Sunday, 30 May 2010
The driver for this next major evolution in the charecter of Shepherd's Bush is the BBC's need to sell off its buildings on Wood Lane. Many staff are being shunted off up to Salford, and like many of you who live locally I know plenty of ex and existing BBC staff who are none too pleased about that. Morale seems to sink lower every time I talk to them.
But not everyone will be making the journey north and those left are set to include the creative hub of the corporation, who is making plans for what the new site will look like. We're promised a 23 acre creative and cultural quarter, unique in the world.
Speaking to the Guardian the BBC property chief, Chris Kane, said negotiations were in very early stages.
"It was a difficult decision to say we would leave Television Centre but the BBC has a long-term future in W12," he said.
"The thinking was we couldn't just sell this and leave it to the vagaries of the property market. My worst fear is that it would be sold and end up like Battersea Power Station. It has to be something different.
"It's about regeneration, where the BBC is the catalyst to drive a new creative quarter, not just for London but for the whole creative industry for the UK. The BBC wants to do something, working with public and private world-class partners. It's about land and brand and will put the UK creative industry on the world stage."
The BBC will itself remain in two main buildings, the Media Centre and the White City Building, which are both off the main road just up from the tube. I've been interviewed a few times in the White City Building which is itself fairly cutting edge and the surrounding media villlage is the sort of thing they want to recreate for the whole site.
So what will it mean for the Bush? In the short term lots of building work which, for the long suffering residents who live next to Westfield must sound like a vision of hell. In the longer term however it means more creative jobs locally and for our area to remain the centre of British broadcasting excellence - and that can't be a bad thing.
How many other areas of our city can claim to be receiving this sort of investment? You can keep the Olympics, east London.
Posted by Chris Underwood at 08:12