Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Greater London Authority


  1.  The South Bank Centre—with its constituent institutions—is a major facility for Londoners, as well as for other regional and overseas visitors. However, its current physical condition is inconsistent with its status as an international centre of excellence for the arts. The buildings have suffered from a lack of investment in their fabric, the environment is often unpleasant and unwelcoming, and accessibility is limited.

  2.  It has reached a crucial stage in its history, the post of Chief Executive is currently unfilled, a new Chair, Lord Hollick, has just been instated. Furthermore, the proposed building redevelopment is much needed as the fabric of the buildings and the surrounding environment is in need of extensive repair and refurbishment with redevelopment and enhancement long overdue.

The Mayor's key objectives for the South Bank are as follows

  3.  To achieve a world class cultural quarter and state of the art facilities that can compete internationally, and deliver an arts led renaissance to the South Bank area.

  4.  To create a world class city park for London on the South Bank at Jubilee Gardens.

  5.  To retain the London Eye and to accommodate appropriate access proposals associated with the new park.

  6.  To recognise the stategically important location of the South Bank to Central London, Waterloo and the connections to international, national, and regional and local transport nodes.

  7.  To develop a coherent transport and pedestrian strategy for the wider area and significant reductions in the provision of car parking space. This includes the development of a co-ordinated strategy for dealing with coach parking.

  8.  To work closely with the SBC board. The SBC has suffered from the lack of a single voice for London that had the power and influence to resolve its difficulties. With the appointment of Lord Hollick, the GLA and the board of the SBC must work closely together to improve SBC facilities and those of the surrounding area with a view to the GLA eventually taking responsibility for the governance of the organisation.

  9.  To work closely with DCMS and the Arts Council. The GLA Culture Unit has agreed with DCMS officers to work closely with them, and the Arts Council of England (and, by extension the London Arts Board as another interested party) to ensure that the SBC receives appropriate, consistent support from relevant agencies.

  10.  To improve the site. The Mayor's draft London Plan will recognise that the site needs careful redevelopment with removal of the walkways, links to the new pedestrian bridges across the Thames and the sensitive introduction of street level activities such as shops and cafes.

  11.  To improve significantly the area and make it attractive to day and night-time visitors, forming part of a vibrant cultural quarter linked to the Tate Modern at Bankside and provides an alternative to the facilities on offer in central London.

  12.  To provide a coherent strategic framework for development of the South Bank. The core GLA together with its functional bodies has responsibility for culture, transport, planning, and economic development and thus the power and influence (and overview) to deliver the redevelopment of the SBC into the major, world-class facility it should be. With the development of his Culture Strategy for London, the Mayor will have a unique resource to aid cultural planning across London and the SBC and its potential future developments is a key factor in the development of a London-wide cultural strategy.

Culture Strategy background

  13.  The Culture Strategy is a statutory document to be produced by the Mayor after receiving advice from the Culture Strategy Group (CSG). The CSG was set up in accordance with the Greater London Authority Act 1999.

  14.  There are 25 members of the CSG and they are charged with the responsibility of presenting to the Mayor a "draft strategy containing proposed policies with respect to culture, media and sport in Greater London."

  15.  The CSG has submitted their advice to the Mayor who wishes to make some modifications before the draft strategy goes out to consultation. Officers are revising the document to ensure that the added value of the GLA is clearly articulated, and that proposed strategic interventions are informed by robust data, and a strong evidence base.

  16.  Once these revisions have been carried out, the document will be submitted for scrutiny to the Greater London Assembly Investigative Committee on Culture, and then sent out for wider consultation to the cultural sector.

15 March 2002

previous page contents

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 26 March 2002