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Crystal Palace Park regeneration engages local community

by Marco Cillario Fri 10 June 2016, 10:53 am

Thousands of pounds have been made available for projects brought forward by community groups within the ongoing regeneration of Crystal Palace Park.

Bromley Council announced in May 2016 that a community fund was offering grants of up to £20,000 to deliver projects and activities in the 81-ha Grade II-listed park.

The park was once home to Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace, the structure that originally housed the Great Exhibition in 1851 and was destroyed by fire in 1936.

Bids received are evaluated by a panel made up of local residents.

Projects awarded grants so far include the reopening of the Crystal Palace subway, an iconic facility enabling pedestrians to enter the park safely. The scheme, devised by Friends of Crystal Palace Subway, was awarded £15,000 and is expected to increase visitor numbers. Activities will be held in the subway to raise funds for further improvements to the structure.

“The community fund is a great way for the local community to get involved in creating the park they want for the future,” said director of transformation and regeneration Marc Hume.

The grants complement the comprehensive regeneration scheme for the park funded by Bromley Council, the Mayor of London and Historic England.

Agreed improvements include building a new cafe and skate park, as well as conserving some of the Grade I-listed dinosaurs, the Grade II-listed sphinxes and the south terrace steps, landscaping and removing some disused structures.

Work is now under way, and the first phase of improvements includes the renovation of the sphinxes and the steps, following the original design by Paxton.

Further phases of regeneration are currently in the planning stage, and the council said it intended to establish a community-led, not-for-profit governance model for the park. Open recruitment to the shadow board will take place this summer.

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