Six winners with designs on Speakers' Corner

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The Independent Online
SPEAKERS' CORNER and Marble Arch, long a magnet for curious tourists and swirling traffic in central London, are to undergo a fundamental redesign. Yesterday the change moved a step closer, writes Will Bennett.

Six winners of the first stage of a competition organised by the Royal Parks were announced, each receiving pounds 2,000. They will now develop their ideas for the next leg of the contest.

David Welch, chief executive of the Royal Parks, said: 'When we launched the competition I hoped that imaginative solutions would be suggested. The 285 entries we have received have produced a very wide range of ideas.'

Winners of the first stage include Ray Hole, who aims to make Marble Arch the focus of a new urban space, reuniting it with Hyde Park. The arch would be lifted on to a lake of glass forming the roof of a new gallery and restaurant.

Evan Hughes's entry links Marble Arch with Hyde Park by diverting northbound traffic through an underpass, while Gareth Jones wants to enlarge the existing traffic island and link it to the park by a series of footbridges. Mark Loxton would construct a raised, circular 'deck' for pedestrians to walk from Oxford Street and Marble Arch into Hyde Park.

The eventual winner of the competition will receive pounds 10,000.

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