Message from the Committee
It has been a busy two months for the campaign team since our last update and we, with technical advice from the Crystal Palace Triangle Planning Group, have been working hard behind the scenes.
From February to April we held a series of workshops to plan our strategy for how we move forward in this next phase of the campaign – the imminent arrival of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) at 25 Church Road.
The old Rialto still remains the focus of the campaign as it is the best site for a cinema in the area. It is the most important building for the vitality and regeneration of both Church Road and the district centre, and remains the only large D2 ‘Entertainment’ venue.
We have obtained free legal advice on planning and licensing issues regarding KICC’s use of the building and have been working with our elected representatives and local authorities to look at how together we can bring a cinema to Crystal Palace. We have also asked to meet with key representatives from Bromley and Croydon councils.
What is clear, as we move forward in this new phase, is that we cannot deliver a cinema alone. We need the support of everyone in the Crystal Palace community if we are to make it happen.
KICC and 25 Church Road
Having speculatively purchased 25 Church Road and despite being refused change of use from D2 ‘Entertainment’ to D1 ‘Place of Worship’, KICC is ploughing on with refurbishing the building and seems intent on operating a predominantly D1 use of the former cinema.
The PPC continues to monitor the situation
In January KICC undertook more major works. There is now a huge new extract flue on the roof as well as four large air conditioning fans. The PPC has learned that KICC has not applied for permission for the external works in a conservation area. We have raised this with Bromley council and liaised on other planning and licensing issues.
Proposed mixed usage falls outside the permitted D2 use class
Bromley planning officers have requested that KICC completes an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness in order to determine if the proposed events comply with the D2 use of the building. The current planned programme of events falls mainly outside of the permitted use class for the venue and cannot proceed without planning permission. Other activities may be within the lawful use class but cannot go ahead without a licence. We expect KICC soon to submit applications for either an entertainment licence or a temporary events notice, as well as for a Certificate of Lawfulness. These licences may be objected to. However, Bromley cannot approve a licence for events that fall outside the permitted use class of the building.
The venue can now hold 1,150 people
We understand that KICC has increased the capacity of the venue to hold up to 1,150 people. One of the reasons KICC was refused planning permission in the first place was due to the damaging impact the volume of traffic and parking from proposed congregations of 500 people would have upon the area. It is of great concern that the organisation now plans to run events at more than double that capacity, given the fact that the venue has no onsite parking and relies on the availability of free parking on the surrounding residential roads and shoppers’ spaces for its members.
Picturehouse Cinemas reconfirms its interest in Crystal Palace
Picturehouse Cinemas continues to maintain a keen interest in the area and recently gave us the following statement of intent: “Everything that has happened in Crystal Palace over the past 21 months has encouraged our view that it is top of our list of places where we’d like Picturehouse Cinemas to be. We know where we want to be and we have investment available. We can only hope that it cannot be too long before we can announce something positive for the community.”
Help bring a cinema to Crystal Palace
Once KICC accepts that it cannot deploy the building for its intended use, the Campaign hopes KICC will realise the inevitable, sell and move on.
In the meantime, we really value and need your continued support. Thank you! We will need your help very soon.
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For the latest information and updates you can come and meet the PPC team at the Dulwich Park Fair on Sunday 15 May. This is part of the Dulwich Festival which runs from the 6-15 May and we look forward to seeing you there.
We’ll also be setting up stall outside Sainsbury’s on Saturday 28 May.
Look out for our new leaflet coming through your letterbox; we’ll be putting out a call for volunteers to help us deliver it.