A plan which would see Capel Manor College expand their operations at Crystal Palace Park is set to be opposed by the trust tasked with the protection and management of the parkland.

The college – which specialises in outdoor education including horticulture, countryside management, and arboriculture – plan on submitting an outline planning application to Bromley Council in January.

Their vision includes the relocation of the college’s current base in the National Sports Centre stadium to a new, purpose-built building on the edge of the park at Anerley Hill. 

They would also redevelop the college’s farm, including the replacement of the existing classrooms with a new two-storey teaching building.

However the plans have drawn the ire of Crystal Palace Park Trust, the body tasked with the gradual take-over of park management from Bromley council.

Among the trust’s concerns are the development of green belt at the park, which they say is “by planning definition, inappropriate development”.

They’ve also voiced concerns over a lack of studies regarding the visual impact of the development, which the college could provide following the granting of outline planning permission – something the trust opposes.

“These are not matters of mere detail, but essential considerations which need to be assessed in full to enable the community and the planning authority to understand what is proposed,” a statement from the trust said.

Crystal Palace Park Trust Joint Chair, Philip Kolvin QC, added: “We are working in partnership with the London Borough of Bromley to ensure that the park remains a green, heritage asset for the benefit of future generations.”

“We are supportive of the educational role which the college plays, and have no difficulty with their continuing to occupy the Jubilee Stand but their current proposals to expand into the green fabric of the park are directly inconsistent with the planning framework for the park.  As such we cannot support them.”

The college states the farm – which attracts hundreds of visitors every week free-of-charge who come to see the varied stable of animals living there – could attract nmore visitors with a revamp.

A consultation held by the college in summer 2019 found 65 per cent of respondents in favour of rebuilding the farm with better access and facilities.

According to the college, the proposals for both sites “include significantly enhanced facilities including new and purpose built animal enclosures improving the welfare of the animals”.

“High quality teaching and workshop spaces will be well-equipped environments for students to improve their skills,” the college states.