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Green light for Jubilee Gardens as Olympic viewing venue

[FIRST LOOK] West 8’s revised Jubilee Gardens scheme is to become a viewing venue for the 2012 Olympic Games thanks to a £1.5million cash injection from the Greater London Authority (GLA)

The windfall means the £5.5 million proposals to revamp the public space next to the River Thames on London’s Southbank are finally set to be built following almost five years of delay - and a significant redesign.

Ted Inman, of client Southbank Employers Group said: ‘It’s great [news]. It makes all the difference.’

He confirmed the planning application will be submitted in June, with construction expected to commence in 2011 and to complete in time for the games.

The rolling hills and white ‘cliff’ edges have been ‘toned down’ according to Inman. He said: ‘[We have removed] the retaining walls and the bridge and the structural elements and the effect is that the topography cannot be as marked as before.’

The park will no longer be raised at the boundary with Queen’s Walk (the riverfront) and City Hall, as previously proposed.

Nevertheless the park will vastly improve the surface quality of the site, which sits inches above the foundations of the Festival of Britain’s Dome of Discovery.

Inman said: ‘What’s there at the moment is very shallow and what we are proposing is very high quality top soil, grass, irrigation and drainage that will be able to stand up to the increased footfall.’

The previous version of the scheme floundered due to cost and legal reasons.

 Councillor Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council said: ‘Jubilee Gardens forms part of an iconic setting on the Southbank that is famous the world over.’

The completed project will sit alongside the iconic South Bank centre, Marks Barfield’s London Eye, the River Thames, and Shell Centre.

Jubilee Gardens is part of Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s Great Outdoors programme aimed at improving public spaces in the capital.

He said: ‘When the world comes here during the 2012 Games we want the place to look its best and for people to have enjoyable journeys through the area.’

The park will be re-launched in time for the Queen’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee. It was originally built for the Silver Jubilee in 1977.

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