A £45million giant glass pod could one day float' 54-metres above Crystal Palace Park if plans to develop a new arts and cultural centre ever come to fruition.

Ironically the ambitious project, which could eventually be seen for miles, has been put forward by the campaigners who defeated Crystal Palace's notorious multiplex scheme.

Seeing himself in the tradition of Joseph Paxton, Crystal Palace Campaign chairman Philip Kolvin wants to build a national sculpture gallery on the much fought-over top site of the park.

Exhibitions would be held on one floor with bars, restaurants and a function room on another.

Mr Kolvin unveiled his project at the latest park stakeholder forum meeting last Thursday but has no plans to put in a formal planning application any time soon.

Mr Kolvin expects opposition but says: "This is the first idea which addresses the issue of how to inject life into Crystal Palace Park without losing any of its green spaces. The park needs a catalyst and this scheme is it.

"It is very early days yet. I would never support something I did not think would be beneficial to the area." The structure has been designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, double winners of the prestigious architectural award the Stirling Prize, one of which was for the "blinking eye" Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

Wilkinson Eyre designed the two-floor building to follow the same height and contour lines as the original palace's arched roof, a modern tribute to the Victorian building.

Bromley Council's head of heritage Peter Martin described the plan as "extraordinary and exciting".

He said: "I understand what they're trying to do, it's a bold gesture which, if done well, could be effective. It's ironic that it's the Crystal Palace Campaign which brought it forward." Objections will be raised by Crystal Palace Community Association, also heavily involved in defeating the multiplex plan, which hit the headlines in 1998 when eco-warriors occupied the site and was eventually shelved in 2001.

John Payne, chair of the CPCA, said: "I'm astonished that the Crystal Palace Campaign, formed to protect the hill top from the multiplex, has come up with such an extreme and intrusive development.

"It reminds me of the album cover of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds and it is certainly very alien to the park.

"The real issue here is the park's National Sports Centre and this should be the focus of any regeneration schemes."