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London’s National Portrait Gallery Declares Opposition to National Gallery’s Expansion Plan

LONDON, ENGLAND—Victoria Ward of The Telegraph reports that London’s National Portrait Gallery has expressed dismay with an expansion proposal from its institutional neighbor, the National Gallery. The former’s spokespeople say that the latter’s plan will interrupt views from the National Portrait Gallery’s museum restaurant, including those of Big Ben, Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, and the London Eye, among other sites and monuments. The National Portrait Gallery’s complaint is the only one filed with the Westminster city council.

“We have not received a briefing on the scheme from the National Gallery, but would welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with them to address our concerns. We would also like to see conditions included about how site access and deliveries are managed,” said representatives for the National Portrait Gallery. But planning officers for the National Gallery countered that, while the addition will be seen from the Portrait Restaurant, the view is private and can only be taken in by the restaurant’s patrons. They also claimed that most major landmarks will be visible.

The plan is supported by groups such as Historic England, which says the extension is vital for the museum’s “long-term viable and appropriate use.” And the nearby Garrick Theater is fine with the addition so long as the sounds of its construction don’t interrupt performances. The National Gallery’s proposal will be reviewed today by the Westminster planning applications subcommittee.

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August 10, 2017