Butterfly House to close its doors for the last time

Planning enquiry results in closure of Syon House attraction

Owner Michael Crosse and one of the Butterfly House residents

Brentford Inferno

Butterfly House website

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The popular Butterfly House attraction in Syon Park, home to scores of butterflies from around the world, is to close its doors for the last time in October, owner Michael Crosse has announced.

The Butterfly House was set to move to new, purpose-built accomodation in Gunnersbury Park next year as the land he occupies at present, in Syon House, will be used as the site for a new hotel and conference centre.

However the decision to allow the new buildings was 'called-in' by the Secretary of State. Even if the plans are approved, the delay means that investors could not come on board until the end of 2006 - and Crosse has been told that he must vacate Syon Park by Feb 2007 at the latest.

"It's the end for the Butterfly House" said Crosse. "And I'm not sure what I'm going to do - I've put everything into the Butterfly House and I don't know where to turn".

Although other sites have been investigated, none have been found to be suitable. The costs of the appeal could be prohibitive, even if planning inspectors decide to support the application, approved by Hounslow Council in 2005.

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.

Feb 3 2006