End of the Crystal Maze? Popular but ‘unlawful’ game centre in Islington could be demolished

Iconic Crystal Maze host Richard O'Brien, pictured in 1991. Picture: Adam Butler

Iconic Crystal Maze host Richard O'Brien, pictured in 1991. Picture: Adam Butler - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Anyone locked in The Crystal Maze in Islington might want to get out – as it could be bulldozed and replaced by an office block.

An unnamed developer is hoping to demolish the White Lion Street site, which opened as an interactive version of the ’90s TV game show in early 2016.

Town hall boffins have advised councillors to approve the plan to flatten the building.

They also insist the live gaming experience has been operating “unlawfully” under planning regulations for two years. The site is meant to be used as an “education or training facility” and, while the Maze team says that’s what it is, officers are having none of it.

The retro game centre has gone down a storm since opening up the Crystal Dome and the “Aztec”, “industrial”, “futuristic” and “medieval” zones to the public.

It has five stars on TripAdvisor and recently spruced up the “futuristic” zone with a new game ahead of its reopening on Saturday following a winter break.

A sassy planning officer wrote in the report that will be considered by councillors on Thursday: “The proposed development would demolish the existing building on the site, which is currently in (unauthorised) use as the ‘Crystal Maze’ entertainment facility.”

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But a spokesperson for The Crystal Maze – not Richard O’Brien or Mumsy – hit back: “We looked into the question of planning and took some advice before we moved in.

“As we are primarily a training and team building facility, we actually fall within the scope of the planning permission that is in force.”

The new build will be seven storeys high. Although no housing will be on site, a contribution of almost £850,000 is proposed for affordable homes elsewhere in the borough.

Before it was filled with sand, crystals and scraps of golden paper, private legal firm Kaplan Law School was using the building for training purposes.

The Crystal Maze does not appear to be fighting the application, but its spokesperson added cryptically: “The Crystal Maze live experience has an exciting future ahead of it both in the UK and abroad, so keep an eye on our website for more information coming soon.”

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