Since being granted planning and listed building consent for the comprehensive redevelopment of the Complex in June 2016, we have been working our way through the extensive pre-commencement conditions that need to be dealt with before construction can actually begin. Activities such as the detailed design of the building and its replacement facades, archaeological investigations, geotechnical investigations etc have been ongoing. Additionally, full scale mock-ups of the replacement facades for both the Tower and 30 Millbank have been built by one of the premier companies in the field: Gartner Facades. The facades once approved by the Council will be retained on site for quality reference purposes.
Whilst all this work has been occurring, offers have been received from a number of operators in relation to the proposed hotel. As a result of the feedback from the hoteliers it has been necessary to make some changes to the hotel component of the scheme.
Archaeological trial pit
Tower facade mock-up
Y-building facade mock-up
What are the proposed changes?
At the time of the original application we were one of the short-listed candidates to become the home of the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre. However, the selection committee picked another site instead: Victoria Tower Gardens, up the road next to Parliament. This decision was announced by the Prime Minister in January 2016. As a result, when our scheme went to Planning Committee for approval in April 2016 it was for a generic cultural centre, whose occupant was to be determined at a future date.
Our site falls within the Millbank Strategic Cultural Area and it has always been our aspiration to bring forward a significant cultural institution as part of the development capable of complementing our neighbours: Tate Britain and the Chelsea School of Art and Design. We have been keen to find a cultural partner able to bring new life and economic energy to this neighbourhood.
We are pleased to announce that we have been successful in attracting the British Film Institute (BFI) as our cultural partner. They are planning to create a new national centre for the future of the moving image at Millbank which we believe to be an ideal catalyst for both our development and the wider area.
What does the British Film Institute bring to Millbank?
The neighbourhood is currently limited in its economic, cultural and leisure activities, particularly in the evenings and at weekends. We see a strong parallel between the way that the Thameside near BFI Southbank has evolved over the past 20 years, becoming an internationally acclaimed destination, and this rather sleepier section of the Thames. We believe that BFI Millbank will have significant synergy with both Tate Britain and the Chelsea School of Art, and that its presence will help the area become livelier and better served by shops, cafes, restaurants and galleries. It should also help foster creative studios and businesses, bringing additional economic life and opportunity to the area.
It was inevitable that both the cultural and hotel components of the planning consent would need to be particularised in order to meet the needs of their occupants. The needs of the BFI are very specific and have been challenging to accommodate within the constraints of the listed building.
As mentioned above the hotel component has also been modified to accommodate operator demand and requirements.
We are planning to submit minor material amendments to our planning and listed building consents in order to accommodate these changes this autumn.
The website focuses on the differences between the consented and the proposed schemes.