A - I n f o s
a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists **

News in all languages
Last 40 posts (Homepage) Last two weeks' posts

The last 100 posts, according to language
Castellano_ Català_ Deutsch_ Nederlands_ English_ Français_ Italiano_ Polski_ Português_ Russkyi_ Suomi_ Svenska_ Türkçe_ The.Supplement
{Info on A-Infos}

(en) Freedom 6404 22 Feb, 2003 - A community in action

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 28 Mar 2003 08:33:36 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

On the night of 23rd December last year, a group of
park users calling themselves the Crystal Palace Park
Liberation Front (CPPLF) uprooted part of an
unsightly fence that's illegally enclosing the top ridge
of Crystal Palace Park. The fence stayed down for a
full fortnight, the longest time since it was put up.
While this was an effective action and attractive to the
local press, it was only a small part of a growing
campaign to undermine the determination of
park-owners Bromley Borough Council to attract
developers to the site. Two local residents are
currently seeking a judicial review that challenges the
borough's decision to enclose the land.

Bromley's initial response was to open an alternative
pathway into the park, while refusing to consider
whether or not the land should have been enclosed in
the first place. This was despite objections from
official bodies such as English Heritage and the
Disability Rights Commission, which is concerned
about loss of disabled access to the park (with the
ridge entrance fenced off, disabled users are forced to
use flights of steps or a vehicle entrance).

At the start of this year Bromley ran a 'consultation',
distributed through Anerley, Penge and Upper
Norwood libraries and advertised on the fence itself,
as well as on the council's website. It asked four
questions about the fence, the flytipping and the
proposed advertising boards (these were all phrased as
yes or no questions, though there was space for further
comments). Bromley only received 121 replies.

Many believe the consultation was only done as a
pathetic attempt at spoiling the court case, especially
since Bromley doesn't have a history of caring what the
residents of the area think. Indeed, the questions
failed to address the real issues, while Bromley's own
chronology of past events was plainly incorrect.

Around thirty local residents attended a council
meeting at which the outcome of the consultation was
discussed. Councillors decided that, in line with 83% of
the respondents, advertising hoardings wouldn't be
placed above the fence - a decision welcomed by
residents. But they also said the questionnaires were
invalid, because the majority response to the question,
"has the fence solved the problem?" was no. They
asked how this could be possible when the fence had
clearly solved the problem of flytipping. To residents,
of course, it's the fence itself that's the problem.
Many other actions continue against Bromley's fence.

Local amenity groups have met with councillors and
suggested solutions, such as alternative forms of
fencing and pedestrian access. Countless individuals
have written to councillors, MPs and the media, and
parts of the fence are frequently being repainted after
protest slogans such as 'if you build it, we will break it'
and 'free the park' are sprayed on.

The CPPLF action in December marked the second
time people have reopened the park for themselves
(the first was reported in Freedom, 5th October 2002).
Bromley will no doubt have to continue rebuilding and
repainting the fence regularly, until they take it down
for good.

The strength of the local community is inspiring, but
in Crystal Palace people have become used to fighting
to save their park. Five years ago, Bromley Council
announced plans to build a multiplex cinema on the
same site. These plans were finally dropped after a
combination of direct action, legal challenges,
marches, petitions, letter-writing and so on. It's only by
using such a huge range of tactics that battles like this
can be won.

So many complementary methods of attack not only
pose the greatest challenge to the council, but also
allow the maximum number of people to be involved.
A large cross-section of the community is involved,
from shop owners to whole families, from students to
environmentalists Ğ all those who use the park and
care about the community.

Many local amenity groups have been, and continue to
be, instrumental in bringing people together to fight
back on many issues. As well as challenging Bromley's
fence, they're also fighting the London Borough of
Croydon's new one-way system in Upper Norwood,
which is having a detrimental effect on shops in the
area. These very active groups help strengthen
community bonds by giving people the confidence and
support they need to change things for the better.

¥ On 12th February, community groups met Bromley
councillors and officials at Anerley Town Hall to
discuss the future of the park and the National Sports
Centre. After a heated discussion on the subject of the
fence, Bromley Council leader Michael Tickner agreed
to table the subject for discussion at the next meeting
of the council executive, with a view to replacing the
current three-metre fence with a smaller, palisade one.
This would allow residents full access to the hilltop.
Perhaps the council is starting to realise that residents
won't just walk away from a park they've fought for so

For more information email SaveCrystalPalacePark@
yahoo.co.uk or phone Crystal Palace Protest on 020
8653 8977.

Visit the info point on Thursday, Friday and Saturday
afternoons at 32 Church Road, Upper Norwood, London

****** The A-Infos News Service ******
News about and of interest to anarchists
COMMANDS: lists@ainfos.ca
REPLIES: a-infos-d@ainfos.ca
HELP: a-infos-org@ainfos.ca
WWW: http://www.ainfos.ca/
INFO: http://www.ainfos.ca/org

-To receive a-infos in one language only mail lists@ainfos.ca the message:
unsubscribe a-infos
subscribe a-infos-X
where X = en, ca, de, fr, etc. (i.e. the language code)

A-Infos Information Center