(P.53) Temporary relocation of museum causes outrage - by Joanne Parkes

Croydon Guardian, 5 October 2000

An outraged Crystal Palace charity is taking legal advice on an alleged oversight made by Bromley Council.

The Crystal Palace Foundation (CPF), which funds Crystal Palace Museum, has criticised Bromley over its decision to temporarily relocate the museum while it builds an access tunnel to a new multimillion pound complex.

Ken Livingstone's GLC helped the foundation establish the museum in the park in 1988. The CPF claims Bromley's failure to consult with the CI`F over the repercussions of the closure is a flouting of its undertaking to parliament -which was written into the provisions of the Crystal Palace Act 1990, naming the foundation directly.

CPF spokesman Ken Lewington said insult was added to injury when a few weeks ago members found out about the closure by accident - when checking council meeting documents. Council leisure services manager Brian Turpin said that proposals were discussed with museum trustees, understanding that to be the right port of call. Mr Turpin

denied the parliamentary undertaking had been broken. He said: "We would be happy to listen to the foundation, as with any other heritage group."

But CPF chairman Melvyn Harrison said the trustees - who are in charge mainly of exhibition arrangements and management of archives - have no control of funding and are not named as a point of contact in the undertaking.

He said: "This is yet another example of the council's reluctance to involve the public in its decisions."

Objections by various groups to Bromley's plans to develop the complex - including a 20 screen multiplex cinema and several restaurants in 12 acres of parkland - have attracted a huge amount of local publicity over recent years.

In defence of the plans, Mr Turpin said the original museum will stay open until shortly before summer 2001.

"The relocation will be well timed with the 150th anniversary of the 1851 great exhibition.

---It will run seven days a week for a year - compared with the present museum opening time of Sunday - and will return to the original site following refurbishment."

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