South Bank buildings to be razed and rebuilt

MUCH OF the forbidding concrete jungle that is the South Bank arts complex in London will be torn down and replaced with new galleries, concert halls and cinemas.

The Royal Festival Hall, scene of the Government's ecstatic celebrations after the general election, remains and will be restored and expanded. But the Hayward Gallery, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room and the concrete walkways connecting them will be demolished and rebuilt further west.

The scheme, somewhat less grandiose than the architect Richard Rogers' original plan for a wavy glass roof covering the entire centre, was announced yesterday by Elliott Bernerd, the chairman of the complex. A new film complex will be built on the site, which will house the National Film Centre, the Museum of the Moving Image, currently under Waterloo Bridge, and the headquarters of the British Film Institute.

A building will be positioned on the Hungerford car park site overlooking Jubilee Gardens and the arches under Hungerford and Waterloo Bridges will be opened up to improve access. Mr Bernerd said: "We want to see the Royal Festival Hall not only restored but supported by properly equipped new arts buildings and well-designed, user- friendly open spaces. Our objective is to keep our arts buildings open during the millennium celebrations and then to implement our strategy, in a phased way, beginning construction in 2001."

Chris Smith, the Secretary of State for Culture, said the new proposals were "very dynamic" and Sir Jocelyn Stevens, the chairman of English Heritage, said the regeneration would transform the "most important site in the heart of London into a world- class arts complex".

Trevor Nunn, director of the National Theatre, said the plans would improve access from Waterloo rail station and make the South Bank more accessible to tourists and the local community.

Although everyone seemed happy with the plans yesterday, the regeneration scheme has been the cause of much bitterness since 1986, when the South Bank Board inherited the site from the Greater London Council.

When the pounds 100m plans of Lord Rogers of Riverside were ditched earlier this year because of a lack of Lottery money, Sir Brian Corby resigned as chairman of the centre's board.

Sir Brian was replaced by Mr Bernerd, a property developer, who said at the time that he was "emotionally and aesthetically committed" to Lord Rogers' design.

But his commitment was not enough to save the wavy glass roof.

A spokesman for the South Bank Centre said yesterday: "We were looking for something that we could phase in over a period of time, which would be more practical and help with costs, but the glass roof would have had to be constructed in one go and it was not possible. "This scheme is just as ambitious and fits in well with the redevelopment all along the river."

No details on funding were available yesterday but the Arts Council has promised up to pounds 20m of Lottery money, the Heritage Lottery Fund is said to have pledged a further pounds 20m and the publisher Lord Hamlyn is putting up pounds 19m.

A master planner for the complex will be appointed early in the new year and competitions will be held for each element of the new strategy.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Sport
footballLive blog: Follow the action from the Capital One Cup semi-final
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Manager - OTE £40,000

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century