A £60 million master plan for the 200-acre, world-famous Crystal Palace Park has been halted.
Local campaigners in South London have persuaded communities minister Hazel Blears to hold a public inquiry into plans to sell off part of the park for housing.
'If these plans go ahead, it will give the green light to cash-strapped councils to sell parkland'
Local community groups, headed by the Crystal Palace Community Association, object to the Mayor of London’s regeneration agency, the London Development Agency, selling two-and-a-half acres of parkland - most of which is designated as Metropolitan Open Land - to help fund the renovation of the run-down park.
It is home to the famous life-size dinosaur models and the listed National Sports Centre, which includes a swimming pool and athletics stadium.
The plan proposes 180 homes, none of which will be affordable, in a number of five-storey blocks. The master plan received outline planning permission from Bromley council in December. That decision is now in abeyance pending the outcome of the inspector’s report.
Chairman of the Crystal Palace Community Association, John Payne, says the plan sets a dangerous precedent. “If these plans go ahead, it will give the green light to cash-strapped councils across the country that they are free to sell Metropolitan Open Land in order to fund park restoration work.”
Crystal Palace Park is of historic importance. Joseph Paxton’s monumental glass-and-steel Great Exhibition building was reopened there in 1854, three years after it had been moved from its original site in Hyde Park. The LDA is due to reopen the swimming pool at the National Sports Centre in April after a £14 million facelift.