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Light at the end of the tunnel for West 8’s Jubilee Gardens

West 8’s plans to redevelop Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank in London are finally set to make it off the drawing board after almost five years of delays

The Belgian practice will submit a revised planning application for the long-awaited scheme next to Marks Barfield Architects’ London Eye, which could be completed in time for the Olympics in 2012.

A modified version of the scheme will be unveiled in the next two weeks, a spokesperson for client South Bank Employers Group confirmed.

The original competition-winning designs to revamp the grassy scrap of prime riverside land had languished after Japanese firm Shirayama Shokusan, which owns some land beneath the gardens, objected to the proposals.

Project leader Maarten Buijs of West 8 said: ‘[We are] liaising with our client on a daily basis to overcome all issues and obstacles.’

Proposals to re-landscape the park won approval in April 2006, but legal wrangling with its neighbours over subsoil rights halted progress and earlier permissions are now void.

West 8 has tweaked its initial design, which was for a raised park with white ‘cliff’ edges, pathways and planting.

A spokesperson for the South Bank Employers’ Group said: ‘We would like [the gardens] to be part of the cultural and entertainment elements of the Olympics.’

West8's 2005 scheme for Jubilee Gardens

West8’s 2005 scheme for Jubilee Gardens

West 8 landed the job in 2001, beating Battle McCarthy, Gross.Max, EDAW (now AECOM) and Groupe Signes with Patel Taylor. The practice triumphed again in 2005, seeing off bids from Gross.Max, Thomas Heatherwick and EDAW to win the contest for the second time.

Meanwhile, staff are due to vacate the iconic Shell Centre to allow for a 10-year programme of redevelopment announced last week. Arup had previously won permission in 2005 for a ground-level retail scheme, but it is understood other architects may be sought for further works.

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