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Category Archives: Mosque, Temple, church…

Cinema for Crystal Palace – Picture Palace Campaign June 2012 Update

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The Picture Palace Campaign is three years old on 24 June 2012! 
What is happening at 25 Church Road?

On 24 June 2009 we set up the Picture Palace Campaign. The catalyst was the sale of the Gala Bingo Hall, 25 Church Road (the former 1920’s art deco Rialto cinema), to Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC), which narrowly outbid independent cinema operator City Screen that runs Picturehouse Cinemas.

In December 2009, KICC was refused planning permission for change of use from D2 “Entertainment” to D1 “Place of Worship”.

Since that refusal KICC has undertaken extensive external and internal renovation works to the building – but for what purpose? To date, KICC has refused to consult with the local community or talk to our local MPs about its plans for the building, despite Charity Commission guidelines suggesting that it should do so.

In May 2012, the Picture Palace Campaign has written again to our three local MPs asking them to raise this issue directly with KICC’s trustees. We have also asked Bromley council to undertake an inspection of the building to ascertain how KICC intends to use it.

In April 2011, Bromley council advised KICC that its revised plans for the building “would not appear to fall within the Use Class D2 and would appear to require planning permission” and in November last year, hundreds of local residents and traders objected again to KICC’s latest planning applications to undertake external alterations to the building. These were refused.

You have told us that this is an important building for shaping the future of the area. We know the potential of the building to be a key cultural anchor for the district centre, a fantastic vehicle for local meaning and identity, and a unique economic asset for the benefit of the Crystal Palace community. This important cultural and heritage building is still not being used – why?

A full campaign update will follow soon.

Thank you
We are a community campaign. Your continued support and views are important to us – we really appreciate it!

It’s nearly three years 
since KICC purchased 25 Church Road as a D1 ‘Place of worship’ for its Wimbledon congregation for which planning permission for change of use from D2 “Entertainment” was overwhelmingly refused because i) the application to turn the only D2 venue in Crystal Palace into the 18th D1 building went against town centre policies for a mix of uses essential for maintaining the vitality and viability of the district centre. It was said to be harmful to the social, cultural and economic characteristics of the area; and ii) the volume of traffic and parking from proposed congregations of 500 people would have a damaging effect on the area. The fact that the venue has no parking would mean that KICC would rely on the availability of space on the surrounding residential roads and town centre shoppers’ car park for its patrons. To read more go to


Thornton Heath’s many small churches…

It strikes me that the many little churches, are probably the most effective bulwark against racism in Thornton Heath at present. I might be wrong but there seems to be little else for young people or parents to turn to. e.g. As C pointed out there is no adventure playground. A place that often plays a role in supporting young people who are under various forms of pressure.

The non-establishment churches seem to be able to combine a mixture of black cultural identity reinforcement, emotional viserality, ethical frameworks and role models combined with an appearance of repectability which allows the congregations young people to appear acceptable to a racist white world of work. Unfortunately what goes with all this is a lack of critique and thinking about how to change that world. Anger is subsummed by ritual I guess.

Hip hop broadly offers a critique and form of cultural resistance but only a minority of young people can make a living from this… leaving the others to adjust to a second life or turn to crime and gang culture. It not a great choice at the moment for black youth.
TH - Church Notice
Why adventure play?

I just found (jan 2010) this quote:
“The church has been more than a wellspring from which African-American music has poured forth over time. In 1963’s Blues People, a seminal treatise on the music that emerged from the Negro experience in America, Leroi Jones observes: “The early black Christian churches or the pre-church ‘praise houses’ became essential focal points of Negro social life. The relative autonomy of the developing Negro Christian religious gathering made it one of the only areas in the slave’s life where he was relatively free of the white man’s domination.”
In October of the same year, black citizens in Selma, Alabama held mass meetings to consolidate their efforts in the struggle for civil rights. True to Jones’s observations, these gatherings took place in churches. At one meeting they were led in song by a high school girl by the name of Betty Fikes. The local sheriff, Jim Clark, headed up a posse that awaited the congregation outside the church.” Kevin Le Gendre
liner notes from ‘Songs of protest: People Get Ready!’ Warner 2004.