(P.52) Doomed park named as a top open space - by Natasha Holt

South London Press 3 October 2000

HISTORIC Crystal Palace Park has been named one of London's best open spaces -just months before it will be overwhelmed by a multi-million pound leisure complex.

The park features in English Partnerships Urban Design Compendium, a guide designed to help create the best places to live, work and socialise as an example of how to 'design quality open space to be a valued community resource.'

The irony is not lost on campaigners who have battled to prevent a £58 million multi-screen cinema complex being built in the park.

Fred Emery, spokesman for the Crystal Palace Campaign said: "It is ironic indeed that English Partnerships has singled out Crystal Palace Park as a leading example of urban design just when Bromley wants to concrete over the the tree lined ridge with this monstrous unwanted multiplex"

English Partnerships was unaware of the plans when the Compendium was compiled but a spokeswoman for the group said "Crystal Palace Park was illustrated because it is a good example of providing good park space and is a valuable community resource. We cannot comment on development plans for the area."

While the council refused to comment on the compendium listing, marketing manager Brian Turpin, said "It is good that the regeneration of the park is being recognised for the contribution it can make to the regeneration of the whole area."

Bromley Council's development control committee meets tonight to consider detailed planning issues. These include revised building materials which anti-development group, the Crystal Palace Campaign, claims is cheapening the design.

The walls of the lower half of the building were going to be stainless steel. More than a year ago this was changed to gabion (granite boulders) and now will be 'constructed with facing stonework rather than as a wall of loose stones'.

Mr Emery said: "They keep cheapening the details. We are no friends of the original design but the tacky changes being made show that the developers London and Regional Properties are intent on leaving us with a low-quality product which will simply disfigure the area as well as destroying the park ."

A spokeswoman for Bromley Council said: "No decisions have been made before the meeting. These details will be discussed by the committee."

If the detailed plans are approved tonight, work is expected to start within four months.

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Last updated 10/10/00