"Creative Quarter" To Be Built In W12

BBC to announce major redevelopment of TV Centre

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A new "creative quarter" could be developed along Wood Lane as part of the BBC's plans to sell Television Centre.

The Corporation is to unveil major redevelopment plans next month, when Television Centre celebrates its 50th anniversary, according to a report in The Guardian newspaper.

The report says the BBC wants to sell Television Centre to developers, but rent back some of the studios for programme-making. The rest of the complex would be demolished and replaced by new buildings which could then be used by other media organisations or production companies. Together, these would form a "creative hub" in W12.

Despite the sell-off and the move of many staff to Salford Quays and Broadcasting House in central London, the BBC's Head of Workplace, Chris Kane, said the Corporation still had a "long-term future in W12".

"How do we make up for the loss of the creative buzz? We're next to one of London's most deprived estates, the White City Estate. We're in a unique position. That gave rise to the writing of the vision for W12, for the next 50 years, asking what is our legacy for future generations?" Kane told the Guardian.

The BBC first announced the sale of Television Centre in 2007, but the plan had to be reconsidered at the end of 2008 because of the decline in the commercial property market. This week, Kane described Television Centre as "the family silver" and said he was aiming to get the best possible price for it.

BBC Television Centre, parts of which became Grade II Listed last year, first opened on 29 June 1960.

The proposed transformation of the 23-acre site is not the only major development planned for the Wood Lane area: Imperial College London are currently consulting on plans to redevelop Woodlands, the former home of BBC Worldwide, which it bought from the BBC at the end of 2009 for £28m.

On top of this, the Guardian report adds: "To the east of the Media Centre, across Wood Lane, the BBC owns buildings and land, which it is proposing are replaced by a "residential square" of apartments in what is called "Project Forest". To the south are buildings owned by Marks & Spencer, which it may redevelop."

May 29, 2010

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