|Gunnersbury Park plan for Butterfly House under threat|
Planning decision puts attraction's future in jeopardy
The popular Butterfly House attraction, currently at Syon Park, is under threat because of a decision to re-examine its proposed move to Gunnersbury Park.
The present site of the Butterfly House, home to scores of butterflies from around the work, will be taken up by the building of a new hotel within the grounds of Syon Park. In 2005, the Butterfly House received planning permission for a new £2 million building to be built on the site of the Old Bowling Green.
However this decision has been ‘called-in’ by the Secretary of State, and owner Michael Crosse believes that this decision could spell the end of the Butterfly House.
“I am allowed to stay trading until October 2006 and have to leave Syon Park by Feb 2007” he told www.brentfordTW8.com. “I have been raising the £2 million we need to open the new centre, but how can I raise funds when I don’t even know if I’ll be allowed to build on the new site – even though local councillors were happy with our proposals”.
Plans to build on open land are often bought in for further enquiry. The Secretary of State has provided a list of nine conditions that the new buildings must meet.
Crosse took over the ownership of the Butterfly House in 2000. “I first visited in 1980 and I was entranced. I thought ‘this is what I want to do with my life’ and I finally achieved that. But now I face losing everything – and I have 10 staff who could also be made redundant”.
The Butterfly House attracts over 70,000 visitors a year, many of them from local schools. There is also an aviary, featuring birds from Europe and Asia.
The enquiry into the planning decision could take until October. Crosse plans to apply to the owners of Syon Park and the builders of the new hotel to stay on site until October 2007.
In the meantime, Michael Crosse is preparing for the enquiry. “I’ve already started a petition to demonstrate public support for the plans, and I would welcome letters of support from the local community. They can be sent to us at The London Butterfly House, Syon Park, Brentford, Middlesex TW8 8JF or emailed to email@example.com.
January 17, 2006