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Crystal Palace replica planners pledge to 'make park great again'
Chinese billionaire Ni Zhaoxing with London Mayor Boris Johnson and leader of Bromley Council Councillor Stephen Carr
CRYSTAL Palace Park is set to ‘rise again’ after £500m plans were unveiled to regenerate the park and reconstruct the famous Crystal Palace.
Chinese billionaire Ni Zhaoxing, chairman of developers Zhongrong Group was joined by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Councillor Stephen Carr, leader of Bromley Council to unveil the ambitious plans.
More than 2,000 temporary and permanent jobs will be created in plans which will recreate the original Crystal Palace which burned down in 1936.
The historic Italian terraces, the underpass, the dinosaur trail and maze will all be regenerated.
Plans to build new housing in the park have been scrapped but the National Sports Centre along with the iconic television mast will be kept.
The aim is make the park a ‘must see’ cultural destination. There are plans to include hotel facilities, exhibition spaces, education facilities and open up spaces for community use.
It is expected that planning permission will be sought in Autumn 2014, with building to start in Winter 2015. The site could open in 2018.
Mr Ni, speaking to a packed press conference at the park, said he wants to engage with the community about the plans.
He said: “This will restore the Crystal Palace to its former glory. It will combine art, history and culture.
“The reason for having a child is not for a reward but so you can pass something on to the next generation.
“It is like I am planting a tree. The tree is the park and the community, myself, UK and London can enjoy the fruits of that tree.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The original Crystal Palace exhibition is a great part of our cultural history.
“When that giant structure burnt down it was a tragedy that appalled the nation. Since then nothing has been done. We have a park called Crystal Palace, we have a football team called Crystal Palace, but we have no Palace at the Palace.”
He added: “It is incredibly exciting that Mr Ni has come forward with this exciting vision. As we go forward it is absolutely vital that they seek the views of the people of community.
“South London will gain a world class cultural attraction where the park will be reborn and the Palace will rise again.”
Councillor Stephen Carr, leader of Bromley Council, told the News Shopper he was keen to make sure they can deliver the plans.
He said: “It is great news. The plans are huge and so are the targets. It will be difficult but we are keen to make it happen and get behind it.
“We will be talking to residents and encourage them to open minded. We have hearts and minds to win over but there is a once in a lifetime opportunity here to create jobs and rebuild the park.
“I would hope people would not want to get in the way of that.”
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