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Hoey hits out at South Bank Centre's 'sluggish' approach

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Yet another war of words has broken out over the proposed regeneration and redesign of the Jubilee Gardens site at London's South Bank Centre (SBC), writes Ed Dorrell.

A coalition of the local MP Kate Hoey, the London Borough of Lambeth and local residents has hit out at the SBC's proposals for the park.

Redevelopment of the land - which falls under the jurisdiction of the SBC - has been put on hold while plans for the rest of the South Bank come to fruition.

There is also an ongoing argument over the Hungerford Car Park site. Like Jubilee Gardens, this is Metropolitan Open Land and is subject to plans commissioned by the SBC for the construction of a cultural centre.

Hoey is furious about SBC's sluggishness over the whole South Bank site and called on the centre to hand over the park to an independent trust. She also called on the centre's managers to abandon their plans for the Hungerford Car Park site and give it to the trust as well.

She told a public meeting last Thursday: 'The SBC needs to get on with this. I am sick of hearing that there is another masterplan or that they are waiting on a new development. Why can't they simply hand over the land and let us get started on our own?'

Local campaigners also feel they are in a stronger position following Lambeth council's decision to grant a 25-year extension to the BA London Eye. The owners and managers of the Eye have committed themselves to funding the garden to the tune of £1 million.

And new Lambeth council leader Peter Trusdale further strengthened their hand: 'There is no chance that any council with me as leader will ever grant permission to construction on these sites.'

However, a spokesman for the SBC said they would stick to their guns. 'We are not going to withdraw our plans for the Hungerford Car Park site and we still hope to build an excellent addition to the SBC. We ought to work together and when we have completed our masterplan for the whole of the South Bank, then there will be immediate progress on the gardens, ' he added.

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