LWW – consultation deadline extended to 31st January 2022

Just to let you know that the deadline for comments on the London Wall West (LWW) proposals has been extended from today (31st December 2021) until 31 January 2022.

These proposals will have profound implications for local residents, particularly those in the vicinity of the redevelopment site.  

 If you have not already done so, we urge residents to visit the website, participate in the consultation process and make your voices heard.

As previously advised, feedback can be submitted directly to the London Wall West inbox here or via the Citizen Space portal here

Moor Lane Greening Consultation – closes 31st December 2021

Consultations seem to be like buses at the moment. You wait ages for one and then two or three turn up at the same time. We have already reminded residents to participate if they can in the London Wall West consultation process which closes on 31st December.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind that the Corporations consultation on the proposed Environmental Enhancements to Moor Lane also closes on 31st December and we would urge residents to respond if they can. As always, numbers matter on any consultation. Moor Lane is close to us and important not only to those residents in its closest vicinity but also to all of us in terms of aesthetics, wellbeing, air quality, traffic and footfall management.

This is the residents’ chance to advocate for Moor Lane to be a wonderful green and quiet environment adjacent to our Estate.

Greening not bollards!

Residents may recall that the Moor Lane Greening scheme was approved way back in 2012 but was put on hold due to the development of the site at 21 Moorfields.

The earlier, agreed plan offered a wide pavement and an avenue of trees on the western side together with extensive planting to the north and south. It is therefore hugely disappointing to see that this long-awaited scheme has been abandoned to make way for 42 security bollards on the 21 Moorfields side of Moor Lane, with no greening, and a much reduced planting scheme overall. The current consultation also only shows one side of Moor Lane and does not extend the full length of the street – hence it does not show the true impact of the security bollards

The present consultation document also omits to say that the consultation is being carried out separate to any assessment of traffic flow and footfall which should surely an integral part of the whole scheme.

Summary and background notes

We would like this consultation to consist of a joined-up strategy with ambition and consideration for the future of Moor Lane as a quiet shared space and which takes landscaping, planning, highways and amenity factors into consideration in the round.  The gardens under London Wall Place are now maturing nicely.  We believe that there should be similar intent and ambition for greening on Moor Lane.

We attach some bullet points here which provide useful background and content for any consultation response. It also shows a schematic comparison of what was agreed and approved in the 2010/11 consultation and what is being proposed now.

We would remind that it is important that everyone writes a response in their own words as all similar responses will only count as one.

How to respond

  • On-line feedback can be completed here

It would also be very helpful to email feedback directly to the relevant City of London contacts:

Tom.Noble@cityoflondon.gov.uk. (Tom Noble, Group Manager – Business Development / Development Management, City Public Realm)

Andrea.Moravicova@cityoflondon.gov.uk.  (Andrea Moravicova, Project Manager, City Public Realm)

citypublicrealm@cityoflondon.gov.uk

The link to the City of London’s official consultation web page can be found here

Re-consultation for Amazon Logistics Hub – 16th December 2021

Re-consultation – conversion of part of London Wall car park to an Amazon Last Mile Logistics Hub

You may recall that this application (ref: 21/00419/FULL) for the change of use of part of the existing underground carpark in London Wall “from 41 car parking spaces to a last mile delivery hub” (namely Amazon) first appeared in August. The BA, along with a number of residents, objected to this scheme due to the loss of residential amenity, noise, increased traffic flows, inappropriate location abutting a Grade II and Grade II* listed residential estate and gardens, and concerns over public safety”.

Having read through the documents provided in this re-consultation, we see no reason to change our objection to the application. The amendments to the scheme indicate that the Applicant is proposing to undertake groundworks to re-grade the access ramp and lay-by (which is to be used as the drop-off point for the Amazon lorries). This area is within the boundary of the Scheduled Monument (ie. the remains of the London Wall) at the site’s north western corner and Scheduled Monument Consent (SMC) is being sought for these works.

We would point out however that this is against Planning Policy DM.12.1 which requires “heritage assets, their settings and significance” to be sustained and enhanced – not damaged or their access restricted by the regrading of the nearby dropping-off point. Historic assets are surely more important than Amazon delivery trucks!

We would also reiterate our view that this is a totally inappropriate location. The access road to the car park entrance is narrow and one way, with a virtual blind bend half way down. What happens when the drop-off point is already in use by other vehicles? What about the danger to pedestrians trying to access the London Wall remains and the gardens?

We are also puzzled in the extreme as to why this application has got as far as it has given the City of London’s emerging plans for the site at London Wall West which will render this proposal completely inoperable.

Whilst we have no objection to the concept of the change of use of car parking spaces to a last mile delivery hub per se, we believe that this location is totally unsuitable and would urge the applicant and the City planning officers to seek a more appropriate site. Anyone wishing to comment on this application can do so here

The closing date for comments is 3rd January 2022

1 Golden Lane consultation – 9th December 2021

Consultation re 1 Golden Lane

A consultation website has recently been launched regarding the refurbishment of 1 Golden Lane which contains more information about the proposals for the site and a survey for interested parties to provide their feedback.

The website is available at the following link:

www.1goldenlane.co.uk


An in-person drop in consultation event was planned to be held at Capel Cymraeg Jewin, 70 Fann Street on Tuesday 14th December from 3pm, where the project team was to be on hand to talk through the proposals and answer any questions.

However, due to the latest coronavirus-related guidance, the decision has been taken to cancel the in-person exhibition. This will be replaced by a webinar, which will take place from 6-7pm on Tuesday 14th December. This webinar will also give interested residents the chance to hear about the proposals from the project team and ask any questions. To register for the webinar please press here

The consultation will be live until Friday 7th January 2022.

London Wall West Consultation – 9th December 2021

Consultation re London Wall West

You will probably have already received information about the future of London Wall West. This is a number of inter-linked buildings that sit at the heart of the Culture Mile. It is the current home of the Museum of London, which will be moving to Smithfield Market, and Bastion House, an office building at the western end of London Wall. You will recall that this was originally the proposed site for a new Centre for Music, an idea that was scrapped in February 2021 and the decision taken to update the Barbican Centre instead.

Hence the City of London Corporation is looking to redevelop the site to, as it states, “help achieve some of our most challenging and exciting aspirations for the future of the Square Mile”. (Others may merely see it as a scheme to fund the relocation of the Museum of London of course).

The City of London information flyer goes on to say that “Over the past six months, we have been exploring what is possible at London Wall West. We are now launching our public consultation on the early proposals. This is your opportunity to have a significant say in shaping what will be one of the most exciting projects in this part of the capital”.

Two public exhibitions have been held showing these preliminary proposals which incorporate three new buildings – Building 1, a replacement for Bastion House at a similar 17 storeys high but with a significantly increased (at least 3x) footprint, Building 2 – a new building of 14 storeys but with similar mass to that of Building 1 located (roughly) on the current Museum of London roundabout and Building 3 – of “just” 5 storeys located by the Thomas More ramp. There are also, according to the City of London, improved Public Realm, community and cultural spaces.

These proposals will have profound implications for local residents, particularly those in the vicinity of the redevelopment site.  

We urge residents to visit the website, participate in the consultation process and make their voices heard. The site is https://londonwallwest.co.uk which can be accessed here      

Licensing update – 2nd December 2021

Barbie Green – applies again for licence variation

For those who may not be aware, Barbie Green (2 London Wall Place) has recently submitted an application for a variation of its licence “to permit the sale of alcohol on and off the premises 9.00am – 10.30pm Monday – Sunday”.

Background

By way of background, it may be recalled that Barbie Green applied for a similar variation in June 2020 which was “to add off-sales between the hours of 11.00am and 20.00pm Monday to Sunday”. There were many letters of objection submitted both by local residents and the Barbican Association on the grounds of the Prevention of Public Nuisance, in particular:

– concerns over noise disturbance in a predominantly residential area, particularly at night and at weekends, given that the premises are within line-of-sight of many Barbican flats, particularly Andrewes and Willoughby Houses

– concerns that off-sales would encourage groups of people to drink in an area of historic value and the associated fears of damage

– concerns over security and policing

– concerns over hygiene and lack of toilet facilities

6 residents made personal representations at the Licensing Committee meeting of 12th August 2020 when this application was debated, urging the Committee to “amend the timings within the initial application to reflect the fact that this is a heavy residential area with people who work from home and children who need to get to sleep on school nights and also to fall in line with the opening hours at their other premises”.  

The Committee retired to discuss the application and concluded “The Sub Committee sought to strike a balance for residents and the business, and it was the Sub Committee’s decision to grant the variation of the premises licence to permit off-sales between the hours of 11:00 and 18:00 Monday to Friday only with no off-sales at the weekend”.

The full text of the meeting can be viewed here

Current application seeking even more extended hours

The current application asks for even more extended hours than those applied for and rejected in June 2020. The June 2020 application sought to add off-sales between the hours of 11am to 8pm Monday to Sunday. As we have already advised, the current application seeks to “permit the sale of alcohol on and off the premises 9am to 10.30pm Monday to Sunday”.

Yet conditions have not changed and all of the arguments/objections presented to the Committee last year remain valid. We would therefore urge residents to once again object to this application for all of the reasons expressed above. We see no absolutely no reason for extending the hours of operation, especially not for seven days a week, and we urge the Licensing Committee to stand by its original decision.

How to make an objection

The last date for objections is 14th December 2021 and anyone wishing to oppose the application must give notice in writing to the Town Clerk, City of London, Guildhall, London EC2P 2EJ specifying the grounds of opposition.

The full application from Barbie Green can be viewed here

Planning update 28th October 2021

1 Golden Lane acquired by Castleforge Partners

It has been announced that, following the departure of UBS, property investment firm Castleforge Partners has acquired 1 Golden Lane and plans to fully refurbish the building ‘as part of its renewed strategy for investment in London’s commercial market’. The firm has stated that the internal structure is to be redesigned and will ‘incorporate roof gardens and landscaping around the building to improve the area for incoming occupiers and local stakeholders’.

As this project is in its very early stages, no preliminary plans are available as yet (a pity as it will be very interesting indeed to see where they plan to locate the roof gardens on those pitched zinc roofs). However, the developers are in the process of contacting all key stakeholders to introduce themselves and we have been advised that briefings are due to begin shortly, perhaps as early as next week.

We will obviously provide updates as and when we know more.  

New Barbican Centre boss has big plans for the future

Not strictly to do with Planning Matters, but in a recent article in The Times, the headline of an interview with new Barbican Centre boss Will Gompertz (ex BBC) says that he wants “to turn the Barbican into the Old Trafford of the arts”. He apparently chose Old Trafford as an icon for the Barbican Centre to aspire to as it was a place which not only showcases “the greatest practioners in the world” (really? – did you see the game last Sunday Mr Gompertz?!) but also means “something very deep and personal to millions of people who live around”.  

Moving swiftly on, the article reports that Mr Gompertz has “adored the Barbican Centre” for years and describes it as an “architectural masterpiece”. When asked what his plans for the Centre’s future were, he responded that “the journey is to turn the Barbican from being an international arts centre into an international arts, education and enterprise centre”.  One way to achieve this would be via “creative enterprise” – he would like the Barbican “to set up a venture capital fund, using private money from City financiers, so it becomes a hub of support for new creative businesses”. The article goes on “He even knows where they could be housed. We have huge exhibition halls, he says, What are we going to do with those? You could put a school in. We have amazing car parks. How could they be repurposed?”

Schools in exhibition halls? Repurposed car parks? Interesting times may lie ahead! The full article can be read here 

Decision on the Tulip

Again whilst not strictly a planning issue affecting the Barbican Estate, just to update that the Planning Inspectorate has recently written to all the parties to the Public Inquiry advising that the Appeal on ‘the Tulip’ will be made by way of a decision from Government on or before 11 November 2021.

Please let them come to the right decision!

Planning update – 12 October 2021

Second application to install outside furniture on terrace at 1 London Wall withdrawn

We are pleased to note that the second, and slightly revised, application from 1 London Wall to install a pergola, furniture and lighting to the tenth-floor terrace has been withdrawn. This is the second time that the application has been withdrawn so we do not discount the prospect of a third being prepared. Obviously only time will tell…..but it is certainly welcome news for now.

2 London Wall Place apply to restrict the hours of use of the terrace

We are also pleased to advise that the owners of 2 London Wall Place, in their application for the change of use of the vacant first floor space from retail to office, have requested that the City impose a condition restricting the hours of use of the terrace to between 8am and 9.30pm, thus removing concerns over potential noise nuisance. Several objections had been lodged with the City citing concerns about use of the terrace at unsocial hours but following this updated application, these objections have now been withdrawn.    

Two temporary illuminated sculptures to be installed on Highwalk

A recent application has been submitted from 1 London Wall Place for the “installation and display of two illuminated sculptures on the Highwalk for a temporary period between 29th October 2021 and 30th January 2022”.

Click here to view how the two proposed pieces of lighting art, called Nest and Ivy Wall, will look in situ both during the day and at night-time. Given the distance from the residential blocks, it does not appear that they will cause any particular light pollution issues for any residents if anyone feels that it may be an issue they can comment here.  

Police stations to become hotels

The City landscape around us continues to undergo substantial change. The City recently approved plans for a new combined City of London Police headquarters and courts facility at Fleet Street. This has led to the decisions to close both the Wood Street and Snow Hill Police Stations and planning permission has now been granted for their conversion into hotels.

Snow Hill Police Station to become new Premier Inn

At the Planning & Transportation Committee meeting held on 21st September, plans “to transform the former Snow Hill Police Station into a ‘hub by Premier Inn’ hotel” were approved. This will be Whitbread’s third hub hotel in the City and is targeted to open in 2023/24.

Wood Street Police Station to become a luxury hotel

The conversion of Wood Street Police Station into a premium hotel was approved on 1st October 2021. The developer is a subsidiary of Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed Magnificent Hotel Investments Ltd. Questions have been asked as to what will happen to the stables and the cells – the answer is that the stables are to be converted into a restaurant and the cells into a whisky bar. Could be interesting!

Planning & Licensing News – update 7th September 2021

London Wall Car Park – conversion of part as an Amazon Last Mile Logistics Hub

The long-expected application for the change of use of part of the existing underground carpark in London Wall “from 41 car parking spaces to a last mile delivery hub” (namely Amazon) has now been submitted to the City’s Planning Department. The proposal “will comprise the provision of electric cargo bike storage spaces, the provision of security cages to store parcels, welfare facilities and an office area, an amended vehicular access route through this section of the carpark and use of the existing layby for reception of deliveries by HGVs”.

Several of us met with Amazon and the City of London back in April as part of the consultation process to hear the proposals. We would remind however that they had already been presented to and agreed in theory by the Planning & Transportation Committee at its meeting of 15th December 2020 when it was “therefore concluded that the proposals would be welcomed assuming the planning application for change of use was approved”.

The formal planning application for that change of use has now been submitted. The reference number is 21/00419/FULL and it can be viewed here

Objections have already been submitted 

A number of objections have already been submitted from nearby residents, principally citing, inter alia, loss of residential amenity (in particular noise), danger to pedestrians, increased traffic flows and inappropriate location abutting as it does a Grade II and Grade II* residential estate and gardens in a designated Conservation Area. With proposed operating hours of 7am-8pm, the increase in noise and traffic produced by the hub will have an inevitable impact on the residents in the area, most particularly in the early and late hours of operation. The entrance to the car park is too low for the Amazon lorries to enter and so the parcels will be unloaded in the external drop-off bay opposite to the entrance and put into trollies/cages to then be wheeled into the car park for allocation and onward delivery via bike or trolley. The suggestion in the accompanying documents therefore that “ambient noise” will cover any increased noise from the hub is therefore, in my opinion, surely risible. 

The location of the proposed unloading bay is actually the drop-off bay for visitors to Bastion House and is located not only right by the remains of the Roman Wall but also right by the pedestrian access to the site and the gardens. Looking further ahead, what chaos may ensue when the London Wall West scheme commences is anyone’s guess. We have no objection to the theory of introducing logistics hubs given their clear and obvious benefits in terms of reducing the number of vehicles on the roads, better air quality (once the delivery vehicles are all electric of course) etc etc but there surely might be a better location than this for such a scheme given the restrictions of the site.  

The BA is therefore also planning to join the list of objectors on the grounds described above. The Standard Consultation Expiry date is 23rd September.  Anyone wishing to also comment on the plans can do so here

Other news in brief

45 Beech Street – application for communications eqpt upgrade approved

The Planning Officer’s Report of 24th August 2021 has approved the proposed upgrade to an existing telecommunications installation situated on the rooftop of 45 Beech Street. The report states “It is considered that the re-sited existing and proposed new antennae would not significantly alter the appearance of the building from the street, and would not harm the setting and significance of the Barbican and Golden Lane Conservation Area; the Barbican Estate as a grade II listed building; or to the Barbican Estate as a grade II* registered historic park and garden. It is recommended that prior approval be approved”.

An email was sent asking the Planning Officer how and when approval had been granted to install the equipment that is already there in situ. The answer, however, was somewhat disappointing stating as it did “we do not have a definitive record for when they were installed. This would have been under Class A, Part 24 of Schedule 2 of the GDPO 1995, which was superseded in 2015. However, I can confirm the City has a record of letter notifying us of the developer’s intention to utilise their permitted development rights to upgrade an existing telecoms base station at 45 Beech Street in 2013, so it would follow that there had been apparatus at the site from before then”. 

The author therefore remains astounded not only that permission was ever granted for such an installation given the location but also that there was no consultation and no-one has any memory or record of it. Enough said!

Planning & Licensing update – 27th August

In terms of new applications, there have been few of particular note submitted over the past month. On the domestic front, residential flat refurbishment applications where Listed Building Consent is required continue to flow through steadily. Indeed, there have been 23 in the year to date compared to just 10 in the same period last year – no wonder we have all had to buy new ear plugs!  

On the commercial front there are a couple of issues which should be highlighted. The first relates to two recent applications from 21 Moorfields and the second to an application from 2 London Wall Place for change of use of the vacant space on the ground/first floor from restaurant to offices.

21 Moorfields – bollards  – and orange lighting

By way of brief background, the development at 21 Moorfields is moving relentlessly onwards and upwards. Whilst planning permission for the scheme was granted some time ago, conditions (as is the case for virtually all major developments) were attached to that permission which require further details to be submitted and approved at various stages. In this regard, the developers have recently submitted two Material Discharge Conditions (MDCs).

Bollards…….

The first relates to details of the proposed “hostile vehicle mitigation measures” (ie. bollards) that are being proposed to provide security for the building in Moor Lane (planning reference number:19/00717/MDC)

An article detailing this application “Moor Lane – why such a poor relation to London Wall” has already been posted on the website. The BA has submitted an objection to this application  and has asked the City planners that, before any planning permission is waved through, proper co-ordination with the Moor Lane greening scheme be established. A proposal could then be submitted for a more appropriate design that would enhance the design of the streetscape which could then be taken to the promised Consultation on the scheme in September.

If anyone feels that they would also like to comment on this application then please just click here.

……and orange lighting for the City Walkway Bridge over Moor Lane??

The developers then submitted another application, this time relating to alterations to City Walkway Bridge over Moor Lane. (planning reference number: 19/00186/MDC).

Again by way of brief background, we were told at a recent online meeting with the developers that the underside of the cantilevered section of the Walkway Bridge is to be orange and the proposal is to light it so that the light falls onto the steps below. If the orange is to light the steps then it will clearly be on 24/7. The planning application submitted does not actually show this proposed orange lighting, an omission which we feel is rather misleading, as the pictures below demonstrate. The first one shows the proposal with the orange cantilevered section whilst the second is the picture submitted in the application – showing no orange at all.

Given the proximity to the many bedrooms opposite, we plan to object to this on the grounds of light pollution and loss of residential amenity. Orange lighting is, in our view, also not in keeping with the character and appearance of the surrounding Grade II Listed buildings directly opposite. 

The BA and nearby residents have objected to this proposal. Subtle lighting on the steps themselves would surely be a more sensible solution and would not affect the lives of so many residents in the near vicinity.   If any resident is of a similar view, they can similarly object by commenting on this proposal here

2 London Wall Place – change from restaurant to office use

An application from 2 London Wall Place (ref: 21/00678/FULL) has been submitted for the change of use of the vacant part on ground/first floor from restaurant to office use. From the nearby residents’ point of view, this clearly seems a better option than a restaurant – and, indeed, far better than the events management company which we understand had previously shown interest!

The only potential cause for concern is the use – or more precisely the timing of the use – of the small patio area abutting the Highwalk. The managers of the property, Brookfield Estates, confirmed that the patio area would form part of the site and the occupants would be able to use it even though it was not demised. They did reassure however that stringent rules would be imposed as to the use of the outside space and when and what it could or could not be used for.

However, in order to both protect residents’ amenity and prevent noise disturbance, we are of the view that a condition should form part of any approval granted which would limit the hours of usage of the outside space to, say, 9pm. It is our intention therefore to request that the City of London Planning Department consider this.

If any resident is of a similar view, they can similarly request that this condition should form part of any planning approval by commenting on the relevant webpage here

On a lighter note……….

For anyone who did not see this recent article in The Guardian headed “Does London really need a gigantic glowing orb the height of Big Ben?” can read it here. Let us hope that the City planners have not seen it and get any ideas……………

And finally, the first sighting of the “C” word. For those who think it is still summer, a recent application has been submitted for the proposed use of Broadgate Circle for a “temporary Christmas Forest installation”. And yes it really is only August………………