London’s landscapes get boost

Aim to clean up "ugly urban eyesores" on London's South Bank gains momentum.

Some of the UK’s biggest businesses have pledged to give unstoppable momentum to many of London’s most ambitious landscape projects. South Bank Partnership launched a manifesto this week aiming to break deadlocks on schemes like Jubilee Gardens, mired for years in funding and legal problems. The group, including MPs and councillors from Southwark and Lambeth, aims to regenerate local housing and open spaces and create jobs. Shell, IBM and other big local employers like St Thomas’ Hospital vowed to work together to secure funding and ensure the area competed with New York, San Francisco and Tokyo. They aim to clean up “ugly urban eyesores and make crucial open space improvements”, said London mayor Ken Livingstone, who backs the team. Hotspots like South Bank riverside were also being targeted along with several of the mayor’s “100 Squares” projects, some of which had been stymied by years of debate. “Much of the public realm from the ’60s to the ’80s was dreadful,” said Southwark council leader Nicholas Stanton. “People are fed up dodging skateboarders and the smell from hotdog stands.” The manifesto for action, Under pressure and on the edge, said: “Lack of maintenance is evident throughout the area. Even where one-off capital projects created improvements, the failure to maintain them undermined the investment.” Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes, co-chair of the partnership formed in 1994, said SE1 was “the most happening postcode in the world”. But streetscapes needed better signs and lights. Scope and costs were being finalised, said Shell director Andrew Eddy.

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