The Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee have given the capital a real lift this year and all sorts of projects that were languishing in the design drawer are now busily being prepared, spurred on by civic pride and that unyielding deadline. Here’s one such project, Jubilee Gardens
Few locations express more forcibly the complexity, farce and paralysis that institutionally afflict London public space development than Jubilee Gardens. On this bizarrely neglected stretch of prime riverside parkland, the Southbank Centre owns the grass but the Shiriyama Corporation (landlords of County Hall next door) owns the subsoil. Buried deep within this quixotic legal riddle lies a recipe for the decades of dithering and delay that have continually frustrated plans for its redevelopment. Until now. Construction started last October and the new £5.5m park will open to the designs of Dutch urbanism collective West 8 in mid-May. Alan Bishop, chief executive of the Southbank Centre, points out that a key contributory factor to unlocking the funding and framework that finally enabled the project to proceed after so many previous false starts was the determination to transform the space “in time for the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics”.