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Tate director tells flat owners overlooked by its rooftop terrace: Put up nets

Published 21/09/2016

Visitors have flocked to the gallery's extension since it opened in June - with views of the London skyline from high above the River Thames a big draw.
Visitors have flocked to the gallery's extension since it opened in June - with views of the London skyline from high above the River Thames a big draw.

Tate chief Sir Nicholas Serota has a suggestion for Tate Modern's neighbours after they complained about being overlooked by visitors to its new viewing platform - put up nets.

Visitors have flocked to the gallery's extension since it opened in June - with views of the London skyline from high above the River Thames - a big draw.

But people living in luxury apartments next to Tate Modern have been irked that the 10th-floor rooftop terrace allows visitors to see straight into their glass-fronted living rooms.

Tate Modern erected signs asking visitors to respect the privacy of its neighbours to prevent people waving and pointing to residents in their homes and taking pictures of the apartments.

But while views of St Paul's Cathedral, Canary Wharf and Wembley Stadium are part of the attraction, visitors have remained curious about the interiors of the properties, which are reported to have cost up to £19 million.

Outgoing director Sir Nicholas, speaking at Tate's annual press conference, said that residents of the Neo Bankside apartment complex knew what they were buying into.

"We, as anyone who's visited Tate Modern will be aware, put up some signs encouraging our visitors not to gesticulate, to recognise that people who live nearby have a right to some privacy," he said.

Sir Nicholas, who transformed the public's perception of modern art during his 28 years at the Tate, added: "Obviously that privacy will be enhanced if those people decided that they might put up a blind or net curtain or whatever, as is common in many places.

"Clearly, people purchasing those flats were in no doubt that Tate Modern was going to build its Switch House building and the character and uses of that building were widely known ... P eople purchased with their eyes wide open."

Neo Bankside was designed by renowned architect Richard Rogers' firm, Rogers Stirk Harbour And Partners.

Developers received planning permission for the luxury flats in 2007 and began construction in January 2009.

The Tate received planning permission in May 2009.

A spokesman for Neo Bankside's property developers Native Land said: "We are aware that public use of the new viewing gallery of the Tate Modern's Switch House has caused concern over the privacy of some of the residents of Neo Bankside, whose apartments can be seen by visitors.

"While development of Neo Bankside had already begun when plans for the new gallery were submitted to the authorities, potential buyers at Neo Bankside had access to marketing material which showed the location of the planned viewing gallery.

"A model showing the planned Tate extension in context to Neo Bankside was also available.

"We, The Tate and Southwark Council are liaising with the affected residents and neighbours to consider the concerns raised."

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