Memorandum submitted by the South Bank
The South Bank Centre, which forms part of the
world's largest cultural complex, welcomes the Select Committee's
interest in the South Bank Masterplan. This briefing note sets
out the current position and the challenges faced by the South
Bank Centre in delivering the masterplan. It also provides background
information about the South Bank Centre and details of what has
been achieved since April 1998.
There is a major opportunity to create a new
cultural destination at the heart of the capital, lead the economic
and social regeneration of South London and provide a world-class
gateway for Europe.
Early this year we expect to get planning permission
from Lambeth Council (after many delays they are considering the
applications in the next few weeks with an officer recommendation
to approve) to start work on the refurbishment of the Grade 1
listed Royal Festival Hall. In March we will meet with the Department
of Culture, Media and Sport to discuss the best way forward. An
architect for the Hungerford car park and Jubilee Gardens will
then be appointed and an outline scheme submitted for public consultation
in the autumn. At the same time we are working with the Department
of Culture, Media and Sport to set up a Trust comprising local
landowners and the local community to take responsibility for
a newly landscaped Jubilee Gardens and the Queens Walk.
The big challenge facing the South Bank Centre
is balancing the arts brief for this world class cultural destination
with the planning sensitivities of the area and the right mix
of public/private funding.
The South Bank Centre is a charity that manages
a 27-acre estate from County Hall to Waterloo Bridge (see map
in Annex 1 (not reproduced)), on a long lease from the
Arts Council, who hold the freehold on behalf of the Government
in the form of Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
The estate is comprised of arts buildings and
substantial public realm. The facilities the South Bank Centre
manages include the Grade 1 listed Royal Festival Hall, Queen
Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, the Hayward Gallery and the Hungerford
car park which provide the essential servicing and operational
parking to support its artistic activities. The British Film Institute,
an independent organisation that is a sub-tenant of the South
Bank Centre, manages the National Film Theatre under Waterloo
Bridge and the IMAX cinema in the Waterloo roundabout. The South
Bank Centre's public realm comprises Jubilee Gardens, Queen's
Walk from County Hall to the Royal National Theatre, as well as
important commuter pedestrian routes from Hungerford footbridgelinking
Trafalgar Square to Waterloo Stationand two major service
lanes and delivery yards.
In the spring of 1998 the Department of Culture,
Media and Sport appointed Elliott Bernerd, Chairman of property
company Chelsfield plc, as Chairman of the South Bank Centre,
and charged him the responsibility of working with all stakeholders
to bring the arts complex up to world class standards with £25
million of Arts Council lottery funds and further funding from
the Heritage Lottery Fund.
3. THE SOUTH
Taken together with the independently managed
Royal National Theatre and the British Film Institute, the centre
represents the largest concentration of cultural facilities anywhere
in the world. More than 5,200 ticketed and over 1,200 free events
are presented each year. Audiences and visits to the South Bank
have now grown to 6 million, a third from people who live outside
London. It is unique in the breadth of the programme it offers
and the diversity of the audiences it serves, attracting people
of all ages, backgrounds and ethnic origin. The South Bank Centre
programme forms the basis of concerts, dance and art exhibitions,
that tour to hundreds of venues around the United Kingdom and
are enjoyed by nearly 1 million people annually. The South Bank
Centre presents a wide range of multi-cultural arts forms in one
location including music, dance and performance, literature and
the visual arts.
The South Bank Centre's venues are home to:
Britain's leading orchestras, ensembles,
dance companies, artists and writers
the widest range of top international
artists, including artists from Africa, Asia and Latin America
the Poetry Library, the most comprehensive
and accessible collection of Poetry in the English Language
the Arts Council Collection, the
largest collection of British post-war art in the country.
The South Bank Centre itself presents in partnership
more new work by British artists,
composers, writers, choreographers, dancers and interpreters than
any other centre for the arts
four international exhibitions a
year at the Hayward
National Touring Exhibitions at over
100 venues ranging from galleries, schools and community centres
to prisons and libraries throughout the UK
London's largest free summer events
the country's most diverse education
programme for over 110,000 people of all ages, social background
and ethnic origin.
The arts programme attracts the world's most
diverse audience, and with nearly 40 per cent of tickets priced
at £10 or under, is one of the most accessible.
The South Bank has been a model for other cultural
centres around the world and in the UK, a large number of whom
have received major investments to modernise their facilities
to provide state-of-the-art backstage areas, improved acoustics,
auditoriums and foyers, and improvement to the access around the
buildings. These are listed below:
Lincoln Centre in New York
Kennedy Centre in Washington
Victoria Arts Centre in Melbourne
Pompidou Centre in Paris
Barbican Centre (funded by the City
Waterfront Hall, Belfast
Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
No major investment has been made in the South
Bank Centre's arts building or urban fabric of the estate in nearly
The South Bank Centre's arts buildings are no
longer fit for their national or international purpose:
the Royal Festival Hall has poor
get-in and backstage facilities, inadequate acoustics and run
the Queen Elizabeth Hall has a natural
acoustic which has had to accommodate amplified music, dance and
the Purcell Room was designed as
a rehearsal and not a performance space
the Hayward, one of the big "five",
has fallen behind national and international standards of environmental
controls, lacks space for quick turnarounds, for education activities,
visitor facilities and the display of the Arts Council Collection
the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell
Room and Hayward Gallery all lack adequate access for disabled
the Voice Box and Poetry Library
cannot meet the growing demand for literature.
The British Film Institute's National Film Theatre
is in poor condition and too small to meet the diverse demand.
The Museum of the Moving Image has been closed. The British Film
Institute needs to bring together all its public facilities into
one site to create a National Centre for Film.
The overall site is in a poor and deteriorating
state, suffering from a lack of investment and has been a political
football for too long. It has dark and threatening undercrofts
and windswept terraces. Entrances are hidden from the main pedestrian
routes. Audiences and visitors have to cross service lanes and
delivery yards to access the buildings. Access is confusing and
unwelcoming, especially for the elderly, those with young families
and those with disabilities, all of whom face the physical barriers
of many changing levels. There is a lack of green spaces and public
squares. In their current state, Jubilee Gardens and the Queen's
Walk are not able to cope with the pressure of the increase of
3 million visits a year to an annual 9 million (increased by the
arrival of the BA London Eye). And the small spiral staircases
off the Royal Festival Hall Terrace will be inadequate to cope
with the anticipated increase from 4 million to 7 million people
a year using the new Hungerford footbridges. Photographs of the
current condition of the site are shown in Annex 2 (not reproduced).
4. THE VISION
The South Bank Centre's vision for the future,
endorsed during the public consultation with artists, audiences,
visitors and the local community, is to re-establish the South
Bank as the world's leading cultural destination and to enhance
its role as the nation's cultural quarter for the next 50 years;
building on the legacy of the 1951 Festival of Britain as a beacon
of accessible culture. It wants to deliver state-of-the art facilities
that can compete internationally. In particular:
refurbish the Royal Festival Hall
auditorium, improve the acoustic and the foyers, re-open the roof
gardens for public use, restore the building's original entrances,
improve access to and within the hall and reinstate and enliven
the spaces outside
replace or modify the Queen Elizabeth
Hall and Purcell Room into two 1,100 seat performance halls; one
with a natural acoustic for classical music and more flexible
space. The latter would be Britain's first purpose built contemporary
refurbish the Hayward Gallery with
improved technical capacity to enable all-year-round opening and
new space for the display of the Arts Council Collection, and
improve access for all
in partnership with the British Film
Institute, create a new National Film Centre comprising five cinema
screens, a new Museum of the Moving Image with space for a temporary
exhibition area and providing access to the Film and Television
Collection, amongst the world's largest.
All of these refurbished and new venues should
also include the modern facilities expected by today's and tomorrow's
audiences such as dedicated education areas, access for all, art
related shops and cafes as well as dedicated corporate entertainment
The arts buildings should be set within a welcoming
site where the architecture and spaces between the buildings are
designed to make the cultural centre easy to get to and accessible,
interesting, animated, attractive and an enjoyable place to visit.
In addition we need to create a world-class riverside park on
Jubilee Gardens where landscape and the arts can come together.
5. WHAT HAS
In delivering this vision, the South Bank Centre
has been guided by four simple principles drawn from the lessons
of the previous schemes:
Partnership with Stakeholders
involving all local, national and international stakeholders at
the earliest stage in the development of the strategy through
Operational Continuity to
keep as many arts facilities and events running as possible with
no more than one building closed at any one time
Phased Development, which
enables the independent development of different sites and the
design of individual buildings at different times
Public/Private Funding to
finance the redevelopment drawing on lottery funds, private donations,
some regeneration funds and contributions from neighbouring commercial
developments, as well as commercial value arising from enabling
development on the South Bank Centre's estate.
Achievements to date fall into two broad areas;
the Royal Festival Hall and the masterplan.
Royal Festival Hall
The key milestones of the Royal Festival Hall
project are as follows:
|June 1999 ||Removal of the overhead Walkway by Belvedere Road creating a new public open space called Festival Square.
|July 1999 ||Heritage Lottery Fund announce an in-principle award of £12.5million towards the foyers and auditorium project.
|April 2000 ||Completed detailed design of the refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall and an Extension Building to house the South Bank Centre staff to free up more space for the public use within the Hall. A summary of the proposal is set out in Annex 3 (not reproduced).
|Planning applications submitted to Lambeth Council.
|May 2001||Royal Festival Hall 50th birthday celebrations and fund-raising campaign launched.
|July 2001||Arts Council agrees, subject to a detailed submission, to an-principle award of £20 million for the project from the £25 million allocated to the South Bank Centre for the arts buildings across the site.
|December 2001||Royal Festival Hall application for Foyers project deferred by Lambeth Council to January 2002 pending a site visit by the Planning Committee.
|The key milestones of the masterplan are as follows:
|March 1999||Established a task force of funders, planning authorities and consultees, neighbouring landowners and independent advisors to advise in the draft brief, to select the master planner and to oversee general progress.
|May 1999||Selection of Rick Mather Architects as Master Planner, by international competition, to create a masterplan framework.
|October 1999||Completion of one of Britain's largest ever public consultations on the draft brief for the masterplan (see Annex 4 below).
|December 1999||Building on previous work, completion of a detailed assessment of the urban design needs of the site; the volumetric evaluation of the arts brief in relation to the different sites; an investigation into the adaptability of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery; an exploration of five different options requested by the Lambeth Council, English Heritage and the local community and finally, how best to deliver the redevelopment with regard to the four guiding principles and the need to finance the redevelopment and sustain it in the long term.
|February 2000||Launch of the draft masterplan which was in two parts: a framework for the whole estate, and proposals for individual sites within the framework.
an urban design strategyfully endorsed
by all key stakeholders including Lambeth Council, English Heritage,
the Council for Architecture and the Built Environment, and neighbouring
landownerscreating simpler and more direct pedestrian routes,
ground level access for all arts facilities, discreetly dedicated
vehicular servicing lanes and delivery yards, new public squares
and open spaces and establishing active street frontages along
pedestrian routes and bordering opens spaces.
a pioneering disabled access audit of the primary
pedestrian routes and Britain's first access principles for the
spaces between buildings to complement existing access legislation
for the buildings themselves.
Individual Site Proposals
a demonstration in volumetric and funding terms
of the need to use the Hungerford Car Park site if the South Bank
Centre was to achieve a world-class cultural centre within the
four guiding principles
recommended disposition of new or refurbished
cultural facilities and enabling development across the site.
Key features were:
the sloping of Jubilee Gardens and its extension
across Hungerford car park to form a world class park with cultural
and enabling development underneath it as a way of reconciling
the demand for more arts facilities and open space
a new cultural "street" along Belvedere
Road, providing activity, clarity of movement and night time security
two "gateway" buildings, one along Waterloo
Bridge and the other alongside Hungerford Bridge to integrate
the site with the surrounding area and provide commercial funds
refurbishment of the Hayward Gallery within its
flexibility towards the retention or refurbishment
of the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room, and to be decided
through architectural competition
the new film centre and one of the new performance
halls to be placed under the extended park
recommendations on how to implement the masterplan
in independent phases while maximising operational continuity.
Phase 1 The Royal Festival Hall
Phase 2 The Hungerford car park and Jubilee
Phase 3 The Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell
Room and Hayward Gallery
|October 2000||Completed the UK's largest arts-led public consultation on the draft masterplan. There was overwhelming support for the principles of the masterplan but some design issues to be considered (Annex 5 provides a summary of the public consultation.)
| ||Given the large number of stakeholders and the continued fluidity of the brief, the South Bank Centre sought to select an architect for the Hungerford car park Jubilee Gardens site to work with all parties rather than an architectural scheme.
|January 2001||Completed a cultural retail strategy for the site which set down the principles for the volume and mix of shops and catering that would enhance the arts experience and help create a cultural destination.
|March 2001||The South Bank's International Jury short-list two practices for the Hungerford car park and Jubilee Gardens site. In addition five landscape architects are short-listed for the whole site.
|April 2001||Lambeth Council launches public consultation on its new Unitary Development Plan for the Borough which include major proposals for the South Bank Centre's site and Waterloo in general.
|May 2001||The South Bank Centre meets the Mayor who endorses South Bank as a priority for cultural, economic and environmental improvement, approves of the principles behind the masterplan and offers support as champion of the project.
|June 2001||Mayor launches "Towards the London Plan" for public consultation that includes a number of proposed policies for Waterloo and the South Bank.
| ||The South Bank Centre briefs new Secretary of State and Arts Minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
|September 2000||The South Bank Centre start joint technical study with Shell to ensure that the two development proposals fit within a common framework.
| ||South Bank landowners bring together planning teams of the Mayor and Lambeth to prepare a transport capacity benchmark against which the impact of future development can be assessed.
|November 2001 ||The South Bank Centre have come to the view that development under Jubilee Gardenseven though it meets the arts brief and requires the lowest level of public investmentis unlikely to be deliverable following a review of the planning and legal issues arising from discussions with Lambeth Council and neighbouring landowners. The South Bank Centre is exploring the implication of cultural and commercial development on Hungerford car park site only while allowing some expansion of the park. Both will form part of a number of scenarios within the masterplan framework to be discussed with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in the spring.
As part of the development of these scenarios the South Bank
Centre is currently:
conducting a review of performance hall provisions
in partnership with the British Film Institute,
reviewing how the film centre requirement can best be fitted into
exploring a Not-for-Profit Trust for Jubilee Gardens
and the Queen's Walk in partnership with the neighbouring landowners
and the local community to permit the re-landscaping to proceed
as a first phase of this part of the site.
|January 2002||Lambeth Council will place the first draft UDP on deposit for public consultation.
6. THE KEY
The redevelopment of the South Bank Centre represents a major
opportunity for London and the nation. It could:
transform the site into a new world class cultural
destination, attracting more Londoners, UK and overseas visitors
to London, as part of a revitalised riverside quarter, and making
the centre sustainable in the long term
in strategic partnership with major businesses
in the Waterloo area, act as a catalyst for the economic and social
regeneration of south London, and contribute to the government's
and the Mayor's social inclusion strategy
provide a world class environment to welcome visitors
put the South Bank at the heart of London by improving
pedestrian links to the north bank.
The challenge for the South Bank Centre is to realise this
opportunity. In doing so it has had to consider a number of important
The South Bank Centre's estate is in a high profile location.
It has unique characteristics, is one of the last central London
riverside sites to be developed and the whole area has a controversial
planning history. This has guaranteed the involvement and interest
of over 50 different stakeholders.
In addition there are two planning issues.
The first is the designation of the Hungerford car park site
as Metropolitan Open Land and potential open space by Lambeth
Council (against the advice of a government Planning Inspector,
following a Public Inquiry). This means that the site can only
be developed in exceptional circumstances. Any determined stakeholder
could force a further Public Inquiry following the submission
of the planning application, adding yet more delay and major costs
to securing a planning consent.
The second is that the South Bank is a conservation area,
with listed buildings and structures and strategic viewing corridors.
This means that Lambeth Council can only consider detailed planning
applications. The cost to the South Bank Centre of preparing designs
to this level of detail would be between £5 million and £7
million. This cost would have to be incurred without any certainty
of securing planning consent.
The challenge facing the South Bank Centre is how to maximise
certainty before embarking on a major investment of public funds.
In seeking to secure this certainty the South Bank Centre has
been managing the process by which different decision-makers and
stakeholders can agree on the best balance of three key elements.
the arts brief necessary to re-establish the South
Bank's international cultural leadership
the funding mix, especially the balance between
public and commercial enabling development
the planning risk which relates directly to the
funding mix ie the lower the public investment the more commercial
enabling development and therefore the higher the planning risk,
especially when the commercial development is to take place in
an area currently zoned in planning terms for arts and cultural
The diagram below illustrates the challenge:
To illustrate further the challenges facing the South Bank
Centre in trying to meet its objective the role and position of
each of the key stakeholders in the South Bank are set out in
Costs and funding
The cost of refurbishing the Royal Festival Hall is £54
The three other arts buildings (irrespective of whether they
are refurbishments or replacements or which site they are on)
is some £147 million.
The British Film Institute will fund the film centre costs.
The South Bank Centre is working in partnership with major
landowners, the local authority and the community to improve the
areas of public realm such as Jubilee Gardens, Queen's Walk and
commuter pedestrian routes through funds from the Single Regeneration
Budget and Section 106 contributions from neighbouring commercial
The mix of funding and the implications for the wider arts
brief and planning risk is now the main focus of attention for
The arts costs will be funded from three sources: lottery,
private donations and contributions from enabling development
on the site.
The funding challenge facing the South Bank Centre is to
avoid a Catch 22:
private funders and Trusts will not commit major
donations without seeing the architecture and certainty that it
creating the design needs substantial feasibility
this expenditure has to be incurred before consent
commercial Development partners will not commit
funding without a planning consent
yet for the planning authorities certainty of
funding and that it will happen will be a key factor in considering
a planning application
This is why the Arts Council of England and Heritage Lottery
Fund's financial support is so critical, since it makes the feasibility
work necessary to break the circle, and so unlock substantial
private and commercial resources over the longer term.
7. THE IMMEDIATE
The next steps are set out below:
||obtain planning consent for the Royal Festival Hall Foyers and Extension Building
|||complete review of the arts brief given the smaller development area
|||complete the different scenarios within the masterplan for the Department of Media, Culture and Sport
|Spring 2002||||consensus reached on one of the scenarios by key stakeholders
|Summer 2002||||Heritage Lottery Fund consider increasing Lottery Award for Royal Festival Hall to £20 million
|||the Arts Council of England consider Lottery Award for the Royal Festival Hall of £20 million
|||appoint architects and other professional team
|||new Royal Festival Hall Festival Square Café Opens
|||new Royal Festival Hall wide staircase off Hungerford Terrace opens
|Autumn 2002||||outline scheme for Hungerford car park and Jubilee Gardens published for public consultation.
8. HOW THE
The South Bank Centre would appreciate the support of the
Culture, Media and Sports Select Committee in this complex process
recognising the South Bank's international and
national arts role and the need to re-establish its world leadership
through the redevelopment and refurbishment of the whole site
endorsing the importance of national lottery or
other public funding in providing the seed money to develop proposals
that will attract much larger private and commercial funding
encouraging the myriad of stakeholders to work
with the South Bank Centre in "pooling their sovereignty"
in the search for a solution that will create the cultural centre
of which the government, the community, artists and audiences
can be proud.
In addition the South Bank Centre would be very happy to
invite the Committee to the South Bank to see at first hand the
buildings, the site and our proposals to improve them.