While generally supportive of the planned Selhurst Park expansion, newly-released report by the Croydon Planning Committee voices concerns over design, traffic and housing, among other issues. Crystal Palace and KSS Group can take them into account.
Croydon planners have raised some concerns regarding the design of new Selhurst Park main stand. They note that securing long-term presence of Crystal Palace FC in Croydon remains beneficial for the community, there are issues that need to be addressed regarding planned expansion of the stadium.
As presented in December, Selhurst Park is expected to grow by 8,000 seats and as much as 21,000 m2 in terms of floor space. Overall, the plan is seen as beneficial.
“The policy goes onto state that the Council will ensure that any redevelopment would enhance the Club’s position, with a football stadium which makes a significant contribution to the Borough. Subject to compliance with the other detailed policies in the Development Plan there is no objection in principle to the proposed stadium expansion.” the 9-page report reads.
“There is an expectation that this scheme and the extent to which it will significantly respond effectively to the existing and potential fan base of the Club should provide wider benefits to the local area and the local community, in terms of employment and training opportunities.”
But while Crystal Palace improving their profile is good for Croydon, there is cost for nearby residents. As we already wrote, some housing would have to be removed, which forces relocation of the residents. Detailed solution to this issue is yet to be found, but Crystal Palace pledged to take care of it.
The report also outlines concerns regarding the plaza in front of the new main stand.
“There is concern that the large area of proposed car parking detracts from the area’s sense of place. Additionally, no detail has been provided in terms of how the site will be serviced (and what potential conflicts would exist in terms of fans, cars and coaches, delivery vehicles, media vans etc). It is also currently unclear how pedestrian movements will be facilitated and separated from vehicles (concerns are raised in relation to this shortcoming).
“The scheme appears to lack development of the design in terms of landscaping and place-making design both within the site bounds and beyond it.” the report reads, suggesting a number of improvements.
But perhaps most important are the aesthetic concerns. “There is concern that the overall design concept (utilising both “The Crystal Palace” and Eagle motifs) appears to be competing with each other. The Eagle ‘wings’ and the vaulted arched form (reflecting the historic Crystal Palace Exhibition Hall) could well be argued as being tokenistic and not well integrated into the building form and architectural language.
“In addition, there is concern that the current external form has too great a corporate appearance, which might well weaken the conceptual motifs. Specifically “The Crystal Palace” motif in particular, which is the preferred aesthetic, requires a lot more development beyond the subtle illusion of its silhouette. This is not to encourage a pastiche, but embedding a modern interpretation of the intricate ironmongery that made the “Palace” iconic into the proposed architectural language and across the full elevation.”
The Planning Committee's report makes no final recommendation as it's a very early stage of the planning process. There are specific recommendations made as to what should be improved in later stages.