After years of delay and dither, local authority moves to start a nine-year improvement project to realise park’s ‘potential to be a national asset for the benefit of the local community’
Bromley Council is looking to spend at least £1.2million on a design team for a long-awaited, and long-overdue £17.45million overhaul of Crystal Palace Park.
The winner of the contract will design and deliver a series of upgrades on two key sites within the historic park – the Italian Terraces and the Lower Paxton Axis, Penge Gate and tidal lakes.
The project, planned to be complete by 2032, is just the first phase of a larger regeneration of the park which was built to surround the Joseph Paxton-designed Crystal Palace, the cast iron and plate glass structure originally built in Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition of 1851, and which was transferred to Sydenham Hill in 1854.
Crystal Palace Park is now also home to the Grade II*-listed National Sports Centre.
Bromley Council’s brief for potential design teams says: “Crystal Palace Park consists of the elevated and open site of the former Crystal Palace (destroyed 1936), the terraces and wide central walk, open parkland and paths, access roads and car parks and the buildings and facilities of the National Sports Centre.
“Since the 1930s many of the original features have been neglected, and are lost, hidden or in a critical state of disrepair. Over time, the phased interventions to renew and restore the park, combined with the introduction of the NSC and its ancillary features have resulted in a significantly fragmented landscape.
“Crystal Palace Park does, however, have potential to be a national asset for the benefit of the local community.”
It is seven years since Bromley Council pulled out of a previous redevelopment deal with Chinese developer, ZhongRong Group, which had been brokered by Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London.
Key aims of the latest project focus on the terracing, which once led up to the Crystal Palace itself, and include repairing broken balustrades, reinstating statues and creating new paths, ramps and steps.
The project also seeks to improve the lakes area, famous for its Grade I-listed dinosaur sculptures, some of which are in a poor state of repair.
Other elements include reinstating park views from the Lower Paxton Axis and delivering a new information centre with kitchen and toilet facilities, and upgrading a maintenance building.
For more information on the Crystal Palace Park tendering process, click here.
Read more: London Stadium deal could give Crystal Palace new lease of life
Read more: Concern over Crystal Palace sports centre’s emergency closure
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£1.2m is just for the design of the scheme? I thought if the whole project was to cost £1.2m, in a park as large as Crystal Palace Park, the money would need to be spent quite thinly.
On a somewhat shorter timescale, the awesome Crystal Palace subway (which linked the old Crystal Palace High-Level Station (in Southwark) with the Crystal Palace structure (in Bromley) has already secured funding and is partway through its restoration (due to be completed in 2024).