This is the Dave Musset story, a tale of property development set-aside.


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It all starts with 3 simple steps to permission…

  1. 2000 – London Town buy paper merchants factory next door to the Tate Modern known as the Dave Musset building for a reported £7.6 million.
  2. 2002 – planning application submitted for the erection of a 20 storey, 19 resi unit tower on the site. Planning permission refused at committee.
  3. 2003 – planning permission granted on appeal.

 …the building would have looked something like this:


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But then things started to get complicated…




BROAD (Bankside Residents for Appropriate Development) objected to the scheme on human rights grounds and were supported by the Tate’s director, Sir Nicholas Serota who said the development would “cast an ugly shadow across our entrance”.

BROAD then took their objections to the high court where Mr Justice Collins rejected the residents appeal, saying that the planning inspector had ruled correctly. Undeterred they then took it all the way to the House of Lords, but the Lords also agreed with the planning inspector and allowed the permission.

However, the legal battle had cost London Town a reported £6.5 million, over £340,000 per private resi unit, which may have been a factor in their decision to sell the site to Meyer Bergman in 2005 who paid £11.2 million for it. Bergman then went on to sell the site to GC Bankside, a JV with Clan Real Estate Estates (itself a joint venture between the Duke of Buccleugh and Native Land) and Grosvenor. GC Bankside purchased the site after it gained consent for a 200+ unit scheme across the road on Holland Street, known as Project Bankside, which it bought off Land Sec for £24.5 million in 2005. Site preparation works are already underway on the development: 



which is going to look something like this:



Project Bankside.jpg


But the important bit is that the consent for Project Bankside stipulated that the permission for a tower on the Dave Musset site would never be implemented, which must have pleased the folks at BROAD no end.

So it was with some surprise that I read an article about artist Scott King, who has been commissioned by the Architecture Foundation to create a site-specific graphic installation on the hoardings around the Dave Musset site. It’s a hoarding with the words TEMPORARY EYESORE written on it. Surely if it’s temporary then that means something else is coming afterwards… something permanent. 


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Fear not members of BROAD, what comes next is also temporary. A pavilion designed by architect Jamie Fobert will be erected on the site in 2009 and act as a sales office for Project Bankside, it will then be left standing for 5 years to host a series of public exhibitions and art installations, after which it’ll be demolished and returned to public use as an open space…however, the site opposite, next to the Tate Modern’s entrance is going to look like this:


This is Herzog & de Meuron’s revised plan for the extension to the Tate Modern. The Tate’s director, Sir Nicholas Serota said that the design was “more imaginative and more mature” than the previous design.




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