KEY SOUTH BANK STAKEHOLDERS
Lambeth Council holds a pivotal position. As
the primary planning authority it, in effect, controls the process
by which the South Bank Centre's finalised masterplan and individual
site proposals will be considered; and thereby the cost to the
South Bank Centre, and in the final analysis the public purse.
supports the need for a world class
cultural centre and riverside park
has proposed a compromise solution
for Hungerford car park in its pre-consultation paper for its
Unitary Development Plan
has set down the exceptional circumstances
it requires to see before considering cultural use on the Hungerford
car park site.
The South Bank Centre welcomes this support.
Nevertheless, the South Bank Centre's experience with the planning
process in Lambeth is cause for concern. The two Royal Festival
Hall applications are still undetermined after 20 months and Lambeth
remains one of the country's least efficient local planning authorities
in dealing with applications.
The South Bank Centre has recently been greatly
encouraged by Lambeth's commitment to increase the resources in
the planning department and to consider a dedicated team to accelerate
the processing of applications in the South Bank area. This is
wholly in line with the government's recent proposals to modernise
the planning system. The South Bank Centre has therefore written
to Lord Falconer suggesting a piloting of the ideas in the government's
Green Paper on agreeing the key elements of masterplans and on
delivery contracts for development control.
As a new tier of government in London the Mayor
and the Greater London Authority "family" (ie London
Development Agency and Transport for London) have been inducted
into the long masterplan process that proceeded its creation in
May 2000. The wide range of strategic responsibilities, with limited
and mainly negative powers, give it a paradoxical position in
relation to the South Bank Centre's proposals.
On the one hand the Mayor's strategic roles
for culture, regeneration, planning and transport provides him
with the ideal remit to lead this cultural project. Yet the Mayor
has no effective powers at his disposal to deliver a world class
culturally-led regeneration of this part of London other than
through encouragement and cajoling ie the Mayor can only direct
Lambeth Council to refuse an application not to approve it.
The London Development Agency continues to financially
contribute towards the masterplan process and oversees the £19.5
million Single Regeneration Budget funds for the Waterloo area
over the next five years.
In addition, the Mayor's strategic policies
are still emerging and currently in public consultation.
The South Bank Centre believes the Mayor has
the ability to provide significant support, comfort and confidence
to Lambeth Council in considering its planning applications. To
this end the South Bank Centre will be seeking a meeting with
the Mayor and his team and Lambeth Council to secure a common
view on the key issues, and agree a common framework for the areas
as a whole.
The Secretary of State for Transport, Local
Government and the Regions is the planning authority of last resort.
If Lambeth cannot or will not decide future applications the Secretary
of State can call in the applications and determine them himself
following a Public Inquiry. This is not a route anyone wishes
to pursue, primarily because of the several years delay and the
costs needed to arrive at a conclusion. The Government Office
for London will advise the Secretary of State on major applications
in terms of whether he should review the decision of the local
authority once made.
In early 2000 Government Office for London encouraged
the South Bank Centre to lead a strategic partnership in a bid
for Single Regeneration Budget funds, much of which would contribute
towards improvements to the public realm. This was to complement
the Arts Council's lottery allocation for artistic improvements.
The role has now been taken over by the London Development Agency.
Both English Heritage and the Twentieth Century
Society have attempted unsuccessfully to have the 1960's buildings
(Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery) listed.
The South Bank Centre, in making any case in
its finalised masterplan for the adaption or demolition of one
or more of these buildings, will be treating all the buildings
as if they are listed. This will add time and cost to securing
the approvals. A flexible planning approach to these buildings
will greatly aid the South Bank for future development, especially
in balancing the arts brief, funding and planning risks.
Complete demolition is likely to be as controversial
as placing development on Metropolitan Open Land.
The Arts Council has supported both the Royal
Festival Hall and masterplan process from the outset in April
1998 and sees the early start of the Royal Festival Hall project
as a priority.
However, the allocation of £25 million
of lottery funding spread over four major arts buildings and five
art forms, does not compare with grants made elsewhere ie Royal
Opera House (£78 million); Royal National Theatre (£32
million); Tate Modern (£50 million); Sadler's Wells (£42
million); Royal Shakespeare Company (£50 million), Royal
Albert Hall (£40 million); Lowry Centre (£42 million);
Gateshead Music Centre (£44 million) and the Baltic (£38
At the South Bank, however, there has been no
major investment for over 40 years, and this during a period when
the number of visitors have grown significantly and the new attractions
have sprung up around the South Bank putting the South Bank Centre's
estate under further pressure.
While the Arts Council of England appreciates
this anomaly, it is not in a position to increase significantly
lottery funds until the end of the decade, given its current commitments
and priorities elsewhere.
The lack of significant public investment in
the masterplan is a key factor behind the need to increase commercial
development to fill the funding gap (see Costs and Funding above).
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport is
the key stakeholder as the owners of the site.
The Department has been a strong supporter of
the South Bank Centre's efforts to rejuvenate the arts facilities
and the site and receives regular briefings. It works closely
with the Arts Council of England and has developed close working
relationships with the Government Office for London and the Mayor.
We understand the current priorities for the
Department are to proceed with the Royal Festival Hall project
and to secure new executive leadership of the South Bank Centre
as soon as possible.
The South Bank Centre is preparing a number
of different scenarios within the framework of the masterplan
for the Department in early Spring, in search for the proposal
that best balances the three elements of the arts brief, funding
mix and planning risk.
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport will
then meet with other key stakeholders to seek a consensus for
the way forward.
Shell Centre and the BA London Eye, both of
whom border the Jubilee Gardens and Hungerford car park site,
have recently submitted detailed planning applications to Lambeth
Both have expressed their support for the Not-for-Profit
Trust for Jubilee Gardens and wish to contribute significant funds
to the re-landscaping and on-going maintenance of the park and
river walk. In any event the design of the Jubilee Gardens would
be firmly within the South Bank Centre's masterplan framework.
The Shiryama Corporation, who own County Hall,
have the benefit of a covenant (for over 900 years) providing
them with the right to place a car park under Jubilee Gardens
subject to planning consent. They also want to see a world-class
park and wish to contribute to the new design. The South Bank
Centre and the planning bodies will need to consider how to resolve
the long-term future of Jubilee Gardens, with or without the benefit
of the covenant being realised.
The South Bank Centre is currently in commercial
negotiation with Railtrack to renew the leases for Hungerford
Railway Arches and the Royal Festival Hall Extension Building
(located between the Royal Festival Hall Terrace and the railway
bridge) which over sails Railtrack land.
The British Film Institute are development partners
with the South Bank Centre in creating a new National Film Centre
and the South Bank Centre maintains regular dialogue with the
Royal National Theatre to ensure the masterplan integrates them
within the new cultural complex.
The South Bank Centre has a broad constituencylocal
residents, Londoners generally and audiences and visitors from
further afield, who all feel they have a stake in the future of
arts facilities on the South Bank. As well as addressing the needs
of its wider audiences, the South Bank Centre is well rooted in
the community with over 200,000 foyer visits made by Lambeth and
Southwark residents, 30,000 tickets purchased by local people
and over half its education programme devoted to Lambeth schools.
The Waterloo area and its resident population
are changing. The White House (ex Shell downstream building) and
County Hall are now home to a growing local resident population
who came to live on the South Bank because of its location and
access to world class facilitiesthe river, the park, theatre,
film/arts and cultural facilities.
Promoting investment and preparing plans for
the South Bank Centre has identified the important need to reconcile
the requirements of the local residents and wider interests. All
support a world class arts centre and park. As part of the masterplanning
process the South Bank Centre has taken unprecedented steps to
seek the views of local people in addition to its London, national
and international stakeholders. Some 300 Lambeth residents have
been actively involved in the consultation process. Their views
about the masterplan reflected those of audiences and visitors
to the site.
Hungerford car park, at the core of the South
Bank Centre estate, is also the key to the future of the South
Bank Centre. It provides the opportunity to meet aspirations for
a world-class arts centre and park. A local political action group
(which has opposed the London Eye, IMAX Cinema and the Waterloo
International Terminal) oppose the use of Hungerford car park
and Jubilee Gardens for anything other than a flat extension to
the Jubilee Gardens.To date they have successfully frustrated
plans for the site and the related area. Indeed, they are the
principle reason for planning delays associated with applications
to restore and refurbish the Royal Festival Hall.
10 January 2002