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RHWL's Crystal Palace hit by environmental impact blow

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The European Commission has delivered a hammer blow to the beleaguered £60 million multiplex and leisure development at Crystal Palace, south London, by demanding a reassessment of the environmental impact of the scheme.

The developers of the RHWL- and Ian Ritchie-designed scheme will now have to reassess the effects of noise and air pollution caused by increased traffic, the loss of trees and the proximity to a conservation area.

The scheme has detailed planning consent from the London Borough of Bromley.

But George Kremlis, head of unit at the commission's environment directorate, said that there were 'considerable flaws in the environmental consultant's report relied upon for the basis of the [planning] decision'.

The permission could be overturned as a result of the move, which pleased opponents of the scheme including London mayor Ken Livingstone, who said, 'this clearly nails Bromley'.Livingstone has opposed the scheme since taking office but has been powerless to act against it.

RHWL architect Richard Abbott said the project team is still considering the implications of Brussels' intervention.

The move is an embarrassment to deputy prime minister John Prescott, who allowed a permission to be awarded on the scheme without an environmental impact assessment.

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