South Bank's £135m Renovation Plans Axed
Date: 12 March 1998
The Arts Council yesterday put an end to ambitious plans to encase London's South Bank Centre in a wavy glass roof, designed by Lord Rogers. The proposed £135m revamp of the notoriously ugly complex - whose four arts venues include the Hayward Gallery, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall - required £75m of Lottery money from the Council in addition to £60m from the Heritage Lottery fund and the South Bank Centre foundation and £17m from millionaire publisher Sir Paul Hamlyn for whom the new centre would be named. But, following criticism over its £78m grant to the Royal Opera House, the Arts Council has now imposed a £50m ceiling on Lottery funds for individual projects. Proponents of the renovation believed that it would help regenerate the whole area along the south bank of the Thames with more restaurants, cafés and shops. They insisted that the investment would be recouped in increased visitors, staying longer and spending more. South Bank chairman Sir Brian Corby has already resigned due to the failed scheme and resignations from chief executive Nicholas Snowman and other senior personnel are anticipated. Culture secretary Chris Smith is expected to call an emergency meeting next week to discuss the future of the complex.
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