Time is running out for one of Boris Johnson’s vanity projects, the £500 million Chinese Crystal Palace which although unbuilt, has cast a dark shadow over the park and the National Sports Centre there, and blighted planned improvements and developments in the area ever since the Mayor of London took it upon himself to try to foist the scheme on south London more than a year ago.
On Sunday, February 1, the exclusivity agreement between Bromley Council and the ZhongRong Group will expire, 16 months after it was signed. To date there;s been no public indication of a deal from either party.
Today, the Green Party has called on Bromley Council – signatories to the exclusivity agreement and the former managers of the park – and the Greater London Authority to abandon talks with the ZhongRong Group and to shelve any plans to build a massive commercial facility on Crystal Palace Park. Consultation about the scheme has been poor and details sketchy, but the Chinese are believed to have proposed building a large 6* hotel, a precious gems trading floor and a conference centre.
London’s Tory Mayor wanted to flog off the public land in the park cheaply, on a long lease to the private developer, ignoring all other considerations surrounding the Grade II-listed parkland.
“The idea of building a huge hotel and conference centre on our park was wrong, the consultation process was hopeless, and the consequences have included community groups blocked from improving our park, the loss of millions of pounds of Lottery funding, and a huge amount of anger and resentment among local people,” Tom Chance, the Greens’ parliamentary candidate for Lewisham West and Penge, which includes the park.
“Bromley and the GLA need to stop messing around with fantasy projects and send the ZhongRong Group packing,” Chance said.
“If they set-up a Community Land Trust to govern the park’s future, this could find viable ways to implement the adopted masterplan incrementally, without losing large areas of the park to private ownership and commercial buildings. The council could also work with local environmental groups to turn the scrub and woodland on the hill top into a popular local nature reserve within the next six months, instead of denigrating it as a waste of space and trying to concrete it over.”
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- Lord Coe’s company plans to bulldoze athletics stadium
- Assembly member calls Chinese Palace plans a ‘fiasco’
- City Hall documents confirm Palace schemes were linked
- Boris signals defeat on his Chinese giveaway at Crystal Palace
- Boris accused over ‘secret’ £500m Chinese giveaway
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