Historic track and field venue would be closed as part of plans outlined this week
Crystal Palace Stadium, which hosted Britain’s biggest athletics meetings from the early-1970s until 2011, would be bulldozed under plans being put forward for consultation.
The Greater London Authority this week revealed the proposals, which would see the stands taken down, the indoor facility removed and the outdoor track possibly disappear. A decision will be taken early in 2015 and, if any of the plans get the go-ahead, work would start on a phased basis from 2016.
The 15,000-seater arena was the spiritual home of British athletics for four decades. It followed on from the White City Stadium as host of the AAA Championships from 1971 to 1987 and staged some of the biggest international meetings from the late-1960s onwards.
However, it has been underused recently, particularly since UKA moved the London Diamond League to the Olympic Stadium in 2012.
It now hosts the big, annual London Youth Games, the South of England Championships, plus a handful of open meetings, but such huge stands are surplus to requirements.
The plans for the grade-two listed National Sports Centre of which the stadium is part include improvements for the nearby main building, which contains a swimming pool, gym and beach and football court, but the indoor straight would go.
A number of options for the outdoor stadium are being considering but none include keeping the stands. The GLA is reviewing demand to retain a community athletics track. A handful of training groups still use the track, which was built in 1964.
The public are being urged to contribute their views via a questionnaire, which is available until October 31.
A public exhibition will be open in the entrance to the NSP from October 13-27 and consultation sessions will run there on October 16 and October 18.
Bob Smith, London area manager for England Athletics, said: “We have spoken to the local clubs and athletics network with regards the GLA consultation about Crystal Palace. We are working to ensure the views and needs of the sport are heard by the GLA during the consultation period. While the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has provided a new facility for major competition, the weekly training needs of local athletes also need to be considered.
“We want clubs in the area to have access to appropriate and suitably maintained facilities; it is good that a new track has recently opened nearby at Coulsdon. We would encourage people in the area to submit their views as part of the ongoing consultation being held by GLA.”
This story first appeared in Athletics Weekly – out October 9.