Planning update – 18th May 2022

Amazon Last Mile Logistics Hub in London Wall Car Park

Application undergoing another reconsultation…..

The application for this was submitted back in May 2021 (ref: 21/00419/FULL) and the outcome still has to be decided. We were recently informed however that the application had gone to another re-consultation…..albeit that there was some confusion as to the reason for the re-consultation given that two letters were sent out on the subject. The first, dated 4th May, stated that the application was marked for re-consultation “due to the receipt of additional information and amendments to the application including re-grading works to the existing layby”.  The second letter, dated 11th May, stated that it was “due to amendments to the transport statement”. The email continues “Any observations must be received within a period of 21 days beginning with the date of this letter (ie by 1st June). We are assuming that the latter letter is the important one.

Having gone through the documents however there do not seem to be many meaningful changes or amendments to the application made in the revised transport statement other than to highlight a couple of seemingly cosy side deals between the applicant and the City of London with regard to the removal of kerbs and the agreement that the Museum of London’s delivery area is to be used as a waiting area in the event that the chosen lay-by/unloading area is already in use.

The revised transport statement can be viewed here

A few issues have been clarified however…..

A request for further information from the City of London planning department did, however,  answer a few of the outstanding questions. For example, we now know that the hub is planned to be operated 7 days a week, albeit with no overnight servicing, and with deliveries at the weekends restricted to the hours 8am – 3pm. The early consultation meetings with residents in 2021 had suggested that weekend deliveries may not be required. The prospect of noisy deliveries and unloading/reloading etc from 8am every day including weekends is surely not an attractive one for nearby residents.  

It was also confirmed that there is no scheduled timetable for the use of electric vehicles which was one of the main planks of the initial presentation to residents. Amazon will instead be using 7.5T and 16T diesel lorries for deliveries which will be exiting via the Thomas More ramp for the foreseeable future – again, not an attractive proposition for residents given the significant increase in noise, pollution and public safety that these will cause.

We note that the applicant has continued to ask for a permanent application rather than a temporary one – surprising, given that the current proposals to develop the London Wall West site include the closure of the Museum of London in December 2022 and the possible demolition of Bastion House.  The closure of the Museum will inevitably give rise to a significant increase in the number of vehicles using the Museum’s service road given the need to pack and remove the millions of items to a new home. If the Museum’s delivery area is in regular use and the Bastion House loading bay is occupied, then where will the Amazon lorries go?   

Special sub-committee to determine this application….or is it?

A special sub-committee is to be formed to determine this application.  As the Chair of the BA Planning Sub-committee succinctly expressed it: “The planning committee is prevented from hearing the application because it also manages the car park – so they propose to form a subcommittee (composed of all the people on the planning committee) that meets immediately after the planning committee meet to determine the planning application that the planning committee can’t determine”.  

No comment necessary!

Please join us in objecting to this application

There are a number of excellent objection letters already on the City of London Planning website which merit viewing. Indeed, one from a resident of Monkwell Square contains a number of pertinent photographs which clearly refute many of the statements put forward by the applicant in this proposal. These letters can be viewed here

There is also an interesting thread on barbicantalk

The BA will be submitting another objection to this re-consultation and will be reiterating our objections which centre on 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.

We would urge as many residents as possible to do similarly.

Anyone who also wishes to make representations about this application should do so by 1st June 2022 either on-line or by email to PLNComments@cityoflondon.gov.uk.

Other planning and licensing news

1 Golden Lane

Please continue to submit your objections to this proposal – and, if possible, to post your comments/objections against both of the applications relating to this scheme. There have been 164 objections submitted so far against the 22/00202/FULMAJ application but only 61 against the 20/00203/LBC (Listed Building Consent) application.

An interesting thread can also be viewed on this application on barbicantalk

By way of reminder the links to submit comments against both applications are:

22/00202/FULMAJ

22/00203/LBC

GoPuff licensing application

As previously advised, a licensing application has been made for the ground floor premises in London House on Aldersgate Street which the applicant wants to turn into a “warehouse” for the delivery of instant groceries and drinks by bicycle. The application is for a 24 hour/7 days a week operation.

The BA submitted an objection on the grounds of public nuisance and safety and it is our understanding that a number of other objections have also been lodged. The application was to be decided at a Public Hearing this afternoon, Wednesday 18th May.

It is hoped that the outcome is a satisfactory one and that the City of London adheres to its stated Licensing policies and refuses this application on the grounds of public nuisance and danger to public safety and suggests that the applicant seeks a more suitable location for its proposed operations.

We will advise of the outcome when it has been announced.  

Proposed rooftop condensing units on Aldersgate House

An application from Aldersgate House 135-137 Aldersgate Street for a “proposed roof extension to conceal 9 new condensers” was submitted in January 2022 (reference number 21/01125/FULL). This gave rise to obvious concerns about the potential for increased noise, especially for residents at the Western end of the Estate.  

The applicant has recently submitted a revised Environmental Noise Impact Assessment report. This concludes that “environmental noise…should comply fully with relevant national and local planning policy, in particular the City of London Planning Policy guidelines relating to environmental noise emissions from mechanical plant. This is provided that the proposed condensing units are fitted with discharge attenuators (ducted to the roof), that the proposed rooftop plant enclosure incorporates sound absorptive wall linings, that the roof intake air openings are acoustically baffled, and that the subject plant are time-switch controlled to prevent operation outside the proposed operating period of 7.00 – 21.00 hours (Mondays to Saturdays), all as specified herein”. 

This is in contrast to the previous report dated December 2021which concluded (as per the part in bold above) that “This is provided that the proposed condensing units are fitted with discharge attenuators of the specified performance (ducted to the roof via flexible connections) and that the proposed rooftop plant enclosure incorporates sound absorptive wall linings of the specified performance, and with intake air openings in the roof, all as described herein”.

The report indicates (as they always do) that the proposed plant emission noise levels to the nearby Barbican blocks are within statutory guidelines. However, we can conclude that the planners were not satisfied with the sound proofing proposals as originally proposed and hence the revised report indicates not only a strengthening of the acoustic screening but also the implementation of time restrictions ie. 7.00 – 21.00 hours Mondays to Saturdays.

This seems to be good news for a change although only time will tell of course.

Renewal of the Barbican Centre – winner announced

It is probable that many residents have already seen this but, if not, it has been announced that a collaborative design team led by architects Allies and Morrison and Asif Khan Studio has been selected to deliver a “multi million pound” renewal of the Barbican Centre. 

The team has considerable experience in major heritage and cultural projects, and have delivered projects for organisations including Tate Britain, the V&A, Royal Festival Hall, Shakespeare’s Globe, Oakland Museum of California, and more.

The team has considerable experience in major heritage and cultural projects, and have delivered projects for organisations including Tate Britain, the V&A, Royal Festival Hall, Shakespeare’s Globe, Oakland Museum of California, and more.

The team has considerable experience in major heritage and cultural projects, and have delivered projects for organisations including Tate Britain, the V&A, Royal Festival Hall, Shakespeare’s Globe, Oakland Museum of California, and more.

The full press release can be read here

New Chair of Planning & Transportation Committee announced

It has been announced that Shravan Joshi has been elected as Chair of the new Planning and Transportation Committee. He will now “lead on all planning issues affecting the Square Mile including leading the discussion and debate on planning permissions for new developments in the City……In his new role, he is committed to ensuring the Square Mile remains a world-leading and sustainable place in which to do business, particularly as the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic continues to gather pace.

The City Corporation’s ambitious Climate Action Strategy will also take centre stage throughout his term with increasing global interest in the complex debate over new development versus retrofitting existing buildings.

He will also be responsible for the reshaping of the City Corporation’s City Plan 2040, which “is currently being reconsidered to take into account the changing ways in which we use space”.

The full press release can be read here

Planning update – 1 Golden Lane

Planning application now submitted

The planning application for the refurbishment and expansion of 1 Golden Lane has now been submitted. The planning reference number is 22/0020/FULMAJ and the accompanying documents – all 121 of them – can be seen on the City of London Planning website.

Most residents will undoubtedly be aware of this proposed redevelopment; indeed, many may also have gone along to the public exhibition and viewed the plans (sparse as they were). However a brief summary may be helpful.

Brief summary

The proposal is ‘a major refurbishment of the existing office building to deliver extensions and a series of alterations. The existing extension is 9 storeys high and it will be extended to rise up to 12 storeys, with a series of set back and tiered additions to the upper floors. This includes a 3-storey extension over part of the mansard roof of the eastern wing. Minor extensions are proposed laterally to the north and south (above ground level), with proposed upwards extensions to create occupiable floorspace at levels 10 and 11 and a roof terrace and lobby at level 12’.

The development will provide an increase in internal floorspace of c19.8% (2,588sqm) and net lettable floorspace of c11.6% (1,117sqm).

The Townscape Visual Impact Heritage Assessment documents 1&2 provide both interesting historical data (Section 3 in Vol 1), details of the proposed development (Section 4 Vol 1) and, most importantly, drawings/views of the building in Section 5 (Page 20 onwards and at the beginning of Vol 2).

The applicant claims that ‘the nature of the wider townscape is such that whilst the upper floors of the Proposed Development will be visible, they will simply be seen as part of the wider varied townscape of large-scale post-war and later development, and will continue the existing character………..The proposals will appear modest in relation to the existing townscape and there will be no harmful effect on any view’. Modest?! Please take a look and judge for yourselves.

There is also an interesting and detailed discussion of the proposal on BarbicanTalk.

Loss of residential amenity

The increased scale and mass of the building will inevitably create a loss of residential amenity for many nearby residents, including those in Ben Jonson House and Breton House, principally in the form of light pollution, overshadowing and loss of daylight and sunlight. As always seems to be the case, the Daylight, Sunlight and Overshadowing Report states that any impact is within allowable guidelines but affected residents may well feel otherwise.

Indeed, the report states that a total of 776 windows, serving 556 Site facing habitable rooms had been assessed across 7 nearby properties and that both Ben Jonson and Breton Houses “will experience fully BRE compliant alterations” in relation to levels of daylight and sunlight received. The impact on individual windows in the affected blocks is analysed in Appendix 4 of the Report.    

Please make your views known

The BA will be writing a letter of objection principally focussing on an unacceptable increase in height and mass and the loss of residential amenity in the form, as previously mentioned, of light pollution, overshadowing and loss of daylight and sunlight.

Please look through the documents. Any comments on the proposals can be made here. The Standard Consultation deadline is stated as the 20th April but the determination deadline is not until the 27th June so there will be some considerable leeway on this.

Planning Update – 18th February 2022

Fortunately there is little new in the way of planning applications to report but given that the Estate is already surrounded and suffering from developments (from North to South – e.g 1 Golden Lane, Tenter House, 21 Moorfields, City Place House, Wood Street Police Station, 150 Aldersgate) this comes as some relief. Relief will not be a sentiment shared by many (or any) of us though when the 1-12 Long Lane and, most particularly, the London Wall West projects commence.

So moving swiftly on, here are a few updates on the developments going on around us:

Museum of London to close in December

I am sure most residents will be aware of this by now but it has been announced that the Museum of London’s main site at London Wall is to close in December 2022 in preparation for its relocation to West Smithfield. From June 2022, it is planning to hold a series of events, activities and displays celebrating its 45 years at the site.

The new building, to be called The London Museum, is due to open in 2026.

The full press release together with links showing the location and plans for the new site can be seen here

City Place House/2 Aldermanbury – Highwalk closure details

A meeting with the BA and interested residents was held recently with the representatives of the developers of City Place House/2 Aldermanbury to hear the plans for the timings and closure of the bridge and walkways over London Wall as well as get a general update. A copy of the slides can be seen here

The original plan was to close the bridge and the Highwalk to the public once the site had been handed over to commence demolition works at the end of January 2022. Access through the new building would be made available back to the public two months prior to the project completion at the end of October 2025.

The revised schedule shows that full closure is now expected to commence some 5 months later than planned in June 2022 and re-open from June 2025, some 2 months earlier than planned. The closure is therefore now expected to last for 37 rather than 44 months. Only time will tell of course if this proves to be the case.

1 Golden Lane – exhibition boards from public presentation now available

The picture boards from the public exhibition regarding the proposed expansion and refurbishment of 1 Golden Lane are now available for view on the 1GoldenLane website.

The link to view the exhibition boards can be found here

Wood Street Police Station – ‘minor’ changes mean a new planning application is in pipeline

You may recall that Magnificent Hotel Investments Ltd secured planning consent in 2021 for the refurbishment and conversion of Wood Street Police Station into a high quality hotel. Since that time the developers have been working to find a suitable hotel brand to take on and operate the new hotel. Whilst there is reported to be ‘strong commercial interest’ in the site, the ‘feedback from potential operators has made clear that some modest changes are needed for them to be able to operate the building successfully’.

Whilst the changes proposed appear to be relatively minor, it has been agreed with the City Planning officers that a new planning application would be appropriate.

In terms of an overview of the proposed revisions, the plan is now ‘to increase the total rooms from 213 to 235’, achieved ‘by reorganising space …. Specifically, the proposed spa and leisure uses have been removed save for a gym, and the basement restaurant and kitchen have been relocated to ground level to improve footfall and accessibility. Additionally, the consented two-storey addition from the west side is no longer required and we are relocating various plant equipment from the roofs to the inside of the building … we are proposing to make the atrium seating areas larger and more accessible by removing a proposed feature stair to Rolfe Hall and installing decking over the courtyard in part with structural, translucent glazing to bring light in to the basement guest rooms below…’.

Ahead of actually seeing the proposed revisions, these changes do appear minor and it does not look like there are any grounds for objection. However, this stance may change once we have seen the revised planning application.

Planning & Licensing update 24th January 2022

1 Golden Lane – rescheduled public exhibition…..

We have been made aware that the rescheduled public exhibition for the 1 Golden Lane proposed refurbishment/expansion is to be held tomorrow, Tuesday 25th January 2022, 3:30pm-7:30pm. 

The event will take place at Jewin Welsh Church, 70 Fann Street, EC1Y 0SA. Further information of the proposals will be available during the exhibition, and members of the Project Team will be on-hand to answer questions.

The 1 Golden Lane website can be viewed here

….and offers redistribution of unwanted items from the strip out phase

The developers of 1 Golden Lane, Castleforge, have partnered with Globechain for the strip out phase of the building “to ensure a more sustainable approach to the project”. Castleforge is therefore looking for any charities or community organisations within the local area that may benefit from recycled material from the site.  

Globechain connect landlords to non-profits, businesses and people to redistribute unneeded items. Its online marketplace will allow Castleforge to upload unwanted items from the 1 Golden Lane strip out to its interactive website. These items can then be offered at no cost to charities and organisations in need. These can, for example, help to refurbish community centres or provide an opportunity for young people to learn to upcycle. 

If anyone knows of any organisations that would be interested in receiving items from the 1 Golden Lane strip out, including carpets tiles, ceiling tiles, hand dryers, doors, kitchen units or light fittings then please get in touch with Stephen Gregory, Account Executive at Concilio Communications. Email: sgregory@conciliocomms.com

Barbie Green licensing variation application hearing and decision

The hearing to decide the licence variation application from Barbie Green was held last Wednesday 12th January. It may be recalled that Barbie Green applied for a variation of its licence to extend the hours for the sale of alcohol on its premises from the current 11.00am to 10.30pm Monday to Sunday to 9.00am to 10.30pm Monday to Saturday. The application form implied that it was also applying to extend its off sales licence by two hours on weekdays and to include weekends (no off sales are currently allowed at weekends). Many objections were lodged and personal representations were made by several objectors at the hearing.

Whilst the proposed increase to the hours when alcohol could be sold on the premises was certainly not welcomed, the main thrust of the objections was against the seeming proposal to extend the off sales licence. The word “seeming” has been used as it transpired that the applicant had not filled in the form correctly and it was not applying to extend its off sales licence at all. It was therefore confirmed at the start of the hearing that the only variation being sought was to bring forward the sale of alcohol on the premises from 9am (from 11am) and that no changes were being sought in respect of off sales.

The hearing considered that, given the size of the premises, the variation was unlikely to attract a large number of additional brunch clients and the sub-committee “sought to strike a balance for residents and the business”. It therefore decided to grant a variation of the licence and extend the licensing hours to 9am on Monday to Saturday and to 10am on Sundays.

Any party dissatisfied with this decision has the right to appeal within 21 days of the date of the notification of the decision (i.e. from 17th January).

Barbican Centre – five teams shortlisted for major revamp project

The City of London Corporation has shortlisted five collaborative teams to compete for the major revamp of the Barbican Centre. The Corporation invited ‘multidisciplinary teams ‘who have the skills, experience and ambition to compete for the high-profile commission to transform the Brutalist arts centre ‘to meet the needs of 21st-century artists, audiences and communities’.

The finalists are:

–        Adjaye Associates, Benedetti Architects and PUP Architects

–        Allies and Morrison and Asif Khan Studio

–        Bjarke Ingels Group, Avanti Architects and POoR Collective

–        Diller Scofido + Renfro, McCloy + Muchemwa, and Purcell

–        Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Bureau de Change, Schulze+Grassoy, and Thinc

The full article can be read here

City of London announces a 70% increase in office development approvals in 2021  

The City of London Corporation has recently issued a press release announcing a 70% increase in office development approvals in 2021.

It highlights the fact that “In 2021, its Planning and Transportation Committee resolved to approve a total of 4,360,944 sq.ft of new office floorspace. This compares with 2,582,348 sq.ft in 2020 – an increase of almost 70% year on year. The developments to have been approved this year include  55 Gracechurch Street70 Gracechurch Street2-3 Finsbury AvenueCity Place House100-108 Fetter Lane120 Fleet Street115-123 Houndsditch and 14-21 Holborn Viaduct”.

The release goes on to say that a substantial number of office developments remain in the planning pipeline which are expected to go to the Planning and Transportation Committee for decision in 2022. You have been warned!

The full press release can be read here

1 Golden Lane proposed soft strip out and borehole works

Dear Stakeholder,

I am writing to you to inform you of the Soft Strip Out and Borehole works that are due to commence at 1 Golden Lane from January 2022. I would be very grateful if you could pass this information on to anyone living in proximity to 1 Golden Lane so that they can also be fully informed.

The Strip Out work will be confined to internal, non-heritage elements of the building to ensure noise, dust and other disruption will be kept to a minimum. Removing the internal finishes in the building at this early stage will provide a comprehensive understanding of the existing building to allow the proposal to maximise re-use opportunities and ultimately reduce the programme duration of the development and any disruption to our neighbours. 

Borehole works will commence on Wednesday 12th January and run for approximately 5 business days until Tuesday 18th January. The Soft Strip Out works will commence on Monday 17th Januaryand are expected to be complete at the end of March 2022.

The following works have been planned:

  • Borehole/ foundation survey tests to the south elevation vehicle ramp
  • Soft strip of materials internally to the building, including waste clearance
  • Removal of external plant and finishes to terraces/ roof

Noise monitoring will be undertaken throughout the duration of the works and will be constantly reviewed to ensure that is remains compliant with The City of London regulations. 

If you have any concerns or questions about the Borehole works, please contact A2 Site Supervisor, Oliver Cottam or A2 Project Manager, Richard Beaumont. Their contact details are below. 

Oliver Cottam – 07446 944137

Richard Beaumont – 07565 650530

The Soft Strip on site hours are Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and Saturday from 8am– 2pm, albeit work will not commence until 9am. Operatives will arrive on site from 7.30am for registration and inductions. 

If you have any concerns or questions about the Soft Strip Out works, please contact Site Managers Phil Dunt or Marius Sadauskas or Operations Director, Andrew Mackie. Their contact details are below. 

Phil Dunt – 07703 381743

Marius Sadauskas  079850 389866

Andrew Mackie – 07950 389866

If you have any general questions about the project, please do not hesitate to emailsgregory@conciliocomms.com or call our free phone number 0800 994 9322

Kind regards,

Stephen Gregory

Account Executive

M: 07468 492 708

sgregory@conciliocomms.com

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