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Southbank redevelopment hits Heritage Lottery Fund setback

- 10 May 2013

A design study of plans for the Southbank Centre’s Festival Wing
Photo: FeildenCleggBradleyStudios

The Southbank Centre has failed in a £10.2m bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for its recently announced plan to develop the area around the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery.

Six major HLF grants ‒ of £5m or more, made once a year ‒ were approved in what its chair, Jenny Abramsky, called ‘an extraordinarily competitive funding environment’.

The successful applicants are Silverstone Heritage Live, HMS Caroline, Cornish history archive Kresen Kernow, Alexandra Palace, Auckland Castle and Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums.

Abramsky said the six proposals stood out ‘because of their strong focus on regeneration and importance to their local communities’.

A spokesman for the Southbank Centre told CM: ‘It is disappointing that the Festival Wing project wasn’t successful in this round of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We’re committed to this project to refurbish the 1960s buildings and the heritage of this part of the site, as well as providing more art for more people in better spaces.

‘We are confident we will raise the money for the project and have a proven funding strategy (through a mix of public funding, fundraising, commercial income and making best use of our assets) with the recent Royal Festival Hall transformation.’

HLF funding rounds take place annually and the Southbank’s redevelopment project has already been awarded a £20m capital investment grant by Arts Council England.

The Southbank is currently undertaking public consultation on the plans, revealed in March this year. One group opposed is the community based around the skate park in the undercroft of the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The plans would make the current space, described as ‘a mecca for skate boarders all over the world’, unavailable but include a commitment to open up a new space for ‘urban arts’ under Hungerford Bridge.

A petition opposing the plans on Change.org, which says that ‘the proposal to move the skate park means it is not regarded as equally important as the other cultural facilities at Southbank’, has received more than 30,000 signatures.

Aberdeen Art Gallery’s £10m grant will support its Inspiring Art and Music scheme, which will give better access to Aberdeen’s Cowdray Hall as well as improving its performance area, crush hall, green room and reception and providing new seating.

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