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Demolition threat leaves Hayward future in doubt

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Speculation is mounting that London's Hayward Gallery on the South Bank is coming under increased threat from the bulldozers.

The South Bank Centre (SBC) has refused to deny widespread rumours that it plans to demolish the Brutalist building as part of a massive restructuring of its facilities and programmes.

Local conservationists and planners have warned that SBC's chief executive Michael Lynch has become increasingly infuriated with the gallery building and is interested in removing it from the complex.

One source inside the conservation department of the local borough of Lambeth said there 'seems to be a very real threat from the SBC authorities'.

And he said that there were also 'genuine concerns' that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport were 'seemingly delaying' attempts to get the building listed.

'This does seem extraordinary to me that anyone is considering this move. It is a great building and a great gallery, ' the source said.

If Lynch does decide that the building must go, it will come just two years after the completion of Haworth Tompkins' project to provide new entrance and lobby facilities for the gallery.

'It is hard to believe that they would consider demolishing the building so soon after the completion of this work, ' the source added. 'But every time we try and find out what is going on, it becomes apparent that they are seriously thinking about it.' And the SBC refused to dismiss the demolition option. 'We are going through a big reorganisation at the moment and we are definitely not ruling anything in or anything out, ' a spokeswoman said.

'At the moment we are busy working on the improvements we are making to the Royal Festival Hall and have not made any definite decisions on the future of the Hayward, ' she added.

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