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Haworth Tompkins bags planning for National Theatre revamp

Haworth Tompkins has won planning permission for its contentious upgrade and extension Denys Lasdun’s Grade II* Lister Royal National Theatre on London’s Southbank

The £70 million project improves access to the theatre complex and creates a new café, a rooftop garden and a workshop. A visitor centre will also be added to the Cottesloe Theatre’s entrance and a back-of-house walkway will allow visitors to move internally between the Cottesloe and Lyttelton theatres.

Lambeth Council’s planning committee last night (29 September) voted unanimously in favour of granting planning permission for the project.

A spokesperson for the National Theatre said: ‘We warmly welcome Lambeth Council’s decision to grant planning consent for the NT Future project, which is a critical hurdle in its realisation.  The scheme is both sensitive and transformational; Haworth Tompkins’ designs display deep respect for Denys Lasdun’s building while being informed by several generations of theatremaking artists. 

‘Fundraising will now begin in earnest. It is a challenging time to raise money, but we believe that the combination of our commitment to the National Theatre’s future and the generosity and the vision of our supporters, will enable this vital project to proceed.’

One of Lasdun’s employees, Gordon Forbes, however objected to the proposal.

In a letter to the borough’s director of planning and development he previously hit out at the proposed four-storey new-build workshop extension claiming it ‘would have a strongly detrimental effect upon the carefully-considered south and east elevations and to the roof design - the fifth elevation.’

He added: ‘It would be permanently damaging to our work.’

A timescale for the development is not yet known.

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