A strategy was presented today to make the half-billion-pound concert hall that Simon Rattle is demanding the centrepiece of a Culture Mile in the City of London.
That’s all very well, but there has been no public consultation on the new hall, no value-for-money assessment, no demographic study and no recognition that, once Brexit kicks in, the City will be struggling to pay for luxuries.
The hall is, in our view, an otiose digression from more critical cultural issues.
Here’s the press release:
The City of London Corporation, together with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London, have announced plans for a major destination for culture and creativity in the Square Mile.
Unveiled today as ‘Culture Mile’, this ambitious and transformational initiative will create a vibrant cultural area in the north-west corner of the City over the next 10 to 15 years. Stretching just under a mile from Farringdon to Moorgate, Culture Mile will have creative exchange, cultural collaboration and learning at its core in an area where 2,000 years of history collide with the world’s best in culture.
Culture Mile’s core partners are all internationally acclaimed organisations in their own right and some partnerships already operate across these institutions. Over the next decade and beyond, the five partners, led by the City of London Corporation, will transform the area, improving their offer to audiences with imaginative collaborations, outdoor programming and events seven days a week. Links between venues will be improved and major enhancements to the streets and wider public realm will enliven the area which, as Culture Mile expands and flourishes, will be regenerated.
Crossrail’s new Elizabeth Line connections at Farringdon and Moorgate, which open in December 2018, will make it much easier to travel to, and from, the City. Around 1.5 million additional visitors a year will be within a 45-minute journey of the area when the Elizabeth Line becomes fully operational in December 2019 and the North-South Thameslink line is upgraded.
Farringdon will have direct access to three major London airports with a 30-minute journey time from London Heathrow. It will be the only place where London Underground, Thameslink and Crossrail all interlink and will be one of the busiest stations in the UK, making the area more connected than ever to London and beyond.
- the new Museum of London* at West Smithfield, which is already developing its designs
- the proposed Centre for Music**, for which the preferred site is currently occupied by the Museum of London – has recently announced the shortlist of world class architects competing to develop the concept design for a state-of-the-art building of acoustic and visual excellence.
- the transformation of Beech Street***, which will become a crucial axis for Culture Mile. The City of London Corporation is assessing how best to transform Beech Street, to make it a more welcoming environment, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists, including new measures to improve air quality, introducing retail units and providing better access to the existing cultural destinations either side of it. There will be consultation on the proposals to achieve these aims.