21st September, 2009.


Local community given deadline to object as support soars.

Supporters of the Cinema for Crystal Palace Campaign are being reminded that they only have until 1st October to object to the KICC’s proposed change of use for the former Gala Bingo at 25 Church Road.

Annabel Sidney, the leader of the campaign, says:

“The level of support within the community has been fantastic, now we need everyone to urgently follow this up and formally object to the planning application with Bromley Council.

Crystal Palace residents need a cinema – let the people have what they want.”

The campaign has been gathering pace and now has reached a milestone with over 5,000 members on the Facebook group (www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=93895723250). There are nearly 10,000 signatures on the paper and on-line petitions that are still in circulation. The campaign has also attracted the support of several celebrities including Spike Jonze, Pixie Lott and VV Brown.

A sample letter of objection is available on the campaign website (www.picture-palace.org) that contains key points and can be used as a template and this weekend (Saturday 26th/Sunday 27th) campaigners will be available between 10.30 -5pm to assist objectors in their letter writing outside Sainsburys on Westow Street.

The next public meeting is planned for 7.30pm on Thursday 24th September at the Grape &Grain, Anerley Hill.

Notes for Editors:

KICC and the Planning Process

KICC, a registered charity, and one of the fastest growing evangelical churches in Europe, purchased the Gala Bingo hall at 25 Church Road, Upper Norwood in June 2009, without having first acquired the correct change of use.

Without consulting the local community, KICC has applied to Bromley council for planning permission to change the use of the building from bingo hall (D2) to church/community use (D1) together with ancillary offices, cafe and bookshop. If granted, this would cause the Crystal Palace Triangle district centre to lose its only major leisure facility and replicate existing activities for a community already well-served by local churches.

The planning application was lodged on 9 September and the consultation period ends on the 1st October. The application reference number is 09/02202/FULL1. Bromley council are aiming to determine the application by 9 December.

City Screen

City Screen’s cinemas include the Brixton Ritzy and Greenwich Picturehouse. They remain interested in restoring the building to cinema use. They have a proven track record in regenerating areas and programming films for all members of the community.

Picture Palace campaign team

The team is an association of local residents, traders and cinema supporters, who volunteer their time and expertise to help bring a cinema back to Crystal Palace.

The building

The Rialto cinema was purpose built in1928. It later became the Granada before being supplanted by a bingo hall in 1968.

Crystal Palace Triangle district centre

The Upper Norwood/Crystal Palace Triangle district centre sits on the edges of five London boroughs – Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. Most of the businesses are in Croydon or Lambeth, but one side of Church Road, including the former cinema, is located in Bromley.

Crystal Palace film history

The Crystal Palace was the home of the Motograph Film Company for a short period from 1913. It actually made films on the Palace’s football pitch including ‘The Cup Final Mystery’ which featured Chelham playing Blacton Villa. The plot involved Chelham’s goalkeeper being kidnapped – twice. On the second occasion he is strung up in the girders of the Crystal Palace.

Among films Motograph reputedly made in the Crystal Palace grounds were ‘The Last Days of Pompeii’ and ‘Big Game Hunting in the North Pole Icefields’. Before the start of the Second World War another studios opened in the Crystal Palace/Upper Norwood area off what is now the top end of Jasper Road but was then called Ranger Road. The budding film producer who wanted to make religious films was a certain J Arthur Rank.

The Palace also featured in a 1935 film starring Stanley Holloway. Denis Gifford in his ‘British Film Catalogue 1895 – 1985’ says Play Up the Band involves a Northern euphonium player framed for theft on a visit to a Crystal Palace band contest. The Huntley Film Archives website says it contains “excellent shots of both the inside and outside of the Crystal Palace”.

Ken Russell, who at one stage lived in Church Road, Upper Norwood made his first film at the then-derelict (and since demolished) Crystal Palace high level station. The film appears in the Huntley register as film 3523 but – like the Stanley Holloway film -is not named on it. The Huntley website says the comedy, made in black and white, involved a girl following a performance artist who had a dog with him which wore angels wings.

Finally, and perhaps most famously, one scene from The Italian Job starring Michael Caine was also shot in the Palace grounds. “I only told you to blow the bloody doors off….”


Campaign website: www.picture-palace.org

Facebook group: www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=93895723250 On-line petition: www.petitiononline.com/acfcp

Comments from local residents: www.virtualnorwood.com/forum/index.php For further information please contact:

Annabel Sidney

e-mail: admin@picture-palace.org