A South London park is set to receive a £17.5 million upgrade, with locals saying the space’s “filthy lakes” need cleaning but hope the park’s famous dinosaurs aren’t made too “pristine”.

Bromley Council announced at the end of last month that HTA Design had been appointed to lead an estimated £17.5m project to restore Crystal Palace Park.

The scheme will see restoration of the famous Grade I listed dinosaur statues, as well as regeneration of the park’s Italian Terraces.

News Shopper: The famous dinosaur statuesThe famous dinosaur statues

Funding for the project comes from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, as well as Bromley Council’s sale of residential properties beside the park.

Melanie MacLaverty, 73, said she comes to Crystal Palace Park three times a week to walk her daughter’s dog.

She said that while the investment is welcomed, she doesn’t feel much needs to be done in terms of updating the space.

Ms MacLaverty told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I think it’s lovely. I know they want to do some work with the dinosaurs because they’re a bit aged… They’re quirky, they’re Victorian. I mean, it’s what they thought they probably looked like in those days.”

She added: “I just hope they don’t make it too pristine. I like it as a bit rough and with all the wildflowers and everything.”

News Shopper: The famous dinosaur statuesThe famous dinosaur statues

The ambitious project will reportedly also include updates to the park’s Tidal Lakes, as well as a new dinosaur-themed playground.

Elizabeth Heon, 54, said she is particularly looking forward to the lakes being cleaned.

Ms Heon told the LDRS: “I wish that big space of water could be cleaner and more protected so dogs don’t end up in it. It needs cleaning, it’s really filthy.”

News Shopper: Elizabeth HeonElizabeth Heon

The park visitor said she lives in Brockley but uses the park nearly every week to walk her dog.

She said that while she is looking forward to the updates to the famous dinosaurs, she feels the community aspect of the park must be upheld.

Ms Heon said: “It gets to be a little bit expensive, and it’s more gentrified. People with a higher income rather than a lower income. If it was more accessible, I think more people would use the park.”

Hilary Mitakas, 56, said she often comes to Crystal Palace to visit her son but has been using the park her whole life.

She said she often visits the space with her granddaughter to see the dinosaurs and farm.

News Shopper: The famous dinosaur statues, as seen in Crystal Palace Park. Permission for use by all LDRS partners. Credit: Joe Coughlan

Ms Mitakas told the LDRS: “Obviously the dinosaurs need updating and there is some programme, but I think a lot of the vegetation needs to be cut back a bit.

"It looks like it just needs a bit of a trim everywhere because a lot of the dinosaurs up there, you can’t even see them because they’re overgrown.”

The park goer said the area has a lot of potential, and she has appreciated recent efforts to make it a nicer place.

She said ultimately she feels the investment is needed to keep the park maintained properly.

She said: “Everything looks like it just needs a coat of paint. With all of this, it would be nice just to look out and see the lake rather than all the bushes. The problem is once stuff gets overgrown, it becomes too much. You need to do it as it happens.”

The Crystal Palace Park Trust is scheduled to take over day-to-day management of the park from September this year.

Valerie Shawcross CBE, interim CEO of the trust, told the LDRS that they supported the council’s plans to physically restore the park.

She added: “As a community trust, our focus will be on managing the park in a way that helps protect its historic assets, like the dinosaurs, better and bring more attention to the needs and wishes of park users.

"A common complaint from visitors to the park is about the very poor state of the toilet block.

"The Trust will be carrying out a much needed refurbishment of the toilet facilities over the summer months, using income from the events in the park. All the money which we raise in the park will be spent in the park for the benefit of the community.”

Conservative Councillor Yvonne Bear, Executive Councillor for Renewal, Recreation and Housing for Bromley Council, said in a statement: “It is an exciting time for this iconic park as we begin to bring forward our ground-breaking plan and create a future for the park that is fitting of its remarkable past.

"I know local residents and visitors will be eager to see progress being made on the headline restoration works including in this next stage, but there is also much more work going on around this to ensure that a long-term model is created for the park, that firmly connects its heritage to the local community and economy.”