(N54) Crystal Palace May Rise from the ashes... 26 July 2013
Let's get the sequence of events straight..
The substance of the published emails, articles etc...
As you are aware, we have been looking at all the options to improve Crystal Palace Park, to try and secure the long term future of the park. You will recall that we have been looking at different funding streams, including grant funding and the potential to divert monies being given by South London Boroughs from the Lea Valley Park to Crystal Palace Park. Some of these options and ideas have not yet materialised but when a proposal looks like it may be viable, we will of course, share it with the wider community, along with an outline of what the various processes might be.
As part of sharing information, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that there has been a very early conversation with a developer who may be interested in developing the so called top site. These discussions are at an extremely early stage but it is understood that the developer is keen to bring forward much needed improvements to the park. Any such proposal would be subject to planning permission. However it is too early to specify what the plans may include as they are not yet available but it is not envisaged that they would include residential development.
Please be assured that should proposals become sufficiently advanced they will be shared widely. Please also be assured that when we are able to say more, we will of course, let you know.
Community Development Team
London Borough of Bromley
PROPERTY WEEK ARTICLE
Billionaire Shanghai-based developer plans radical reconstruction of 900,000 sq ft Victorian building
A billionaire Chinese developer has submitted radical plans to rebuild the Victorian Crystal Palace that housed the Great Exhibition of 1851 (pictured).
Shanghai-based developer ZhongRong Holdings, part of ZhongRong Group, proposes to develop an exact replica of the 900,000 sq ft cast-iron and glass structure designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, which was first erected in Hyde Park and then relocated to the south-east London site after the exhibition.
The original Crystal Palace burned down in 1936. It occupied a site in the north-western part of what is now known as Crystal Palace Park, which houses the Greater London Authority-owned National Sports Centre and its 15,500-seat athletics stadium.
It is understood ZhongRong Holdings submitted initial proposals for the reconstruction in June.
The company is working with the Greater London Authority, Bromley Council and Arup in early-stage talks to develop the proposals, with a view to submitting a planning application later this year.
The new building will be a public space for exhibitions and other events. Architects have yet to be appointed.
The scheme also contains retail and other commercial elements. However, the parties involved are understood to be keen to ensure the scheme does not detract from the “Crystal Palace Triangle” — three streets close to the park with a burgeoning cluster of independent shops and restaurants.
The project is expected to provide the necessary private investment to help Bromley Council progress stalled plans to regenerate the park. In 2007, the council drew up a £67.5m masterplan for Crystal Palace Park through now-defunct quango the London Development Agency, to include a new sports centre with a swimming pool, sports hall and health facilities, a car park and new housing.
The masterplan was signed off by communities secretary Eric Pickles in 2010, subject to revisions, but has met with opposition from local residents who wish to protect the park from redevelopment.
On 26 June the Court of Appeal threw out the most recent legal challenge to the plans. It is understood the idea to put housing on the park is not being discussed now because of the previous controversy it aroused.
ZhongRong Group was established in 1992 to focus primarily on the Chinese real estate sector.
Its schemes include the Jasper Tower, Hengrui International Plaza and the International Business City in Shanghai’s Pudong district.
The company is owned and chaired by Ni Zhaoxing, who is worth $1.25bn, the latest Forbes Rich List shows.
A spokeswoman for the mayor of London said: “The mayor and the London Borough of Bromley have been approached by a potential developer who is keen to redevelop a large section of the north side of the park.
Discussions between all parties remain at a very early feasibility stage but the plans do not include any residential development.”
A spokesman for Bromley Council said: “The exact nature of the discussions and the parties involved remains confidential.”
TIMES Friday 26 July 2013
Crystal Palace may rise from the ashes
A billionaire Chinese developer is drawing up a radical proposal to build an exact replica of the Victorian Crystal Palace that housed the Great Exhibition of 1851 (Deirdre Hipwell writes).
ZhongRong Holdings owned by one of China’s richest men hopes to build a copy of the 900,000 sq ft cast iron and plate-glass building in London's Crystal Palace park.
The original structure - [picture] - designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, was built to showcase 14,000 exhibitors from around the world and demonstrate the might of the British Empire.
As the largest enclosed space on earth A billionaire Chinese developer is drawing up a radical proposal to build an exact replica of the Victorian Crystal Palace that housed the Great Exhibition of 1851 (Deirdre Hipwell writes). ZhongRong Holdings owned by one of China’s richest men hopes to build a copy of the 900,000 sq ft cast iron and plate-glass building in London's Crystal Palace park. The original structure …[picture]… designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, was built to showcase 14,000 exhibitors from around the world and demonstrate the might of the British Empire. As the largest enclosed space on earth at the time, its 300,000 panes of glass cast light on everything from marmosets from Mozambique to mock Tunisian bazaars and stuffed elephants.
Although it was first erected in Hyde Park, it was relocated to Crystal Palace in southeast London, where it remained until 1936, when it burnt down - [picture] - Ellie Brabin, a local resident whose grandfather cycled from Forest Hill to watch on the night the palace burnt down, said there was a sense of "something missing" in the area: "It has a presence like a ghost here sometimes. There is a little museum in the park which shows you what it used to he like. You can buy posters of the palace in the library and the railway station at Crystal Palace is so grand. You just get the sense this used to he a real destination."
The Shanghai based ZhongRong, which was set up in 1992 by Ni Zhaoxing who has an estimated $1.25 billion fortune, hopes to recreate this former glory. According to Property Week, ZhongRong is in early discussions to develop the scheme. It wants the new Crystal Palace to host exhibitions and events and aims to submit a planning application this year.
The Crystal Palace Campaign was set up to oppose the cinema multiplex (cancelled in May 2001) and, in many respects, the rebuilding of a "radical reconstruction" of the Crystal Palace full size*, will again resurrect the same issues of concern for local people; loss of a large amount of parkland, traffic problems, competition with local businesses and so on. If we have to man the pickets, I have no doubt that there will be plenty of support.
However, the description of the size of the building means that it couldn't be built anyway without an act of parliament or, more precisely, a change in the Bromley London Borough Council (Crystal Palace) Act (1990) which allows for a limited amount of building on the top site (known as Pink Land) but not nearly enough to accommodate the proposed monster. No doubt, when the planning application is lodged we will know more. At present it is all very mysterious. The developer should know that a building of this size will cause major problems in the area and will radically change the nature of this part of London - not something to be relished.
One issue which stands out is the woeful lack of communication with local people i.e. stakeholders in the future of the park who have been working very hard to support Bromley Council and the GLA in their Heritage Lottery Fund bids. These proposals were brought to light by an article in Property Week and picked up today by the Times. An email from the Community Development Team at Bromley Council first alerted stakeholders as to what was happening with the reassurance that "should proposals become sufficiently advanced they will be shared widely"... too late, much too late! Evidently, Bromley did not want us to find out what was going on through a third party report and so pre-empted the article.
Thanks for that, Bromley - is this the same Council with whom we have very painstakingly built up a degree of trust in dealings with park matters? What will be the next revelation in secret dealings with future developers who, not surprisingly, see the park as a great prize?**
* the given area, 900,000 sqft corresponds closely with the actual footprint of 92,000 m2.
** I have to add that this is a polite version of the many comments made about the proposals.
Shanghai: if anyone knows Shanghai Pudong, you will appreciate that subtlety of design and the provision of parkland is not a strong point - hardly a recommendation for a company to deal with a sensitive historic legacy.
Of course anyone can present a planning application to the council about work they would like to do in the park and it would be scrutinised in the usual way. However, in the current circumstances it is unlikely that a new planning application contrary to the Master Plan would succeed.
Bromley Council and the GLA are in the throws of applying for Heritage Lottery Funding for, what is know as the 10-Point Plan. This took several important areas of the park, based on the Master Plan, which would provide significant improvements and would encourage greater usage. In the first stage of the application for HLF funding a Lead Consultant has been selected to develop the original specification to get a good estimate of likely costs - completion end of August 2013. If the results are positive, then a longer period of design follows (not necessarily with the same company) which will include substantial consultation. If all goes well, the estimated commencement-on-site date is set for February 2016 with 'part completion' set for August 2017.
No one said it would be quick! But the results will be worth waiting for Further, because of the emphasis on sustainability, they are likely to last.
See also THE PINK LAND
And..."When the dead return..."
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26/7/13 Last updated 26/7/13/