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South Bank follies

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The South Bank is always with us, a regular generator of architectural stories. The latest dilemma is what to do about Jubilee Gardens, the popular open space created by the glc and currently used as a spoil tip for the Jubilee Line Extension. The South Bank Centre is charged with restoring it to former use, and a competition is in train. Sensibly, widespread public consultation is taking place before the brief is finalised for the chosen architect. The fly in the ointment is that the locals want the gardens extended to the adjacent Hungerford car park site - which the South Bank Centre and its new chairman Elliot Bernerd want to keep for potential development, presumably sticking the parking facilities underground. A vociferous public meeting recently made it clear that locals, at least, don't want this solution. But a development is needed (previous proposed users have included the National Portrait Gallery, the riba and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Company). Why? To help fund a revised Richard Rogers masterplan for the rest of the South Bank complex, now that the wavy roof scheme has finally been ditched.

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