Plans for more big screens across the UK become a big issue

A total of eight permanent screens in town and city centres has now been approved in time to broadcast the handover ceremony at the end of the Olympics in Beijing.

Permission has been granted on condition that the screens do not broadcast for 24 hours a day. The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) is behind the Live Sites in Bristol, Cardiff, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Swansea and Walthamstow, east London.

The screens will be maintained by LOCOG until the 2012 games in London, after which they will become the responsibility of the relevant local authorities.

There will be a network of up to 26 temporary screens across the UK by 24 August. More permanent screens are proposed by 2012. CABE and English Heritage have voiced concerns over their location.

The ‘Live Sites’ screens will have a serious impact on the public space of many towns and cities in the UK, warns CABE.

The ‘Live Sites’ giant screens project will have a serious impact on the public space of many towns and cities in the UK, warns CABE. The project is funded from the National Lottery and commercial sponsorship. Local authorities will be responsible for maintenance costs.

Whilst CABE fully supports the idea of creative access to the Olympics for the widest possible community through temporary large-scale screens around the country, it has serious concerns about leaving them as permanent installations.

Some of these spaces provide a setting for important historic buildings, or are the focus of conservation areas where any new development should preserve or enhance the character of the area.

Along with other organisations involved with urban design - English Heritage, Civic Trust, Living Streets and the English Historic Towns Forum - CABE believes that Live Sites should be steered towards appropriate new buildings and spaces in areas where digital media play a positive role as part of new placemaking.

'Just when we're starting to create well-designed, civilised public space in many English towns, along comes a rash of intrusive neon screens. Having a fun, relaxed time in our streets and squares should come from the character and design of a place, not something that feels more like an outdoor Currys,' Sarah Gaventa, director of CABE Space, comments.

'This is not urban regeneration. If it is going to work, funding needs to be earmarked for physical improvements to the spaces for which screens are proposed, and for proper curating to ensure the cultural programme is high quality.'

Whilst CABE fully supports the idea of creative access to the Olympics for the widest possible community through temporary large-scale screens around the country, it has serious concerns about leaving them as permanent installations.

Some of these spaces provide a setting for important historic buildings, or are the focus of conservation areas where any new development should preserve or enhance the character of the area.

Along with other organisations involved with urban design - English Heritage, Civic Trust, Living Streets and the English Historic Towns Forum - CABE believes that Live Sites should be steered towards appropriate new buildings and spaces in areas where digital media play a positive role as part of new placemaking.

 

Related stories