The 19th-century forecourt has been a key target of the campaign to have staff cars removed from public spaces surrounding important cultural and historic buildings. Yesterday the forecourt was packed with staff cars, as it is most days, and the central main gate was guarded by two security men to allow only cars and no members of the public to enter by it. Visitors have to use the side gates.
Dr Robert Anderson, director of the British Museum, said that while there was not a single provision in the pounds 100m development scheme for an end to car parking on the forecourt, the number of cars would be reduced when British Library staff left for the St Pancras building.
He then went on to say, for the first time, that a plan was now being worked on by senior members of staff to 'develop the forecourt in certain ways which will reduce the number of staff cars.'
This plan is understood to involve reducing car parking to one line, and repaving the whole area to make it more in keeping with the neo-classical facade.
Earlier, Michael Hopkins, architect and British Museum trustee, who is closely involved in the development plan, said that visitors have 'got to be able to get into the museum elegantly and properly'.