The President of the Royal Academy of Arts has asked me to give a statement regarding the ‘Save Cork Street’ campaign to be tabled at the Royal Academy Council meeting on 6th November. Please find below a summary of this statement. I have also been asked by the West End Commission to give a presentation about the campaign on 19th November.
The Save Cork Street Committee, representing all of the galleries on Cork Street, was formed in August 2012 in response to The Pollen Estate and Native Lands’ planned redevelopments on Cork Street. A Save Cork Street campaign was launched in the form of an e-petition to Westminster City Council to save part of London’s, and specifically the West End’s, cultural heritage. Over 12,000 people have signed the Save Cork Street petition, illustrating huge support from the arts world and from the general public to protect Cork Street as the international arts destination, which it is.
1/. To protect the unique character of Cork Street as a location for fine art galleries.
2/. To oppose major redevelopment of buildings on Cork Street that requires existing galleries to be relocated, and instead to promote the refurbishment and/or recladding of existing buildings, allowing galleries to stay in situ during the construction works.
Westminster City Council’s Core Strategy states:
Westminster is central to London’s world-class capital city status and has many activities and functions that are of international, national or regional importance. In addition to those functions related to the Government and the state, judiciary and faith, there are centres of excellence for higher education and research and medicine, prestigious institutions and professional and business organisations, and world-famous arts and cultural institutions and other visitor attractions.
Policy CS26 Buildings and Uses of International and National Importance:
Uses of international and/or national importance, and the buildings that accommodate them will be protected throughout Westminster, and new international and nationally important uses encouraged within the Core Central Activities Zone and Opportunity Areas.
The Save Cork Street Committee has been liaising closely with Westminster’s City Councillors to highlight the implications these developments would have on Cork Street’s independent art galleries.
In addition, the Save Cork Street Committee is in the process of negotiating with Westminster’s Planning Officers regarding the designation of Cork Street as a Special Policy Area.
The Planning Officers have confirmed that the Cork Street art galleries constitute a particular and positive element of the character of the area and a defining element of the character of Cork Street. Given that Cork Street is part of the Mayfair Conservation Area, its character is subject to statutory protection.
It therefore remains possible that Westminster City Council could refuse planning permission for the redevelopment of buildings on Cork Street because of the importance of retaining the art galleries in the street.
In the short term the disruption caused by four years of development on Cork Street would be considerable, not only for the 12 art galleries facing eviction but also for the remaining art galleries on Cork Street.
In the long term if planning permission is granted, it must include legally binding conditions regarding art gallery tenancies to ensure Cork Street’s future as the centre of London’s art trade.
Thank you all for your support.
Beaux Arts opened in Cork Street in 1993 and over the past three decades has developed a reputation for exhibiting the best of Modern British and contemporary painters and sculptors. The gallery’s focus is evenly divided between nurturing talent among the current generation of emerging artists – selected for their innovative practice as much as the aesthetic qualities of their work – and showing the work of established artists such as John Hoyland and John Bellany.
The Mayor Gallery was the first gallery to open its doors in Cork Street. Founded by Fred Mayor (1903-1973) in 1925, many artists exhibited for the first time in England at the Mayor Gallery and included, amongst others, Bacon, Calder, Ernst, Klee, Masson, Miro and Paolozzi. The Mayor Gallery was also the centre of UNIT ONE, a group that included Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Paul Nash, Edward Wadsworth, Edward Burra and others.
Alpha Gallery is located on Cork Street, the most famous street for art galleries in London. Cork Street is next to Bond Street and the Royal Academy of Art. Alpha Gallery offers a unique opportunity to experience contemporary art and modern masters such as the sculpture of the Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
Ray Waterhouse and Jonathan Dodd started working together in 1982 and formed Waterhouse & Dodd five years later. In 1989 they opened a first-floor gallery in Bond Street and in 2001 moved nearby to 26 Cork Street.
Adam Gallery, based in London and Bath, deals in 20th century and contemporary art. The gallery exhibits internationally renowned 20th century and contemporary artists, as well as well-established and upcoming British artists. The gallery promotes artists who give the medium of painting a new and contemporary perspective.The two galleries work closely together, often the shows move from London to Bath, giving the artists a wider audience and the clients the possibility to choose the nearest access to their favourite artists.The directors, Paul and Philip Dye, established their first gallery in 1983.
Robert Stoppenbach and François Delestre founded the gallery in London in 1982. It specialises in leading French artists from Barbizon, Impressionism, post-Impressionism and the Belle Epoque amongst others, spanning the 19th and early 20th century.Located at 25 Cork Street in the West End, they are in close proximity to other major galleries and auction houses. Stoppenbach & Delestre has close contacts all over the world and has sold to major museums.They are members of the Society of London Art Dealers and the Syndicat National des Antiquaires.
The Gallery is located in the heart of London’s commercial art district, Cork Street, which is home to many of the major art dealers. It has been completely refurbished and re-fitted to create an intimate space for the display of old, modern and contemporary art. Its mood is traditional, warm and spacious yet very contemporary in feel. The Gallery’s special characteristics are enhanced by the antique listed window frontage which is used to full advantage with the addition of a special raised window display area.