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Work finally set to begin on Jubilee Gardens - images

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The controversial Jubilee Gardens project has finally been given the go-ahead, ending years of uncertainty over the future of the high-profile site on London's South Bank.

The decision by Lambeth Council means work can finally begin on the 'undulating' park proposals in front of Shell Centre.

Dutch landscape designer West 8 has twice won international design competitions for the plot - the second time last summer, when the firm saw off bids from Gross.Max, Thomas Heatherwick and EDAW.

It is hoped the move will end the speculation about the future of the project, which has been beset by difficulties, including wrangles over land ownership (AJ 27.07.02).

Designed as a 'lush' park with softly rolling hills, West 8's scheme will use trees and flowers which bloom all year round to create a 'botanical ambiance' on the riverside site.

The project is led by the South Bank Employers' Group (SBEG) on behalf of the Jubilee Gardens Steering Group (JGSG), which represents local businesses, community and statutory authority interests as well as the land owner, the South Bank Centre.

Ted Inman, chairman of the JGSG and chief executive of SBEG said: 'We are committed to creating a Jubilee Gardens which mixes peaceful spaces, fantastic views and facilities for public events and performances.

'Securing planning permission is an important milestone for us and we will now be fully focused on fundraising to ensure that this project comes to fruition as soon as possible.

He added: 'The new park will be worthy of the garden's central London location and the enormous numbers of people who visit the South Bank every year.'

by Richard Waite

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