No, we’re not referring to the Crystal Palace doing very nicely in the Premier League, thank you very much, but the Victorian one, made of steel and glass, that was destroyed by fire in 1936. A structure Londoners might now get to experience all over again courtesy of Chinese billionaire Ni Zhaoxing. The Chinese businessman has had talks with Bromley Council and the Greater London Authority about recreating the 900,000 sq ft trademark glass halls of the first Crystal Palace, which was built by Sir Joseph Paxton in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was then moved to a location in Sydenham (now Crystal Palace Park), and destroyed by fire in 1936. Ni Zhaoxing, who heads ZhongRong Holdings, is likely to submit a planning application to the council later this year.
But not everyone is happy about the proposals. Crystal Palace Community Association is concerned that the land formerly used for the building, which is now metropolitan open land for public use, should remain protected. ‘We are continuing to look at and explore all funding options, including grant funding, that might be available to help secure a long term and viable future. As part of this, we have had discussions with a number of parties and all of these conversations remain at early stages,’ a Bromley Council spokesman told the ‘News Shopper’. Like the proposals to revamp Battersea Power station for much of the past few decades, plans for the redevelopment of Crystal Palace Park come and go more regularly than Jordan’s husbands. But could this be The One? Watch this space. Rebecca Taylor