Plans to build a new ‘dinosaur bridge’ in Crystal Palace park to allow access to the island where the world-famous statues stand have been submitted to Bromley council for consideration.

Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs

A design and access statement supporting the application – which is being made by the Friends of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs – says it is proposed that a permanent lightweight rotating bridge is to be located on the southern side of the main dinosaur island, adjacent to the weir. The skeletal structure would be fixed by a central pivot, allowing controlled access.

The ambition is to make the bridge part of the landscape, says the statement.

“In their pre-application advice Historic England have welcome the proposal to provide a permanent, but retractable, bridge to the dinosaur island in order to enable limited access for maintenance, repair, and limited managed public tours” the statement adds.

The statement quotes Historic England: “The location and design of the proposed new bridge appears to have been subject to considerable thought.

“We are very much aware that the bridge would provide a prominent new piece of architecture within the highly significant grade II* registered park and garden and within the setting of the grade I listed dinosaurs and island.

“We acknowledge  this is a location which demands the highest possibly design quality and we are therefore supportive of the initial designs that have been presented to us for consideration.” – Historic England

The bridge is constructed on a pivot to open and connect or close and disconnect. There will be strict rules (covenants) on when the bridge can be opened to limit numbers and avoid further damage to the sculptures. 

Existing Access: The Island is surrounded by pedestrian paths but has no permanent access. It is only accessible a few times per year, when an expensive and inconvenient temporary bridge is erected, says the statement.

“Access to the island would allow for critical conservation and landscaping work and would also increase public engagement through guided tours. “Safe and reliable access is vital for the Dinosaurs’ restoration and maintenance, which were declared ‘vulnerable’ in condition by Historic England.

“This unique cultural asset inspires a strong sense of place and history, involving local and international communities. “Making the sculptures accessible to the public, under guidance from experts, will enrich their message and increase the sense of ownership.

“Access for construction could be made through two routes. “The first is from Ledrington Road, on the south-west side of the park and the other from Thicket Road, on the southeast side of the park.

Tonkin Liu (the agent) are collaborating with the Friends of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs on the campaign to design and install a new permanent bridge.

“The life-sized sculptures were created at a pivotal moment in 1854 as the first ever ‘edu-tainment for science’, and have since been Grade I Listed.

“Set in landscapes that attempt to reflect 400 million years of geologic time, the ensemble is a significant heritage embodying the democratisation of scientific knowledge.

“The Friends of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs are a registered charity whose aims are to promote the long-term, sustainable conservation of these unique sculptures, and to promote their historical, scientific and cultural importance both within the local community and more widely.

“The dinosaurs are widely loved by the community in Crystal Palace, Anerley and Penge, and are nationally and internationally renowned. “They are regularly mentioned in guides such as Time Out as a London highlight, in news outlets such as the BBC, and are seen as a symbol of the area by residents.

The sculptures are in dire need of conservation and landscape work. “This has become practically very difficult. “But more importantly for the long term, we have found that the more we can increase the public’s engagement with the Dinosaurs, the easier it is to raise funds and get volunteers on board to help secure their long-term future.”

Tonkin Liu (the agent) are collaborating with the Friends of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs on the campaign to design and install a new permanent bridge.

To view the plans please go to planning register and search ‘dinosaur’ – Ed.

19/03579/LBC | Construction of a footbridge in Crystal Palace Park for access to the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs on Dinosaur Island | Crystal Palace Park Thicket Road Penge London SE20 8DT

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