£67m Crystal Palace Park masterplan unveiled
The London Development Agency's (LDA) £67.5million masterplan for Crystal Palace Park has received mixed reviews since its unveiling last week.
Plans include building a new sports centre in the park, creating a tree canopy to mimic the outline of the palace, which burned down in 1936, and the restoration of the Paxton Axis walkway through the park.
Controversial proposals to build housing on two parts of the park are included in the plans, which are expected to take 15 to 20 years to complete if planning permission is granted by Bromley Council.
The masterplan was revealed at a press conference last Wednesday at Crystal Palace station. The public have also been able to view the plans at an exhibition which runs until Wednesday, October 31, and fill out forms giving their feedback on the proposals. Feedback forms will be submitted to Bromley Council along with the masterplan early next week.
Speaking at the press conference, Manny Lewis, the LDA's chief executive, said the plans were a great opportunity to restore the park to its former glory.
"We want to make the park a wonderful place and a real asset to the country," he said.
He said there had been four years of dialogue with residents and a 12-month consultation. "The overwhelming majority back our plans but, of course, there are some issues which have been raised, including speed of development and the proposed housing."
Mr Lewis asserted housing would make up less than one per cent of the park and the £12million it is expected to raise would significantly contribute to the overall funding.
He also said rebuilding the Crystal Palace would be a "step too far". He said: "There's no real support for it. It would increase costs tremendously and is not commercially viable."
The architect responsible for the masterplan Tilman Latz, partner at Latz and Partner, added: "The palace was much bigger in our heads than it ever has been in reality. The ghost of Crystal Palace is the strength of the site."
But Sue Nagle, from the Triangle Traders, said planting a "tree palace" on the site of the Crystal Palace is a "lost opportunity to capitalize on one of the most famous brand names in the world".
She said a new palace would bring employment, entertainment and a new customer base to the area and would provide "interesting and amazing pursuits" for young people, who have "nowhere to go and nothing to do" in the area.
"We're still hopeful we can persuade the LDA not to plant the trees. Once 350 trees have been planted on the site, the possibility of rebuilding the Crystal Palace in the future will be gone forever."
And John Payne, from the Crystal Palace Community Association (CPCA), said he thought the LDA had not got the masterplan right.
While he admitted there were aspects of the plans he liked, such as returning boating to the lakes, restoring the cricket pitch and making the park more accessible to visitors, he disagreed with proposals to build housing on the park.
And he said he thought the glasshouses should be on the top site, where the palace once stood, saying it would be a more sensitive way to develop the hill top.
He also criticised plans for the treetop walk, describing it as an "unnecessary fairground attraction".
It is estimated it will take Bromley Council a year to review the planning application. If approved, the LDA can then submit plans for other individual developments.
The masterplan proposals
- A tree canopy planted to replicate the outline of the old palace and a new Crystal Palace Park Museum with a viewing facility are proposed for the Palace Terrace.
- Two new glasshouses at either end of the lower terrace to "echo the scale and shape of the original wings of the Palace".
- A new Crystal Palace Regional Sports Centre which will feature a 'grassed' roof and house an Olympic-sized swimming pool, sports hall and health and fitness facilities.
- Restoring the Paxton Axis as a central walkway through the whole park, from the old Palace site to Penge gate.
- "Environmentally-friendly" housing at Rockhills to contain 132 flats and a café or community facility. The Caravan Club, which currently occupies the site, will be relocated.
- Six villas at Sydenham gate containing 45 apartments in total.
- Tidal lakes, a new café, Dinosaur Interpretation Centre and leisure boating are proposed for the lower part of the park, near the existing Grade I listed dinosaurs.
- Restored cricket pitch and new pavilion.
- Improved maze and Concert Bowl area.
- Treetop Walk.
- Removing the central car park to turn it from "tarmac to turf".
- Restoring Paxton's original water feature and creating new ones.
- A park police, first aid and information pavilion.
- New lighting to create a safer environment in the park.
- To watch a video of the masterplan launch click here