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.
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 www.picture-palace.org