Cromwell Tower – proposal to install 92 antennae on rooftop

An application was submitted in the middle of March from “global connectivity specialists” Luminet Solutions Ltd for “The installation of 92 no. small antennas attached to new supporting steelwork, together with associated shrouding and ancillary works, on the rooftop of the building”. For the avoidance of doubt, the building in question is Cromwell Tower. The relevant application numbers are 23/01387/LBC and 23/01386/FULL. Access to the relevant planning portal to view all of the accompanying documentation can be gained here. The more technical description of the proposals can be viewed here.

History – first application in 2009 withdrawn, second application approved

Some may recall that a similar application was made back in 2009 (the LBC application reference is 09/00204/LBC; the FULL application reference is 09/00203/FULL). However, this application was subsequently withdrawn on 29th July 2009. A second application then followed later in 2009 – on 2nd October 2009 to be precise. The LBC application reference is 09/00681/LBC. This was for the “Installation of six antennae and two 0.3m dishes on the roof of Cromwell Tower, including the installation of two wall mounted equipment cabinets plus ancillary development thereto”. This application was approved and is referenced in Luminet’s proposal as a “reason for approval” (for this current application) with the applicant stating that “The proposed installation would be barely visible and would have a minimal impact upon the appearance of the special architectural and historic character interest of the listed building”.

Whilst there is indeed already some telecoms equipment installed on Cromwell Tower (but without residents’ prior knowledge or consent), that does not mean that even more needs to be installed. It is also my understanding that another application to install telecoms equipment on the Cromwell Tower roof was made in 2014 but was quickly withdrawn.  

Current application

The cover letter of the proposed works states that the application is for “The installation of 92 no. small antennas attached to new supporting steelwork, plus development ancillary thereto, all contained within new GRP-shrouding, upon the rooftop of the building”.

It goes on: “The proposed apparatus will enable line-of-sight wireless internet connection between local buildings within the area. This is considered preferable to the digging and laying of new fibre cables in the ground. The proposal allows for the wireless connection of fibre-quality internet between short-range buildings. The rooftop at Cromwell Tower measures 123m in height. The proposed development has been designed to sit within GRP-shrouding to ensure that any visual impact of the scheme is reduced the maximum effect. It is not anticipated that the proposed shrouding will be visible from ground-level, as it is purposely designed to be set-back from the roof-edge……. Whilst the shrouding may be visible from neighbouring towers within the immediate vicinity, the shrouding is likely to be viewed as part of the building  rather than an identifiable telecommunications installation”.

And continues: “Given the Listed status of Cromwell Tower, every step has been taken to reduce the visual impact of the proposed apparatus on the rooftop, as far as practicable, with the proposed deployment of GRP shrouding. All associated telecommunications apparatus has been designed to sit within this GRP shrouding. As such, the visual impact on the rooftop, and the building itself, is considered negligible as the GRP-shrouding will allow the telecommunications to be effectively deployed on the building rooftop whilst creating the appearance of a small building extension on the 123m-high tower. This type of extension on a residential tower within London is not unusual”

So how high is this proposed “small building extension” going to be?

The increase in height is 3.2m (10.5 feet in old money), and will be located in a “small area” in the centre of the upper roof Level of the building.

The applicant then asks itself the question:” The question that must therefore be posed; is what level of impact would a relatively small area of GRP shrouding on the Upper Roof Level of a 123m-high building cause to a) Cromwell Tower itself; b) the heritage asset that is The Barbican; and c) to the wider London skyline. The Applicants would argue that the impacts on all three are negligible, and highly unlikely to be even identified from ground-level, within The Barbican, or from other neighbouring tower blocks across the skyline. Given the height increase measures 3.2m, and is restricted to only a small area in the centre of the Upper Roof Level of the building, it is considered that the proposed development offers a viable, realistic and wholly appropriate town planning and environmental solution for Cromwell Tower….”

Potential objections to this application

The 2009 application was approved before the Barbican and Golden Lane Conservation Area was designated in 2018. This current application also does not meet the Barbican Listed Building Management Guidelines (LBMG).  For example, in Volume II it states that “The architectural form and character of the residential buildings isconsistent and distinctive. No alteration should be made that would affect the silhouette, massing, volume, modelling, material character, surface, colour (except as provided for by the approved Palette of Colours) or regularity of any of the buildings”.

It is clear that this proposal, if accepted, would change the roofline of the Tower and interrupt the skyline view of the three towers – in contradiction of the LBMG. In addition, if the application were to be approved, this could set an unwelcome precedent as it could be argued that similar structures could be placed on other Barbican Towers or buildings. 

In addition to the negative impact it would cause to the appearance of the building, the associated heritage harm and the non-compliance with Listed Building and Conservation Area guidelines, other issues that may be raised by residents include:

  • Health concerns arising from the electromagnetic radiation
  • Damage to the structure of the building given the extra height and weight
  • Possibility of falling debris in strong winds
  • No financial benefit to residents from the revenues but residents have to bear the costs of wear and tear on use of lifts and carpets

Just to point out that there are many (many!) tall buildings in the City. This type of equipment should be installed on a commercial building where there are not only no residents but the roof space is likely to be bigger and access to the lifts and stairs better, thereby allowing contractors to work when the building is either empty or less busy.  A Grade 2 listed residential building in a Conservation Area is surely not the place for this type of equipment.

No consultation with residents prior to the application being submitted

The documents supporting the application state that local stakeholders were consulted on 18th March. This did not happen and is against the City’s own policies. When made aware of this, the City finally sent out consultation letters to residents on 11th April, albeit that they were only received around the 18th.

The City has accepted that there were delays to letters arriving by post and that they will still consider any representations received until 21 days after the 18th April ie. 9th May.

Any representations can be made here

Tenter House – application for revised development proposal

The application for the revised Tenter House development for the “Demolition of the Class E unit (and related structures), ground and basement floor slab, car park and access ramp of Tenter House together with the demolition of part of the City Point Plaza floor slab and New Union Street, to provide a new part 14-storey and part 22-storey [+99.9m AOD] office building [34,880sq.m GIA], with two ground floor retail units, community floorspace at first floor level, new level plaza (open space), and a reconstructed New Union Street, together with cycle parking, waste storage, servicing, landscaping, plant, and other associated works [Total 39,490 sq.m GEA]”  has now been submitted.

 However please note that: “Demolition of the existing 11 storey building (except for the Class E Unit and its related structures) will take place pursuant to planning permission reference 17/01050/FULMAJ (the Proposed Development)”.

The planning reference number is: 24/00209/FULMAJ and the accompanying documents can be viewed here

Overview of proposals

The Planning Statement provides a detailed overview of the proposals.

Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the Design & Access Statements also provide good pictorial depictions of the development.  

The building will comprise lower ground, ground, and 20 further levels of office accommodation, albeit that the height will be staggered along its length between 22 and 14 floors. The building will be accessed via City Point Plaza, and the loading bay will be located along New Union Street. A deli/ cafe is provided at ground level with access from City Point Plaza, and a restaurant is provided at the corner of Moorfields and New Union Street. The existing car park ramp to the north of the site will be removed along with the raised ground level to provide an enhanced pedestrian route across City Point Plaza, to the north of the Site.

In terms of height, the current Tenter House is 11-storeys high – the proposed development will be part-14, part-22 storeys, totalling a maximum height of 85.8m (99.9m AOD). This means that it will be considered and assessed as a tall building in accordance with the City of London’s definition. The previously consented scheme in 2020 was for an 18-storey building on the site giving a height of 87.9m AOD – hence this new application is 12m taller at its highest point.  However, as already described, this application includes a greater variation in volume, height and massing across the building. In terms of floorspace, the development will provide 34,880sqm of office floorspace – some 8,477sqm more than the previously consented scheme of 26,403sqm

Demolition of the site already approved

As already commented, it should be noted that the site benefits from an extant planning permission dated 29 September 2020 (planning reference 17/0150/FULMAJ). The 2020 permission granted consent for the ‘Demolition of existing building and structures to existing basement slab level and construction of an 18-storey office building …… with associated servicing, waste storage, plant facilities and cycle parking and public realm improvements to New Union Street’

Demolition of the existing building in accordance with this existing permission has already commenced and is anticipated to take c6 months to complete. As such, by the time this new planning application is to be determined the building is likely to have been substantially demolished.

We would just point out that new planning applications are encouraged to consider the carbon implications of their proposals to make sure the most climate-friendly option is built. As the existing Tenter House building is being demolished under an old planning consent, however, the current applicants can claim that there is very little embedded carbon to consider in this new scheme, thereby somewhat disingenuously side-stepping the City’s “retrofit first” policy.

Impact of massing

The documents claim that ‘Like the Permitted 2020 Scheme, the western end of the Proposed Development steps down in relation to the adjacent mass of the new building at 21 Moorfields on Moor Lane. The overall height and scale of the Proposed Development is consequently broadly the same as the Permitted 2020 Scheme. The massing of the Proposed Development differs from the Permitted 2020 Scheme in its composition, which has been simplified from a series of five, all-glass volumes to three main volumes: one central volume, clearly addressing City Point Plaza to the north and smaller, lower volumes set either side that relate to the frontages of the adjacent streetscapes on Moorfields and Moor Lane’.

It goes on ‘The building which forms part of the Proposed Development is articulated as four volumes that step down to the east and west, reducing the impact of the massing along Moorfields and in relation to the Barbican, and relating to the new development at 21 Moorfields to the south of the Site. The central element is taller, retaining the vertical emphasis of the Permitted 2020 Scheme and providing a clear address at Citypoint Plaza. ….. The existing route of New Union Street to the south, which presently is primarily used for servicing, will be pedestrianised….. At the upper levels, the proposed terrace and balconies will add greenery and interest to local views…’

Roof terrace and balconies

The plans show that there are over 2000sq m of balconies and terraces on the proposed building – 60sq m on levels 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 69sq m on level 12. The ‘design concept’ of the large roof terrace on level 14 ‘visualises a woodland in the sky’.  It appears that the smaller section of the 14th floor terrace that faces west leads off from the proposed café. The other terraces seem to be at the corners of the building. As has been the case in all of the previous development applications submitted in the vicinity in the area, it seems reasonable to request the setting of conditions as to the use and timing of terraces in order to preserve the amenity of the many neighbouring residential properties.

Daylight and Sunlight analysis

Volume 1 of the Daylight and Sunlight Analysis seems to be the most helpful of the 4 volumes submitted on the subject although those in the residential blocks closest to the site may also want to look through the individual window analyses in the other volumes to see what, if any, impact the proposed building will have.

The documents make reference to the proximity of Willoughby House to the site – but claim to have “satisfactorily addressed” any negative impact of the proposed development. They claim that ‘Whilst the Proposed Development will give rise to some minor reduction in daylight and sunlight to Willoughby House these reductions are considered to be so minor as to be unnoticeable particularly as the reductions identified are principally the result the presence of very deep overhanging projections above the windows in Willougby House itself’.

We have heard this explanation before Ie “it’s the balconies what done it” as the documents go on: ‘It is therefore clear that it is the architectural features of Willoughby House itself that are the principal factor in the relative loss of light as opposed to there being any overdevelopment……..The windows would experience no more than a 13% reduction which clearly illustrates that it is the presence of the balcony, rather than the bulk and mass of the proposed scheme, that is the principal factor for the relative loss of light. Subsequently, the VSC transgressions are solely a consequence of the overhanging projections.

Residents may well have a different view however as “No more than a 13% reduction” still sounds quite a significant loss.

Access, entry and servicing routes

The Delivery and Service Plan shows all vehicles from any direction accessing New Union Street from Moor Lane and leaving the site onto Moorfields. Those from the south come in from Fore Street, those from the east along Silk Street and those from the west along Ropemaker.  

Given that some 88 deliveries are expected to the site – added to the 100+ deliveries to City Point – and it is clear that Moor Lane is unlikely to be the quiet, greened street that has long been promised. Perhaps it would be better for the access route to the service yard to be from Moorfields rather than Moor Lane given the proximity of the proposed service routes to many residential premises.   

It also appears that the servicing yard will be too small for lorries to turn round in which means that they will either have to reverse out onto New Union Street or reverse into the yard. A suggestion may be therefore to enlarge the service yard to prevent this.

Standard Consultation Expiry date

The Standard Consultation Expiry date to make representations is 7th May 2024. These can be made here.

45 Beech Street – – change of use from office to co-living accommodation

The long-anticipated application from 45 Beech Street for “the partial demolition, extension and change of use of existing office building to co-living accommodation with associated internal and external amenity spaces (sui generis) including cycle storage, landscaping, servicing and all other associated works” has now been submitted.

The relevant reference number is 24/00176/FULL and all of the accompanying documents can be accessed here

Key points

The application proposes to retain and refurbish the majority of the existing building.

A few points from the Planning and Design & Access Statements may provide some key details.

Increase in height

The top two floors are not suitable for retention given the low floor to ceiling heights and general incompatibility for the proposed use. They are proposed to be removed and replaced with four new floors of new built form.

The existing building (which peaks at 8 storeys and 42.36m AOD) will have a net increase in height of two floors – with a final finished maximum height of 50m AOD (7.64m increase – or 18%).

In terms of floor area, the existing building comprises 5,284sqm (GIA The application proposes to retain and refurbish the majority of the existing building.

A few points from the Planning and Design & Access Statements may provide some key details) of office floorspace. It is proposed to demolish 957.1sqm (GIA) and add a total of 2,641.2sqm (GIA) of new floorspace. This would equate to a 1,684.2sqm increase in floorspace and result in a final building comprising 6,968.2sqm (GIA) of co-living floorspace… (n.b. this equates to a 32% increase in floorspace).

External amenity space

External amenity space is proposed in the form of a roof terrace and courtyard measuring providing a total of 200sqm of space.

A communal terrace is carefully incorporated to offer elevated social spaces. The design includes stepped seating arrangements that create a theatre like atmosphere, providing an ideal setting for various activities such as film screenings or events with the use of a screen or projector. The expansive space allows for versatile seating arrangements, enabling the easy movement of tables and chairs to adapt to different needs

Three key areas of landscaping are proposed across the development. For use by residents, the rooftop terrace and the ground level courtyard have both been sensitively designed to provide for specific amenity uses. The courtyard has been programmed with integrated seating, tall planters and sculptural screens to provide shelter, protection and seclusion.

The courtyard at ground floor level has been designed to provide a more animated amenity space; with material that delineates the existing roadway, extensive seating and benches; and playful materials, planting and colour palettes.

On the Beech Street interface, a city garden is proposed which seeks to provide a planted buffer zone between road and building. The use of planters (repurposed from the current development), and trees would provide amenity across the street scene and mark a distinctive entrance to the building.

Form and massing

The form and scale of the additional massing has been heavily influenced by the vernacular of the adjacent Bryer Court and Ben Jonson House. This will ensure full compatibility of this modern development with the existing Barbican development”.

What will the proposed development provide?

The Proposed Development will provide high quality co-living accommodation with 174 co-living rooms of which 10% will be accessible rooms. A series of shared spaces are proposed, which includes 200sqm of shared outdoor amenity space in the form of a roof terrace and courtyard and 690sqm shared internal amenity space including co-working space, kitchens, lounges, a café, gym and tv room.

All of the co-living rooms are for rent and minimum tenancy lengths will be no less than three months.

Daylight and Sunlight/Overlooking

In terms of loss of daylight and sunlight to neighbouring properties – and as is seemingly always the case in such applications – the accompanying assessment “confirms that the majority of the neighbouring windows and rooms meet the guideline values. Where windows and rooms have been identified to fall short of the guidelines, these are mainly isolated to the neighbouring property at 6-9 Bridgwater Square which contains windows and rooms on its south elevation which face directly into the courtyard and therefore onto the development site”.

Detailed daylight and sunlight analyses, including those for Defoe House, Shakespeare Tower and Ben Jonson House can be seen here.

In recognition of its proximity to Barbican, consideration has been given to the proximity of the South facade to the edge of the Barbican podium, especially in relation to privacy and overlooking risks to the south facing first floor rooms. The internal layout of these rooms differs from the typical room layout to allow kitchen and living area located closer to the facade and bed/rest area of a more discreet nature, further pushed in the room to increase privacy and avoiding a direct overlooking

Views from the Podium can be viewed here, here and here

Concerns

Concerns may exist over some aspects of this application and the possible negative impact on residential amenity.

Anyone wishing to submit a representation with regard to this application can do so here.

The Standard Consultation Expiry Date for representations is 26th March 2024.

1-8 Long Lane – application to convert site to hotel now submitted

The expected application from the developers of the site at 1-8 Long Lane has now been submitted and all of the associated documents can be viewed on the City of London’s planning website (Planning Reference: 23/01417/FULMAJ).

The application is for the: “Demolition of existing buildings to basement level and construction of a nine storey plus basement level building for hotel use (Class C1) with retail (Class E(a) / E(b)) use at part ground and basement levels together with ancillary cycle parking, associated servicing, plant, amenity terraces, landscaping and other associated works

What is being proposed?

The documents appear consistent with the plans shown at the time of the public consultation in September/October 2023. In addition to the brief summary of the proposals above, the Planning Statement states that “The proposal will occupy a long, triangular site on Long Lane, with a pocket garden at the eastern end designed by Farrer Huxley, and with significantly more planting and public seating than the hard-landscaped area currently features. Double doors from the ground floor retail unit will open onto the garden. The remainder of the ground floor will be the hotel reception and guest lounge, with various back-of-house facilities and two vertical circulation cores. Hotel accommodation is arranged on both sides of a central circulation route on levels 01-08. The building steps back on the two uppermost levels to provide private guest terraces with level threshold to some guest rooms”. The full Planning Statement can be read here.

Proposed access to the hotel

In terms of access to the proposed hotel, Volume 10 of the Design & Access Statement states that “The main guest access to the hotel is off Long Lane. The retail unit will also be accessed from Long Lane. Delivery access will be the south of the site on Long Lane with goods in to the rear of the building at GF level. Staff will enter the site via the pocket garden around to the rear pedestrian / cycle entrance”

We would note that although many hotel guests are likely to use public transport to access the hotel, Long Lane is a busy narrow road and this may give rise to concerns about the prospect of regular traffic congestion with taxis picking up and dropping off residents. We do note, however, that there is a designated small servicing road at the rear of the proposed hotel. 

Proposed building slightly (very) lower than the 2021 consented scheme

Volume 7 of the Design and Access Statement, which can be viewed here, states that “the project team has worked hard to design a building that sits within its local context. This involved determining an appropriate height that can not only accommodate the hotel but also takes into consideration our neighbours and the consented 2021 scheme. Our proposed building, excluding plant equipment, is approx. 350mm lower than the 2021 consented scheme”. (nb. In old money, that is c1.75 inches!).

Given that the previous consented scheme was not only approved back in 2021 but was also for the demolition and construction of a new office block on the larger site of 1-12 Long Lane, it is perhaps hard to recall the height and mass of what was approved then and what is being asked for on the smaller site now. In this regard, Volume 7 also provides some useful depictions of the proposals.  

Concerns re adverse impact on residential amenity remain

All of the issues which were of concern in the previous application such as inappropriate height, massing and significant loss of residential amenity in the form of e.g. loss of light, privacy issues such as overlooking, light and noise pollution etc clearly remain with this current application. The Heritage, Townscape and Visual Impact Assessment documents, Volumes 8 and 9, show the height and massing of the proposed development from sites at or near the Barbican.

In terms of loss of light, overshadowing etc, the Daylight and Sunlight analysis throw up the usual conclusions. For Seddon House, Lauderdale Tower and John Trundle Court the effects of the proposed building on daylight and sunlight are all deemed to be “within the recommendations of the BRE guidelines. The effects are therefore considered negligible”.

In terms of loss of privacy, overlooking, light and noise pollution, the Planning Statement states at Point 7.94 “On upper floors of the Proposed Development, guest rooms include a private ’garden’ for guests to use. Contemporary design to terraces and balconies provides immersion within nature when looking out from these rooms, bringing benefits for small scale ecology and guest mental 33 wellbeing. Low to ground planting will creep between paving stones softening and adding colour to surrounding architecture enhancing the views out to the City”. However there are no accompanying reassurances provided as to the timing and scale of the proposed use of these outside spaces – an important omission given their proximity to the many residences in the near vicinity, especially those in John Trundle Court, Lauderdale Tower, Defoe House and Seddon House.

However, you will recall that whilst the objections and concerns raised may (or may not) have been noted, the previous office development scheme was approved, giving rise to concerns that raising the same issues again will just have the same outcome.

Conditions were attached to the previous consented scheme……

Having said that however it is worth noting that the prior planning consent in 2021 did have conditions attaching to it which restricted, inter alia, the use of the terraces on the office development to between 8am-9pm on weekdays only. No live, amplified or other music was to be played on the roof terraces and no promoted events were to be allowed on the premises.

These conditions were imposed in order to “safeguard the amenity of the adjoining premises and the area generally in accordance with the following policies of the Local Plan: DM15.7, DM21.3.”

Should this current hotel proposal be approved, we would suggest that such conditions, with perhaps stricter time restrictions, should also be applied to this application in order to protect the amenity of the many residential flats in the near vicinity

Standard Consultation Expiry Date

The Standard Consultation Expiry date is 28th February 2024. Any representations can be made here

London Wall West – planning applications submitted

Planning applications validated

As all residents will now be well aware, the planning applications to demolish Bastion House and the Museum of London and redevelop the site primarily for office use have now been submitted to and validated by the City of London Corporation’s Planning Department.

There are three applications:

  1. The reference number of the principal application is 23/01304/FULEIA and is for the “Demolition of 140 & 150 London Wall to provide a phased development comprising: the construction of new buildings for a mix of office, cultural uses and food and beverage/cafe, access, car parking, cycle parking and highway works including reconfiguration of the Rotunda roundabout, part demolition and reconfiguring of the Ironmongers Hall, creation of a new scheduled monument viewing area, public realm alterations to Plaisterers Highwalk, John Wesley Highwalk, Bastion Highwalk and Mountjoy Close; removal of two highwalks known as Falcon Highwalk and Nettleton Court; alterations to the void, lifts and stairs at 200 Aldersgate Street and One London Wall, introduction of new City Walkway”.

The full application, together with the 388 associated documents that have been submitted – can be viewed here.

2. The reference number of the second associated application is 23/01276/LBC and is for the “Demolition of Ferroners’ House alongside external alterations to the facade and roof level of Ironmongers’ Hall, internal reconfiguring to cores and back of house areas and associated works in association with the development proposed at London Wall West (140 London Wall, 150 London Wall, Shaftesbury Place, and London Wall Car Park).

This application, together with the 157 associated documents that have been submitted – can be viewed here.

3. The reference number of the third associated application is 23/01277/LBC and is for the “External alterations to existing highwalks at the Barbican Estate including to the John Wesley Highwalk and Mountjoy Close to allow for the integration of new highwalks, hard and soft landscaping, and works associated with the construction of new buildings with the development proposed at London Wall West (140 London Wall, 150 London Wall, Shaftsbury Place, and London Wall Car Park, London)

This application, together with the 135 associated documents that have been submitted – can be viewed here.

Look at the BQA website for information and updates

The plethora of documents associated with the application may appear overwhelming but please do not give up. For all updated information and advice on how to respond please bookmark and visit the BQA website regularly

The BQA website will provide all of the latest observations and comments as well as providing advice on how to respond and how you can help with the funding of the response. 

BQA WEBSITE…………STOP – SAVE – REIMAGINE

As the site states:

WE HAD CALLED FOR THE APPLICATION TO BE WITHDRAWN AS THE CITY HAS FAILED TO:· 

   CONSULT PROPERLY IN LINE WITH BOTH NATIONAL PLANNING GUIDANCE AND ITS OWN STATEMENT OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT;

·    FULFIL THE SPECIFIC COMMITMENT MADE IN 2022 FOR FURTHER ENGAGEMENT IN ADVANCE OF THE SUBMISSION OF THE PLANNING APPLICATION;

·    FOLLOW THE CITY’S OWN CARBON OPTIONS GUIDANCE: PLANNING ADVICE NOTE (2023).

VIEW HARD COPIES OF THE APPLICATION DOCUMENTATION AND A PHYSICAL 3D MODEL OF THE SCHEME:

·    LONDON CENTRE (3 ALDERMANBURY, LONDON, EC2V 7HH)

·    FROM TUESDAY 5TH DECEMBER 2023 – WEDNESDAY 31ST JANUARY 2024 (CLOSED ON MONDAYS).

ASK QUESTIONS AND MEET THE APPLICANT’S TEAM:

·  LONDON CENTRE (3 ALDERMANBURY, LONDON, EC2V 7HH)

·  11 JANUARY 2024 4PM – 8PM

FUNDING APPEAL

BQA has launched an urgent public appeal seeking donations to help amplify the case for creative retrofit and imaginative reuse of buildings designed by Powell & Moya – architects of the Festival of Britain Skylon. It will also help fund expert witnesses and legal advice to challenge to the City of London Corporation, which is proceeding with its planning application for London Wall West in the face of national and local outcry. Supporters of BQA include the C20 Society, cross-party politicians, prominent design historians and international architecture commentators.

PLEASE SUPPORT THIS APPEAL IF YOU ARE ABLE TO

Other information sources

There is also a detailed thread on the subject on BarbicanTalk.

The City also has its own website regarding the site

Making representations

For those who are planning on making representation/voicing objections to the scheme, comments can be made online as usual on the website by accessing the comments page relevant to each of the application whose reference numbers and access links are as shown above.

If anyone is planning to make a representation but would rather email a response, please note that the email address for submission is lpalondonwallwest@cityoflondon.gov.uk . This is not the usual email address for representations so please be aware of this.

Please note that any observations must be received by 31 January 2024

Tenter House – new design proposals

The recent public exhibition presented the updated plans for Tenter House.

By way of reminder, planning permission was granted to redevelop the Tenter House building in 2020. This scheme comprised a new 19 storey office building and improvements to the public realm. Since the scheme received permission, the developers have indicated that “further opportunities have been identified through discussions with Brookfield for greatly enhanced accessibility and permeability within the plaza, achieved by removing the existing Tenter House car park and ramp, then lowering the raised portion of Citypoint Plaza. A consequence of these discussions is an updated scheme which we are now presenting for consultation. While we consult on these plans we are progressing with the existing permission, conducting preparatory works which will be followed by demolition works in the new year”.

The developers claim that the new proposals “build upon the previous planning consent with some minor changes that bring major benefits”.

So what are these “minor changes”?

Shape of building changed

The shape of the proposed new building has changed, with the height reduced at Moorfields (to remain at the same height as the existing building) but increased at the centre. As a result, the developers state that “the building now has a slimmer, more elegant shape that will lessen the ‘wall’ effect along Citypoint Plaza”.

Improved public spaces   

By removing the ramp at the Eastern end of the site and dropping the level of Citypoint Plaza, not only will a much improved route from Moorgate to the Barbican be created but significant improvements to the public spaces around Citypoint Plaza will also be enabled.  Urban greening will be increased, including more substantial garden areas that can accommodate trees and shrubs. The urban greening has been developed to provide a major, accessible garden at the 14th floor, and on the lower levels of the east and west elevation.

The treatment of New Union Street remains prioritised as a pedestrian route with access for service vehicles controlled by automated rising bollards. In addition to removing stairs, ramps and other clutter associated with the underground car park, the proposal includes a new retail unit at the western end of the building accessed from the plaza.

Timeline

November 2023 – Public exhibition

Winter 2023/24 – target for planning submission to the City of London

Early 2024 – demolition works commence

Spring 2024 – Target for determination by City of London’s Planning Committee

End of 2028 – Target for construction completion

View the presentation

Images and more details of the updated proposals can be viewed here or on the dedicated website.

Any comments can be made to:

Email – tenterhouse@londoncommunications.co.uk

Or telephone – 0800 092 0425

Barbican Arts Centre – temporary installation of a fabric woven artwork

The Barbican Arts Centre has applied for approval for the “Temporary installation of a fabric woven artwork for a temporary period between February 2024 and August 2024, titled: ‘Purple Hibiscus’ by Ibrahim Mahama”. The planning reference number is 23/01195/LBC and the associated documentation can be viewed here.

In essence, the proposal comprises an artwork made of fabric attached to the Barbican Centre Lakeside façade and would be in place for the period 7 February to 26 May 2024 to coincide with the forthcoming Barbican Gallery exhibition Unravel; The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art. The installation of the artwork is planned for 22 January to 9 February and the de-installation for 27 May to 7 June 2024. The installation is to sit between 3-4m above the ground and will be held in place through tension lines and kentledge weights. The proposal can be viewed on Page 10 of the Design & Access statement Vol 1.

How will it be installed?…and how safe will it be?

Some concerns will inevitably arise given that it is proposed to install this “artwork” on a Grade II listed building in the middle of a residential estate. It appears that much detailed and careful planning has gone into this proposal as can be seen in the Structural Engineering Report which details all of the possible issues concerning noise, fire safety, possible damage to building etc.

A few extracts from this report provide a flavour:

  • The Fabric is made up of a coloured cotton material that has been weaved in Ghana. The strips of material will be stitched together to the cutting panels and then stitched to the nylon mesh that will be acting as the tensile support to the fabric and will be attached to the steel frame and wire ropes
  • Supporting Structure: The supporting is proposed to be made of made of either steel or aluminium frame……To avoid any damage to the structure, the supporting structure will not be physically fixed to the existing structure.
  • Fire Protection Fabric to be protected with fire retardant to comply with Class B S3 D2. Or similar approved. Fabric will be set at least 4.0m above terrace level to prevent accidental ignition by the public
  • Noise consideration from wind – The installation is a taut cotton fabric, with low permeability to air. It will be stretched and stitched onto the nylon mesh backing across the building and between trusses and strand stays. The proposed strategy will give comfort that the risk of wind induced noise is low…….

Please look through the documents provided and make any representations you feel are appropriate here

Alban Gate – resubmission of refurbishment application

The expected resubmission of the application for the refurbishment of Alban Gate, 125 London Wall has been submitted to the City of London Planners. The reference number is 23/01115/FULL and the full application can be viewed here

As previously commented, we were informed that the proposals for the refurbishment of Alban Gate were to be updated to respond to the feedback given from the public consultation. We were assured that the new planning application would address the key objections voiced with the previously submitted planning application ie. no balconies, escalators to be kept and refurbished, no pocket park, reduction in changes to the podium level, more muted palette, etc. Looking through this application it would appear that this is indeed the case.

For a brief summary, the updated proposals can be found here

For more detailed information and representations about the proposals take a look at the Design & Access statements. Part 1 and Part 2 go through the plans and show visual depictions of what is being planned whilst Part 3 looks at Landscaping, planting and lighting.

Any comments or representations can be made here

Tenter House – pending public exhibition to show revised proposals for site

From the feedback received from the residents’ meeting held on 8th November (associated presentation can be viewed here), it was clear that the developers are not intending to proceed with the previously consented scheme and are instead planning to make a new application.

The following email was received from the Tenter House team which highlights that the original proposals for the scheme have been subject to change and that a public exhibition to show these revised plans is to be held on Tuesday 28th November. Details of the background to the development can be seen on the TenterHouse website.

Details of Public Exhibition

As you may be aware, planning permission was granted in September 2020 for a new office building to replace the existing Tenter House. In addition to the provision of high-quality offices, that proposal included improvements to the surrounding public realm. Preparatory works are now commencing on-site, with consultation underway regarding full demolition. Since the scheme’s inception, we have been working with the City of London Corporation and neighbours to identify improvements to the plans, one of which includes maximising accessibility and permeability to the site and adjacent City Point Plaza. 

We are now ready to present these updated plans to the local community in a public exhibition. This public exhibition will be held on Tuesday 28 November, 4pm – 7pm at 26 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1DS. Senior members of the project team will be present to answer questions and speak with attendees. We will also be gathering formal feedback throughout this process.

Contact us

We hope to see you at the exhibition. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the proposals, please contact us on:

 E: tenterhouse@londoncommunications.co.uk

P: 0800 092 0425 

Our website https://tenterhouse.co.uk will also be kept up to date as the project progresses.

Tenter House – changed date, location and format of residents’ meeting

Those residents who had registered to attend an online meeting called to inform neighbours and interested parties about the preparatory works ahead of the demolition of Tenter House, 45 Moorfields will have already received notification that the date, location and format of the meeting has been changed.

The meeting will now be in-person rather than online and will be held on Wednesday 8th November 2023 at 26 Finsbury Square. The time of the meeting is unchanged at 6 – 7.30pm.

London Communications Agency, the PR company working with the developers of the site, have sent out the following email with details of the new date and location for the meeting. This is shown in copy below for those who did not receive the details of these important changes.

Following on from our invite issued last week and after discussions we have had with nearby residents, we have identified a suitable venue in which to hold an in person meeting for this session, which we believe to be a better forum for communication and discussion.

We are therefore moving our originally scheduled online meeting on Monday 30th October to Wednesday 8th November at the nearby 26 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1DS. This in-person meeting will be held from 6 – 7.30pm on the third floor of this building.

The agenda remains the same as before, noted below, and will be attended by senior members of the team.

  • Introduction to Freshwater
  • Introductions to John F Hunt (contractor), Buro Four (project managers) and Montagu Evans (planning consultants)
  • A summary of activity that has taken place on site to date
  • Planned activity over the next 3 months
  • Proposed logistics and vehicle movements
  • The long-term programme
  • Q/A

We apologise for any inconvenience arising from this change but do believe that this session will prove to be more productive and useful for attendees.

As before, anyone who is interested in the works but cannot attend the session can be provided the given presentation the following day.

This meeting is open to all nearby residents, but please do let us know if you are intending to come so we can get an idea of numbers for the room.

If you have any questions, please do let us know by emailing our dedicated address:  tenterhouse@londoncommunications.co.uk.