Developers planning to build a luxury hotel in Syon Park on behalf of the Duke of Northumberland have offered some hope to supporters of the threatened Butterfly House.

The Duke's original plans would have meant the demolition of the much-loved Butterfly House whose lease is due to expire in three years and also the Snakes and Ladders indoor play area as well as the Aquatic Experience which are all on his land. In their place there would be a luxury 155 bedroom Radisson Hotel.

The motive behind the collaboration between Radisson Edwardian Hotels and the Trustees of the Twelth Duke of Northumberland's Maintenance Fund Settlement is to "enhance and preserve the listed buildings" already in the Park. The Trustees had argued that Syon House was being adversely affected by the "unsightly and increasingly underused commercial buildings." The plans caused a massive outcry amongst local people already concerned about the steady decline in facilities for young children and the loss of such popular facilities.


Snakes and Ladders also threatened with closure

The Radisson Edwardian Group are based in Hounslow and headed by Jasminder Singh who was recently featured as the fourth richest Asian in Britain after Lakshmi Mittal and the Hinduja brothers. The group's Heathrow airport hotel is regular voted the best for business travellers. Nick Smart, a director of the hotel group reportedly said that, "this development will take the tat out."

The Duke of Northumberland, one of the largest land holders in the country, has attracted much criticism over the scheme. He enjoys substantial tax breaks from the Government for Syon Park. One person on the forum stated, " Why couldn't he have taken the Long Leat approach and expanded the facilities for children rather than shutting them down?"

Syon Park's estate management are now saying that they are in discussions to save the Butterfly House. With three years to go before the expiry of the Butterfly House's lease and ten years for the other two facilities there would seem to be plenty of time for a successful resolution.

13th April 2002


Discussion on the Forum

Butterfly House

Snakes and Ladders

Aquatic Experience

Syon Park