Ambitious plans to recreate London's famous Crystal Palace have shattered into a million pieces after the local council withdrew its support.
Plans by Chinese developer ZhongRong and backed by mayor Boris Johnson to rebuild the palace created in 1851 for the Great Exhibition have effectively ended after Bromley council decided not to extend an exclusivity agreement with the developer.
The 16-month agreement to exclusive negotiations came to an end in February and a new deal could not be negotiated, leaving a question mark over the proposed 80-hectare development in Crystal Palace Park and whether it may be taken forward by a new developer.
Bromley councillor Stephen Carr said:
There is a major opportunity here to do something that might really improve the park and provide much-needed regeneration locally too. This was why we were prepared to properly listen to what ZhongRong had to say, but we were never going to simply say yes to absolutely anything as we need to get this right. Now, we will meet with community stakeholders, as we have done all the way along this process, to review [the] options.
ZhongRong unveiled the £500m plan to rebuild the palace, which burned down in 1936, with an enthusiastic reception from Boris Johnson in 2013. The redevelopment was set to include restoration of the local park, a hotel and conference centre, visitor centre and commercial areas.