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Finally: West 8’s Jubilee Gardens scheme to start on site

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Dutch landscape architect West 8’s project to revamp Jubilee Gardens on London’s south bank is to start on site – 12 years after the company first won a competition for the site

Client Jubilee Gardens Trust today announced the £3.2m project – Which includes new flowerbeds and 70 trees – would start on site ‘imminently’ and is planned to complete by May next year in time for both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Maarten Buijs, project manager at West 8 said: ‘It is particularly rewarding that the resolve and perseverance of all stakeholders have paid off and that we can now focus on constructing the park.

‘West 8 is greatly looking forward to working with Frosts Landscape Construction and to implementing the plans we have all been talking about for so long.’

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘London’s South Bank is one of the great success stories of the last 60 years, delighting millions of visitors every year and helping grow the economy of this part of the capital.

‘It is vitally important to the cultural life, not just of London, but the whole nation. This project celebrates the legacy of the Festival of Britain and will be a wonderful new asset for the city, marking both the Diamond Jubilee and London 2012.’

Ted Inman, Jubilee Gardens Trust chair added: ‘All those represented in the Trust, neighbouring landowners, local business and residents’ organisations, have worked for many years for this day – we are looking forward to taking responsibility for the gardens and to managing them as one of London’s great green spaces.’

The completed garden will be used as an ‘Olympic Viewing Venue’ where events will be screened to the public free-of-charge during the summer games.

In March last year the AJ revealed West 8 was planning to submit a revised planning application for the long-awaited scheme next to Marks Barfield Architects’ London Eye.

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.

West 8 first landed the job in 1998, but the practice triumphed again in 2005, seeing off bids from Gross.Max, Thomas Heatherwick and EDAW to win the contest for the second time.

The site was used for the Festival of Britain in 1951 and the park – which opened in 1977 in celebration of Queen’s Silver Jubilee – is built above the foundations of Ralph Tubbs’ Dome of Discovery building (pictured, below).

Ralph Tubbs’ Dome of Discovery building at the 1951 Festival of Britain exhibition. Image by Oxyman

Source: Oxyman

Ralph Tubbs’ Dome of Discovery building at the 1951 Festival of Britain exhibition. Image by Oxyman

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