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JUBILEE PLANS IN THE OPEN

The four shortlisted concept designs for the controversial Jubilee Gardens site on London's South Bank were unveiled this week.

The schemes, by EDAW, Gross Max, West 8 and Thomas Heatherwick Studio with Land Use Consultants and Dan Pearson Studio, would change the area, an uninspiring lawn, into a world-class park.

Dogged by false starts and changing visions, the plans for the site have stumbled along for over seven years. There have already been at least two previous attempts to find a suitable landscape designer.

However, the Jubilee Gardens Steering Group, the consortium behind the redevelopment consisting of local businesses, community groups, statutory authorities and the South Bank Centre, is confident that the winning design will go ahead.

Ted Inman, the group's chair and the chief executive of South Bank Employers' Group, said: 'The design teams have brought fresh, inspirational thinking to the space.

'These ideas have the potential to completely transform the face of the South Bank and the way people use and enjoy the gardens.

'We are looking forward to finding out how they excite the local community, ' he added.

Among the more radical ideas proposed are Thomas Heatherwick's plans to build 'enormous grow bags' as part of an 'interlinked system of large objects'.

The successful design team will be announced in June. The winner will draft a final design and undertake additional consultation.

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