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

London Wall West

                                                                                                    

Update from the BA Chair

As you know, the City has plans to develop London Wall West (the site comprising what is now occupied by Bastion House and the Museum of London).  It  has issued preliminary proposals for a massive commercial development and the Barbican Association, together with many of you, have objected. We believe that what has been proposed is entirely inappropriate to an historic site so close to the Barbican neighbourhood. We are asking the City to think again.

We  have considerable resident talent and expertise but we also need professional help. We have already engaged a public relations company to assist in the development of our strategy . We are fortunate in that the Association has substantial reserves and a steady source of income through Barbican Life. We hope the General Council – our  governing body – will  continue to approve funds to help us challenge the City’s proposals   and make our  campaign as effective as possible.

Once we see the City’s revised  revised proposals I shall be in touch again. We shall then see the extent to which the City has re-thought its plans. If the final plans do not respond to the expectations of local residents and other stakeholders, we shall be launching our campaign.

I hope you will continue to support us and get involved.

Please get in touch with Averil Baldwin at averilmbaldwin@yahoo.com with any comments or offers of help.

Best wishes

Adam Hogg

Chair, The Barbican Association

Licensing update – GoPuff licensing application

Licensing application for ground floor of London House

A licensing application has been made for the ground floor premises in London House on Aldersgate Street which can be viewed here.

The application is to convert the space, which used to be a Natural Kitchen café and prior to that a pub, into a “warehouse” for the delivery of instant groceries and drinks by bicycle deliverers. The applicant is GoPuff whose modus operandi can be viewed in the following article which talks about the business’s launch in the UK.

Application for a 24/7 operation

The application is for a 24 hour/7 days a week operation: “The proposed application is to facilitate a grocery service that requires the Sale by Retail of Alcohol off sales Monday to Sunday 00:00 to 00:00 and on sales Monday to Sunday 08:00 to 23:00 on such other times and on such other terms as set out in the application.”

This would mean deliveries and bikes coming and going across the pavement at all time of the day and night. There has been no prior consultation about this proposal which clearly has the potential to adversely impact residential amenity in terms of noise and disturbance.

If any resident wants to object, the relevant ground for doing so is public nuisance as a 24 hour/7 days a week operation could be noisy at night and disruptive to pedestrians and traffic during the day.

The address to send any objection to is: licensing@cityoflondon.gov.uk

We think the applicant needs to put in a planning application for a change of use – but the licensing team have advised people that if they want to object they should object now to the licensing application – deadline 22 April – because that is the only application open at the moment. If it turns out the applicant does need a planning application (and councillors are inquiring whether this is the case) then any planning conditions (or refusal) would trump a licence.

Please make your feelings known for, if this application is granted, similar such requests may well be forthcoming at other areas around the estate. 

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 1st April 2022

Barbican Estate Fire Sign Strategy

A planning application for Listed Building Consent for the ‘Introduction of new fire signage in communal areas of residential blocks and removal of old redundant fire signage across the Barbican Estate……’ has recently been submitted. Full details of the background and the subsequent report from the company appointed by the City of London Corp to produce a Fire Sign Strategy can be viewed on the Planning website (reference number 22/00162/LBC) here.  

Background

Post Grenfell, in a document dated August 2020, the City of London Corporation directly addressed concerns and issues raised by residents. Amongst others, the following conclusions were drawn:

• Fire signs are required under and reception areas the Fire Safety Reform 2005

• It is a legal requirement that all occupants of a building must be informed of the fire safety instructions, and an effective solution is to display fire action signs with it

• All visitors and staff within the building should be able to see at least one fire action sign on their way to their destination

• They should be fitted between 1.2m to 1.8m from the floor and at important locations throughout the building…[such as] fire alarm call points, next to lifts, or near communal

In response, the City of London Corporation appointed ReForm Architects to produce a Fire Sign Strategy for the Fire Sign Installation Project on the Barbican Estate. A firm called BB7 Fire Safety Engineering was appointed as consultants. A summary of the proposed strategy was provided by BB7 Fire Safety Engineering and submitted to the London Fire Brigade on August 4th, 2021. Their response was that “The recommendations of BB7 with regard to fire signage at the Barbican appear comprehensive and in line with expectations.”

Need to comply with statutory requirements

At present, the Barbican Estate does not comply with the statutory requirements for fire safety signage. Therefore, action needs to be taken to find solutions which both deliver legal compliance and are sensitive to listed building heritage significance. It must also be compliant with planning and building regulations. Hence the submission of this planning application.  

Barbican Fire Sign Strategy Report

This report, dated October 2021, is intended to serve as a strategy document and sets out the principles and intent of the improved fire signage across the Barbican Estate. It includes pictures of the proposed signage and attachment thereof and can be viewed here.

Whilst primarily addressing fire safety, it states that ‘it is important that concerns from residents about the appearance, necessity and frequency of the signage are also addressed, and any proposals are supported by sound and robust evidence for their location and design’.

The document goes through the background and the previous failed introduction of signage in the upper levels of the tower blocks in 2020 for which no Planning or Listed Building Consent had been sought. The Barbican Estate Office received a large number of resident objections relating to the implementation of additional and replacement signage soon after the 2020 works commenced. The objections and comments made can be seen in the Resident Feedback section on Page 14 of the Report. This really says it all – contradictory advice, poor spelling, appearance, positions, etc to name but few.

As a result of complaints, works were put on hold whilst the concerns could be addressed in co-ordination with the London Fire Brigade, Local Authority and Barbican Estate residents.

Resident feedback is important

The report now sets out both the principles and intent of the improved fire signage as well as how and where the proposed signage is to be placed in the various Barbican blocks.

Any comments on these proposals can be made here. The target determination date of the application is 26th April 2022 so any comments should be made before that date.    

2 Aldermanbury – installation of covered walkways

During the last meeting held with residents, Keltbray advised that it would be installing some covered walkways to the Highwalk between London Wall and Guildhall.  It was requested that some information on security and lighting be provided. This has now been received and can be viewed here  

In essence, the document details the proposal for the CCTV, lighting and security once the covered walkway is installed on the podium level of the Basinghall Highwalk between London Wall and Basinghall Street. These enabling works are proposed to commenced in April in readiness for works to the eastern elevation of City Place House. They will remain in place up until access to the walkway is rescinded on 01 June 2022.

Due to the location of the works they will need to be carried out during out of normal working hours i.e. nights and weekends. The works will take a number of nights/weekends to complete and during this time the access to the highway will be closed with local diverts in place.

Once the dates for the works have been finalised this information will be issued to local residents by newsletters, letter drops and emails where applicable.

CCTV – 5 CCTV cameras will be installed to ensure that dull coverage is maintained. The CCTV will be monitored 24/7 by the onsite security office.

Lighting – the covered walkways will have LED strip lights installed to maintain a “daylight” type light condition 24/7. In additional LED floodlights will be installed on the eastern elevation scaffolding which will be controlled by a dusk to dawn sensor to ensure that the light is only working when required.

Security – the existing onsite security operatives will monitor the CCTV 24/7 and will notify the relevant authorities if anything untoward is identified. The security operates have a constant communication link to their main control room.

Planning update – 17th March 2022

Application to convert Cromwell Tower podium void to residential unit

A strong sense of déjà vu can be felt as another application for the conversion of the podium level void space at Cromwell Tower has been submitted given that the time limit for previous approvals has lapsed. The current planning reference number is 22/00177/FULL and asks for permission to convert the podium level void space of Cromwell Tower “to a single residential dwelling unit..….with associated internal alterations, replacement of external glazing and alterations to the Silk Street and Podium level elevations”.

The application can be viewed on the City of London website here and the full details of what is being proposed are in the Heritage Design and Access Statement which can be seen here. The gross internal floor area of the proposed unit is expected to be 244sqm, with 5 rooms and 2 bedrooms, with building work expected to commence in Autumn 2022.  

The documents confirm that full planning permission and Listed Building Consent were granted to the previous applications made in 2016 and 2018 and that this current submission is unchanged from those originally submitted “except for updates to the text in this document which have only been made where information was out of date….”

Although planning approvals have been granted for previous applications, residents should view the documents and make their feelings known on the matter if they feel otherwise. The Standard Consultation expiry date is the 4th April 2022 and any comments can be made to the City of London Planning Dept here

150 Aldersgate Street

The latest communication from Erith has indicated that the projected completion for the current scope of works on this site is 22nd April. However, we have been warned that this is subject to change (ie. delay) as further activities are being developed but as these will be mainly located to the basement and rear courtyard areas, they will hopefully not cause even more disturbance to residents.

Amazon Last Mile Logistics Hub

The minutes of the last Planning & Transportation Committee meeting indicated that the application to establish an Amazon last mile logistics hub in London Wall Car Park is due to be considered at the next Committee meeting scheduled for 26th April 2022.

Finsbury Circus Gardens “transformation” approved

Although not strictly related to planning issues relating to Barbican Estate, it may be of interest to read the recent City of London press release regarding one of our largest local green spaces. This reported that plans to turn Finsbury Circus Gardens into a “haven for people and wildlife” have been given the green light. The historic garden used to be part of London’s first public park, Moor Fields, which dates back to 1607. It is now an oval-shaped garden that was first laid out in 1815 and is reported to be home to a Japanese Pagoda tree – the only one in the City.

The designs include an ‘urban forest’ in the west of the park, skirted by a new oval-shaped pathway, whilst a new 100-capacity pavilion café, nestling in a ‘secret garden’, will boast an open frontage and terrace overlooking a lawn. The park’s Grade II-listed drinking fountain, dating back to 1902, will be retained.

The full press release can be viewed here

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

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.