Bromley Unitary Development Plan

Proof of Philip Kolvin

Crystal Palace Park

Crystal Palace Campaign

Section 5

"A blazing arch of lucid glass, leaps like a fountain from the grass, to meet the sun."





The Park itself is listed as Grade II* on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.[14] The significance of this should be underscored. There are some 5,000 public parks in England. Of that, only 186 are included in the Register. Of those 186 sites, only 9 are Grade I. 28 are Grade II*. The remainder are Grade II. Only 19 local authority parks in the entire country are listed Grade II*. The listing points out how lands on the perimeter of the Park were sold off to defray the debts incurred by the Park, which of course provided only a short term fix and was ultimately unsustainable. The listing provides a certain level of detail regarding the Park and its history.


In addition, a variety of features in and around the Park are listed[15]:

  • The terracing and sphinxes are listed Grade II.
  • The upper level vaulted and tiled subway is listed Grade II, as are the walls above it.
  • The National Sports Centre building[16] is listed Grade II*.
  • The 27 prehistoric monsters on the islands and land surrounding the lower lake are listed Grade II.
  • The low level station at Crystal Palace is a Grade II listed building, and has recently undergone refurbishment to restore the original Paxton design.
  • The remains of Brunel's Water Tower on Anerley Hill are locally listed.
  • The Rockhills Gate piers are also Grade II listed.
  • Paxton's bust, now housed near the Sports Centre, is listed Grade II.
  • Guy the Gorilla, a mid-20th century bronze sculpture, is locally listed.
  • There are railings bounding part of the top site. These listed structures were erected in 1854 and refurbished by the GLC Historic Buildings Dept. in 1984, and are an important example of mid-19th century decorative iron work.[17]


The whole Park is listed as an area of archaeological importance, following Bromley's reversion to the original boundary in response to local objection during this current plan process. The archaeological remains are extensively in evidence in the Park. In addition, underneath the top site there are the remains of the vaulted boiler and storage basement of the Palace, partially filled with bomb rubble. This is an archaeological resource for the future.


The Park, with the exception of the top site, is a Conservation Area. Supplementary Planning Guidance adopted by Bromley's Development Control Committee on 15th June 1999 recognised that the Park itself and the site of the Palace are key to the character of the area. The guidance itself anticipated the building out of the multiplex cinema and the Restoring the Vision scheme, both of which have subsequently failed. The Guidance accepts that the main body of the Park "provides a valuable public amenity for the citizens of Bromley and many other Londoners…." It points out that the undeveloped area of the Park retains its mid-19th century character, which should be preserved and enhanced.


Crystal Palace Park also forms the beginning of the South East London Green Chain. This is a chain of nearly 300 parks and open spaces, connecting Crystal Palace at one end to the River Thames at the other.[18] Policy G9 of the draft Unitary Development Plan commits the Council to protecting land within the Green Chain, and to promote it as a recreational resource while conserving and, where appropriate, enhancing the landscape. The policy also states that native vegetation and wildlife will be encouraged in appropriate areas and where built development is permitted, suitable screening and landscaping will be required.

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[14] - A copy of the listing is at Appendix 10.
[15] - Copies of the listings are at Appendix 11.
[16] - The listing erroneously refers to it as the National Recreation Centre.
[17 ]- See "An Historical Assessment of the Site of the Former Crystal Palace", Ken Kiss, prepared for London Borough of Bromley, 1992. I have been unable to confirm the listing of these structures other than by reference to Mr. Kiss's document.
[18] - See Appendix 12.

©Philip Kolvin