CRYSTAL PALACE IS REVOLTING
The Crystal Palace Triangle has been described as “a very funny space between two erections” (they were, of course, referring to the transmitter towers at each end), It is a funny place and unique for London with its village atmosphere and a random community which is unusually close-knit.
Being the highest point of South London, we can look down on everybody, if only geographically.
It is also the meeting point of five London boroughs – Croydon, Bromley, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham – which has meant that some disastrous planning decisions have slipped through because nobody knew who was responsible for what until it was too late.
Now Crystal Palace is up in arms! We’ve always wanted a cinema (who wants to travel to Brixton or Beckenham?) and were delighted when the Ritzy chain put in an offer for the Gala Bingo Hall in Church Road. Then news reached us that they’d been outbid by Kingsway International Christian Centre, an evangelical Pentecostal church.
We’ve got a couple of those already and though entirely sympathetic to freedom of worship, 99 per cent of the local community want a cinema. It was built as a cinema, and could cater for all age groups, including the bingo players who’ve been left homeless.
It’s a no brainer.Most people could get there on foot. The bus station, with night buses, is five minutes away. Local shops, pubs and restaurants would benefit and the empty shops regenerated. There could be concerts, amateur theatre, art exhibitions etc. etc.
A church would involve huge parking problems with people coming in from outside the area and, as churchgoers would be unlikely to socialise in the triangle, local businesses wouldn’t benefit. Also the building would only be used on Sundays when, if they used amplified sound, quite a few people would lose their Sunday morning lie-ins.
To complicate issues, Gala Bingo is on the Bromley side of the road and the other side is Croydon. Why should one side of the road suffer the legislation of the other? There are also rumours of skulduggery behind closed doors, too complicated to go into here.
Obviously protests are being made through the proper channels, but it could drag on for years and we could still lose out, Perhaps a bit of direct action would bring matters to a head and generate maximum publicity.
a) Show our displeasure with both boroughs by sitting down in the middle of the road.
b) Kidnap Boris and get him to sort it out.
c) Squat the building.
d) All three.
This is a local issue and it’s up to us to fight our own battle, but there are people all over the country at the mercy of lousy legislation by their local council. At what point is enough enough and civil disobedience the right and proper thing to do?
This is a good subject for discussion. What is the breaking point when you have to sit down or stand up for your rights? Should we be more ready to put our heads on the block and give power back to the people? Is a bit of harmless sabotage a good thing? Etc. etc. etc.
Submitted by Jane – a Crystal Palace local.
Would you like to share your views on the proposed development of the old cinema by KICC? Do you remember going to the cinema when it was a Granada Cinema or even The Rialto? Share your memories with the Picture Palace Campaign