National Theatre's Nicholas Hynter Lodges Formal Objection to Redevelopment Plans of Neighboring Southbank Centre

By Mark Shenton
July 3, 2013

The National's soon-to-depart artistic director Nicholas Hytner has lodged a formal objection to the redevelopment plans of the neighboring Southbank Centre that includes the Royal Festival and Queen Elizabeth Halls and the Hayward Gallery.



In a 3,668-word statement to Lambeth Council, the local governing authority of the area that both venues are located in and would have to grant planning permission for the work to go ahead, he has commented that the South Bank Centre's £120 million expansion plans would damage the arts quarter of the South Bank.

He has written, "The National Theatre is a close and supportive neighbor to the Southbank Centre but over the last few months we have noted with growing concern the scale of the Festival Wing proposals. Having now read the full application and reviewed the details with our Board we regret that we must make a formal objection to the applications submitted on behalf of the South Bank Centre for planning permission."

The National is currently in the midst of its own £80 million NT Future rebuilding program, and Hytner has commented further on his neighbor's plan: "We fear that the Liner building will be both a component of, and over arching metaphor for the further segmentation of the most dynamic arts complex in the country, if not the world." He has also cited the impact the proposed redevelopment will have on views from the National Theatre's terraces, stating that they "will disappear with the Liner building, which will cantilever one full story above the bridge level, thus presenting to our largest terrace the structural beams and supports."