It is just over two years since we started the campaign to bring a cinema to Crystal Palace. Time has flown by and it has been brilliant seeing such a diverse community coming together to support our vision. We remain very committed as we move into our third year.
We believe that a cinema with a strong community focus will be a fantastic vehicle to drive forward the economic, cultural and social development of Crystal Palace as a sustainable district centre. We have seen the impact of local cinemas elsewhere and we know that this can transform and regenerate communities.
Croydon council has identified Crystal Palace as an area of special interest by virtue of the cluster of artists and creative businesses in the district centre. Croydon also acknowledges in its latest planning document – which will guide how the area should be developed over the coming years – that the whole of the borough is poorly served in terms of its cultural offer i.e. cinemas and theatres. It sets out the need for cultural activity, with the distinct benefits it can bring, such as complementing neighbouring business and residential communities, diversifying the night time economy and helping to attract inward investment.
Crystal Palace lacks a significant cultural and leisure offer.
As a campaign we are exploring all options for a cinema in the area. Much relies on persuading our local authorities to be more proactive in their approach to identifying development opportunities and working in partnership with key property owners and developers in Crystal Palace to bring forward the mix of uses that are needed to create a district centre as a great place to live, work and play. This is a major challenge, even in the age of “Localism”.
We recognise the strength of feeling regarding the former Rialto cinema at 25 Church Road and particularly about how it is used. It remains our only significant ‘D2’ leisure/entertainment building and together we worked hard to retain the planning use of this heritage asset.
You have told us that this is an important building for shaping the future of the area. We know the potential of the building to be a key cultural anchor for the district centre, a fantastic vehicle for local meaning and identity, and a unique economic asset for the benefit of the Crystal Palace community. We also recognise that Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) owns the building but does not have planning permission to use the building either as a church or as a mixed use venue as it currently proposes. This creates an impasse for both KICC and the Campaign.
For as long as KICC’s proposed uses do not fall within the ‘D2’ leisure/entertainment Use Class we believe it is legitimate to continue our focus on preserving and campaigning for an entertainment use i.e. a cinema – which would complement existing trade, create footfall throughout the day, support the night time economy and which would not harm the development of Crystal Palace as a sustainable and thriving place for the people that live, work and use the Triangle for leisure, recreational and retail purposes.
We remain optimistic that once KICC realises that it cannot lawfully use the building for the purpose for which it was purchased, it will reconsider its approach. We trust that once it engages with and consults the local community, as a Charity it will look again at its business case and its public benefit, and extend some compassion by either selling or leasing the building so it can be used as commercial cinema, which is the deep wish of so many people.
We still have a long way to go but the Campaign team is committed to working hard to bring the whole community together to support the development of a new cinema for Crystal Palace.
Thank you for supporting the campaign.
Let’s make it happen!
We need new committee members
We are looking to refresh and expand our committee. If you are committed to our vision and think you can help realise our ambition to bring a cinema to Crystal Palace, have some time to offer on a regular basis and, particularly, experience in any of the following areas then please get in touch and tell us what you can bring to the team by Sunday 7 August:
Communications and PR ** Website design, construction and content management ** Planning and licensing ** Property and development **Fundraising and events organisation
You can contact the team by emailing [email protected]
We look forward to hearing from you.