Scheme is "still at an early stage"
A £400m plan to redevelop Broadcasting House and create a new headquarters for all news, World Service and network radio staff in West London has been unveiled by the BBC.
Architects’ drawings of the proposed redevelopment of the Grade II listed building were published internally last week ahead of the corporation’s planning application to Westminster Council in November.
BBC director of news Richard Sambrook presented the plans to his department last week and all staff have been invited to comment on the proposals.
The glass, steel and stone development will incorporate the existing G Val Myer building, completed in 1932, and will be home to more than 5,000 staff by 2007.
Up to 1,200 World Service staff will be moved from Bush House, the broadcaster’s home for 60 years.
If the BBC gets planning permission for the scheme, part of Langham Place, between Broadcasting House and All Souls Church, would be closed off and replaced with a public square.
Two extensions at Broadcasting House would be demolished and buildings at 16 Langham Street as well as Egton House, the former home of Radio, would also be replaced.
While the cost of the redevelopment is expected to be £200m, a further £200m has been earmarked for digital equipment, with work on the project expected to begin as soon as the BBC gets planning permission.
"The plans are still at a very early stage and we are working very closely with English Heritage and with the local community," a BBC spokesman said.
"Not only is it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a new and very exciting landmark building, it will also provide a better environment for staff. The existing buildings aren’t suitable for the kind of broadcasting equipment used today and they can’t have air conditioning."
It is planned that BBC Radio news staff will move back to the new digitally equipped headquarters, three years after the controversial decision to move them to White City.
Designed by MacCormac Jamieson and Prichard, architects of the Southwark Underground station for the Jubilee Line extension, the new development will bring together radio, TV and radio news, online and World Service staff for the first time.
Staff currently based in Broadcasting House, including director general Greg Dyke, will move into temporary accommodation as various phases of the work are carried out.
By Julie Tomlin