Mayor launches public consultation on plans to transform Crystal Palace sports centre

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, is calling on local residents and users of the National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace to contribute their views on redevelopment plans to improve its sporting, recreational and educational facilities and secure its long term future in the heart of south London.

The 1960’s grade II listed sports centre and historic stadium, much of which is now underused and in poor condition, was taken on by the Mayor in 2012 when the centre transferred from the London Development Agency to the Greater London Authority. The new plans aim to unlock the future potential of the site and restore it as a first class community asset.

The new plans would dramatically improve the public space around the sports centre by restoring the original (Joseph) Paxton Axis to the front of the building and making it more accessible through the park. A redesigned interior would preserve the original Olympic sized swimming pool, with a modernised health and fitness suite overlooking the park, and a ground floor reception, café, soft play facility, and climbing wall, linking to outdoor terracing, and playground.

In line with the Mayor’s manifesto commitment to use public assets to secure sites for ten free schools, a two-form entry primary school, and a new Capel Manor College building are among a number of possibilities being explored around the stadium site, alongside new landscaping and the option to maintain the athletics tracks.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“This is an exciting opportunity to reclaim one of London’s greatest sporting assets to benefit the local community and beyond. Set within the stunning Crystal Palace Park, and extremely well-connected since the birth of London Overground, the regeneration of this historic site will ensure its lasting legacy as a visitor attraction and centre of sporting and educational excellence, creating much needed regeneration in the heart of south London.”

The plans are designed to improve the wider park environment, which is managed by the London Borough of Bromley, and complement a £2.4 million improvement package announced in the summer as well as regeneration proposals to rebuild The Crystal Palace and restore the park.

Councillor Stephen Carr, Leader of Bromley Council said:

“The National Sports Centre is strategically important in many ways and plans which secure its future are to be welcomed. This consultation is also welcome so that local people can express their views and I would encourage them to do so. In the context of the park, although these proposals are separate from the proposal to rebuild The Crystal Palace and restore the park, they complement and naturally sit alongside the ZhongRong Group proposal. Especially in this context, the proposal to restore the so-called Paxton central axis is welcome as this brings almost separate parts of the park together, which is more in line with the original Paxton vision. We will continue to work to improve and secure the long term future of the park and negotiations and discussions with ZRG are continuing and need to remain confidential for now but when we can say more about this, we will.”

Local residents, users of the sports centre, and members of the general public are invited to feed into the consultation from today via an online survey. A public exhibition will open in the entrance to the centre on 13th October, and consultation sessions will run on 16th and 18th October.

Ref: 68529