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Rogers’ British Museum extension lands £25m boost

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partner’s (RSHP) British Museum extension project has landed a massive £25 million cash donation

The controversial £135 million project is now 70 per cent funded according to museum sources. The government has promised £22.5 million towards the scheme.

A spokesperson for the museum said: ‘This is a key project for the British Museum and the arts and this donation is a vital part of the project. It has been talked about and worked on for a long period of time.

‘We have no idea of the impact of the [Comprehensive Spending Review], but at this time everybody is very interested to see what is happening with private philanthropy.’

Museums are braced for further cuts to be announced in the government’s Autumn spending review.

The cash donation by Tory peer John Sainsbury is the biggest gift to UK arts since Paul Getty in 1985 gave £90 million to the British Film Institute and National Gallery.

 

Previous story (13.01.10)

Secretary of State refuses to ‘call in’ Rogers’ British Museum plans

The Secretary of State John Denham has rejected demands to ‘call in’ Richard Rogers’ contentious extension to the British Museum in central London

In December, both the Camden Civic Society and Bloomsbury Conservation Area Advisory Committee (CAAC) urged Denham to hold a public inquiry into the proposed five-storey development, which they believe will blight the landmark.

Rogers Stirk Harbour’s £135m scheme, which will improve exhibition and conservation facilities, was granted planning permission on 17 December 2009 – after initially being rejected because of concern over the impact to existing grade I-listed structures.

A statement published by the government (attached, see right) said: ‘The Secretary of State is satisfied that the planning issues… have been adequately dealt with by the council and that the application does not raise issues of more than local importance’.

Hero Granger-Taylor of the Camden Civic Society said: ‘On one level, I am not surprised by the Secretary of State’s decision: an inquiry would have meant a lot of washing of dirty linen in public, and he cannot have wanted that to happen’.

It is understood the museum wants to start construction as soon as possible.

Previous Story, AJ 21.12.09

Demands for Rogers British Museum extension to be ‘called in’

Camden Civic Society has called for Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ recently approved extension to the British Museum to be ‘called in’ by the Government

The proposed extension was approved by Camden Council last week, nine to three in favour of the re-jigged proposals, having previously refused the practice’s initial designs for the redevelopment of the north-western corner of the Grade I-listed London landmark.

In a statement issued by chair Martin Morton, Camden Civic Society (CCS) outlined its intentions: ‘Together with the Bloomsbury CAAC, we shall also now be asking the Secretary of State, Department of Communities and Local Government, to “call-in” the revised application, that is, to refer it to an Inquiry.’

The CCS object to the £135 million extension because of ‘the great harm it will do to the Museum’s existing magnificent Grade I listed buildings…[and] the damage it will do to the setting of other listed buildings and the character of the Bloomsbury Conservation Area.’

Readers' comments (3)

  • Hero is correct; the plans would not stand up under detailed scrutiny of national planning policy. Much easier just to not allow that to happen.

    A disgrace. This is far more than of local importance.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • 'A disgrace'?! The disgrace is the way these same couple of people keep on trying to undermine this wonderful scheme. They've had their say; now let's just get it built! It will transform the British Museum for the millions of people who enjoy it every year and look absolutely beautiful, as the picture shows.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Rather more than a couple of people actually. Hardly a 'wonderful' scheme, bit of a dog's dinner, and it will damage some seriously important historic architecture as well. Or is it only conservation of content which is important?

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