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Tuesday, 31 October, 2000, 14:14 GMT
New era for Broadcasting House
TV Centre news
The Television Centre newsroom was opened in 1998
The BBC's main news operations are to move into a state-of-the-art newsroom at the corporation's London headquarters, Broadcasting House, it has been announced.

The move, set to take place by 2008, means national television, radio and online news will leave Television Centre in west London while the World Service will vacate Bush House in central London - its home since 1940.

It will be the hub for all the BBC's news and information services for the UK and the world

Greg Dyke
The proposals have been unveiled just two years after radio news, including BBC Radio 4's Today programme, moved out of Broadcasting House and into a multi-million pound television and radio newsroom at Television Centre.

Monday's announcement has brought accusations of money-wasting, but the corporation is stressing that it intends to finance the development through a commercial joint venture and that no licence payers' money will pay for the move.

Cost queried

Diana Organ, a Labour MP on the Commons culture select committee, said she was "very surprised" by the decision.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Not so long ago, a huge amount of money and investment was put in to decentralise and move everything out to White City [in west London] and now we have a reversal of that decision.

Broadcasting House
Staff will move into a new complex at Broadcasting House
"One would like to ask how much it has cost to move everyone out to White City and now bring everybody back."

But the BBC director of finance, John Smith, said the transfer across London meant a "logical role" for the two sites.

He said moving radio news staff to Television Centre in 1998 had been the "opportune" way to bring together radio and television journalists at the time.

"What is also a good thing now is the ability to put radio and television for our domestic journalists together with our World Service journalists and turn Broadcasting House into a huge, highly efficient global broadcasting machine," he said.

Announcing the move on Monday, BBC director general Greg Dyke said: "This will be a new era for Broadcasting House.

Improved public access

"It has a long history in radio programme-making; now it will also be the hub for all the BBC's news and information services for the UK and the world."

Architects MacCormac Jamieson Prichard have been appointed to design the complex at Portland Place, just north of Oxford Circus, central London.

The Grade II listed building was officially opened on 1 May 1932, a decade after the BBC's very first broadcast - a news bulletin from Marconi House in The Strand on 14 November 1922.

The architects' brief includes making the best use of the original building and its extensions and redeveloping two "eyesore" 1960s office blocks alongside.

They have also been asked to find ways of opening up the site to the public and creating a visible showcase for the BBC at work.

A BBC spokesman said the newsroom at Television Centre was designed as a flexible space and will be used by television programme makers.

Diana Organ MP
"I'm very surprised the BBC has decided to do this"
BBC finance director, John Smith
"It makes a more logical role for each of those sites"
See also:

30 Oct 00 | UK
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17 Oct 00 | Entertainment
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26 Jun 98 | UK
New era for BBC radio news
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