HC Deb 05 March 1984 vol 55 c601
26. Mr. Tony Banks

asked the Under-Secretary of State answering in respect of the arts what discussions the Minister for the Arts has had concerning the construction of a new national portrait gallery on the South Bank.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. William Waldegrave)

My noble Friend the Minister for the Arts has had no such discussions yet.

Mr. Banks

Is the Minister aware that the Greater London council has specifically ruled out the sale of any land on the South Bank for the new national portrait gallery? That being so, will he investigate the use of Battersea power station, or a site in Docklands, for the future development of the national portrait gallery?

Mr. Waldegrave

Originally, the GLC had no objection to the designation of the site as a potential site for the new national portrait gallery. Discussions are at an early stage, and it is for the trustees to consider the possible sites. They are also considering an extension to the present gallery.

Mr. Buchan

Regardless of the site, will the Government publicly confirm that they intend to adhere to their financial obligations and that there will be a new building for the national portrait gallery? Does the Minister agree that the work is at present seriously handicapped?

Mr. Waldegrave

As yet, there is no agreement by the Government. If the trustees come forward with proposals, these will undoubtedly be discussed by the Government within the existing constraints. However, no agreement has yet been reached.

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