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Jamie Fobert's Tate St Ives extension revived

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Jamie Fobert’s long-overdue Tate St Ives extension in Cornwall is finally moving forward after gallery bosses rejected costly alternatives, including splitting the collection over two sites.

The AJ has learned that the Tate has plumped for a £13.5 million single-building extension on Barnoon car park above the gallery – almost three years after Fobert won the original design competition.

However the proposals, one of five options drawn up by Fobert, could still be scuppered by Cornwall County Council if it opposes the loss of 79 parking bays.

And even if the parking issue is resolved, the London-based architect must once again rework his proposal as part of the design and consultation process. ‘We want this scheme to be representative of all concerns,’ said Fobert.

The Tate St Ives project is now on hold until spring 2008, when a new St Ives’ parking strategy is unveiled. Part of the 12-month study ordered by Cornwall County Council, this will look at whether the town can absorb the significant loss of car space caused by developing Barnoon car park.

Commenting on Fobert’s proposed extension, a Tate St Ives spokeswoman said: ‘Several-site options, which would be much bigger, pose a number of problems in terms of funding and staffing. This means we will continue looking at the Barnoon option.

‘But it must be complementary to the community and fit in with Penwith District Council’s St Ives parking strategy. The project involves the displacement of a large volume of permit-holding parking spaces,’ she added.

If built, Fobert’s extension will add much-needed space for temporary exhibitions, along with a dedicated education area, a reception, offices, storage and improved delivery access.

A special link will be created to connect the extension with original 1993 gallery, designed by Evans and Shalev.

In July 2006, Fobert was ordered to ‘reassess’ the project after it was suggested the gallery could be split over two sites in St Ives.

Other options have included renovating an existing drill hall and building an extra gallery in the Trenwith area of the town or nearby Hayle. A plan to rework the existing St Ives Gallery was also considered.

The plans have attracted opposition from a number of local people.

A statement from campaign group Keep St Ives Special reads: ‘Jamie Fobert’s designs for the Tate extension are irrelevant to most people within St Ives.’

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