part in the Games, which is supported by Sport England and all London Boroughs. However, financial backing is needed for it to continue at its current scale and to ensure that those currently involved, along with future generations, do not miss out on taking part in years to come.
Jon Hughes, Chief Executive, LYG: “There is no other event and organisation better at uniting young people from across all London’s 33 Boroughs and communities than the London Youth Games. Taking part also helps young people’s personal development, physical and mental health, and helps to ensure that they feel a part of their local community and their city”
For prospective sponsors and backers, please get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org
LYG started in 1977, and 40+ years later, CP NSC has been their home, with over 1.5 MILLION participants! It’s a mini Olympics for many Londoners. So, to all Londoners out there, please support the London Your Games, #SupportYourGames.
Read the full LYG story more here.
26th June 2018
Crystal Palace Park Community Forum update. GLA draft findings from the Neil Allen Associated sporting needs assessment of CP NSC shared by GLA (Community Forum Update ) and update with the Crystal Palace Park regeneration plans. The next GLA stage will see technical and procurement feasibility, and more detailed engagement and consultation from a new consultant team, led by Hawkins Brown architects.
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.
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.