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National Film Theatre may quit South Bank

The National Film Theatre may follow Eurostar's lead and swap SE1 for N1 and a new £60 million site at King's Cross, it was reported this week.

According to a report in The Guardian, the British Film Institute is now looking to King's Cross as the site for a new national film centre as plans to redevelop the current NFT site on the South Bank continue to be delayed by funding and planning problems.

The NFT's three cinemas draw about 224,000 people a year, and South Bank Centre bosses are worried by the possible loss of an important part of the arts complex. SBC chief executive Michael Lynch said: "Film is fundamental to the South Bank's plans for the future."

The King's Cross plan is the latest in a number of sites to be considered for the film centre, but is the first outside SE1. Plans to build next to Tate Modern or at Potters Fields have so far yielded little progress.

An earlier plan to use a new building on South Bank Centre land designed by David Chipperfield also came to nothing.

The BFI has hired John McAslan & Partners to consider sites within the 2 billion regeneration scheme planned on the former railway yards behind King's Cross.

BFI spokesman Roy Payne told The Guardian: "We made clear our commitment to building an iconic centre for film ... Our desire to build on the South Bank remains a preferred option, but with all the planning difficulties on that site we have to move ahead with planning the centre and that means identifying other sites."

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