Bromley Council had hoped the cash injection could be used to make short-term improvements to the park, ahead of construction of the new/old landmark. Councillor Stephen Carr said he was disappointed at the snub, adding that ”We now all need to remain focused on the long term and re-examine potential options as to how best we can generate improvements in the short term which would also support the long term objectives.”
Chinese firm ZhongRong Group still plans to invest £500 million in the scheme, which has also secured a £2 million grant from the Greater London Authority. If realised, the Palace would stand as a near replica of the famous Victorian structure, which was consumed by fire in 1936. Expressions of interest have already been received from around 40 architects. A shortlist of up to five will be selected in spring.
The plans are already dividing Londoners. While many will no doubt appreciate the spectacle, there have been concerns about the land deal, which would potentially see Metropolitan Open Land — and cherished parkland — transferred to private hands.