Thursday, 30 July 2009

God is a Director, the Cinema is My Church

I just wanted to write a brief post to give some more publicity to the campaign in my local area of Crystal Palace, South London, to get a cinema. After lots of hard work encouraging arguably the best independent cinema company in the UK to set up shop in Crystal Palace, City Screen (owners of the PictureHouse Cinemas), were outbid for the perfect site; by a Church.

The site incidentally used to be a cinema many moons ago, is at the heart of the community and until recently was a Gala Bingo hall.

The Church in question, Kingsway International Christian Centre, is not local and will be attracting people from across London to its services, taking up valuable parking space, which is at a premium in Crystal Palace, and contributing little to the local economy. Now don't get me wrong, I am not anti-religion; each to their own I say. However, I am anti losing a valuable local site that could be used to much better and more appropriate effect.

With the loss of the bingo hall, Crystal Palace needs something that will revitalise that particular strech of the road and provide footfall for the areas many shops, bars, cafe's and restaurants; and entertainment for the people e.g. the elderly who have lost a place to socialise. And it appears that many of the local community feel the same.

I started a facebook campaign recently which has now got over 2,200 people who have signed up. Some slightly more enterprising individuals than myself have created a website, and a petition. In addition, a whole host of local people, many members of the local community forum have been involved in everything from creating t-shirts and leaflets, setting up protests and organising a campaign group. The local and even the London newspapers have written articles highlighting the campaign. This is a brilliant example of community spirit at its best and highligts the passion that people have about the area and what it needs.

Although KICC now own the site, they cannot use it for services until they get planning permission for a change of use; and this is where people power can have a real effect. If everyone who has signed the petition, facebook group or has shown an interest in the campaing contacts the London Borough of Bromley to make their views known, then hopefully they will see sense and refuse permission. Maybe one day Crystal Palace will get the cinema that it so badly wants.

If you're from the local area, from London or even just want to show some support for the campaign, follow some of the links for more information. Or let me know what you think in the comments section.
What do you think?


Louise said...

I've also started a pledge on Pledgebank:
asking for people to pledge to send in an objection when the time comes. I asked for just ten formal objectors before end of August - as filing an objector is somewhat more work that signing a petition - and there's already 17 pledgees within 4 days: Find the pledge at
Jusy another way of bringing people together around this.

Obviously Darren said...

Louise, this is a great idea. Thanks for starting this. I will be sure to pledge to fill in an objection. Is there going to be any guidance produced to assist people to do this, so that the objections relate to things which are likely to be considered by Bromley?

Queen's Pudding said...

I will ensure there is, Darren. I've been ploughing through the local plan that Bromley issued, and others can too. The idea is to share ideas.

Obviously Darren said...

Your post has just reminded me that I needed to pledge. Thanks. I have done it now!

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