Planning miscellany

Planned conversion of 45 Beech Street from office to residential use

The BA received a letter recently from HUB which indicated that HUB and Bridges Fund Management have recently purchased 45 Beech Street. We are at the very earliest stages of exploring options to sensitively refurbish and repurpose the building as residential accommodation and so would welcome the opportunity to introduce ourselves properly in the coming weeks. By way of background, HUB is a London-based developer, set up over 10 years ago to deliver residentialled schemes in London and, more recently, cities across the UK……We will be delivering this project through our new investment vehicle, HUBCAP, which was set up specifically to deliver low carbon building reuse schemes. Our aspirations as a business in this regard are closely aligned with that of our partner, Bridges, the UK’s largest social and environmental impact fund, which for 20 years has invested in projects that seek to transition the UK to a more sustainable and inclusive economy.

The full letter can be read here. We are still awaiting confirmation of a date to meet the HUB representatives. In the meantime, this marketing brochure gives details of the building.

You may well have also read about the proposal in the 15th May edition of the Evening Standard in an article headed “£30 million City office block to be converted to ‘low-carbon’ flats”…….45 Beech Street ….set to be transformed into green housing…..” The full article can be read here.

There is also an interesting and detailed thread emerging on BarbicanTalk on this topic which can be viewed here.  

1-8 Long Lane – hotel project still ongoing

By way of background, back in June 2022 the BA and interested parties were invited to meet with the owners and architects involved with the site at 1-8 Long Lane. You may recall that the site at 1-12 Long Lane had already been granted planning permission for the demolition of the site and its replacement with a new office development. However, the changing nature of working practices post the pandemic led the owners to reconsider this proposal and they had come to the conclusion that the site at 1-8 Long Lane would be better converted to a boutique hotel. A meeting was held with interested members of the BA back in June 2022 where these ideas were put forward, with more detailed thoughts and proposals expected by the end of the year.

Nothing has been heard subsequently and an update was therefore requested. Whilst not particularly forthcoming, the response was “Following our meeting last year, the project team has been working with the City Corporation to work through a number of planning issues for the proposals. I believe these issues are almost resolved and so we will be looking to host a full round of public consultation to update everyone on the plans. We hope the be able to conduct this over the next few months”.

So it appears that the plans are still going ahead and that further details should be available in the summer.

The City of London signs up to the LUCI declaration

The City of London has recently announced that it has signed up the LUCI (Lighting Urban Community International) declaration to tackle light pollution. The accompanying release states that “the scheme will….commit the governing body of the Square Mile to use its planning powers to compel developers to cut the use of artificial light and save energy“. The international network of major cities known as LUCI includes 68 cities across the globe alongside City of London, including Paris, Seol and Shanghai.

The seven objectives of the Declaration support the City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy, which supports the Square Mile as a whole to reach net zero by 2040. These include:

1.        Embracing Net Zero Lighting 

2.        Minimising light pollution

3.        Supporting health and well-being

4.         Progressing through public-private dialogue

5.         Increasing public engagement in development projects

6.         Integrating more light art into the public realm

7.         Greater consideration for lighting across urban planning policies

The City Corporation recently consulted on its Lighting Supplementary Planning Document, which will require developers to submit a detailed strategy for how buildings are lit. The City Corporation’s Considerate Lighting Charter will also ask existing property owners and occupants to make a commitment to turn lights off when not in use. A campaign to encourage local businesses to sign up to the charter will be launched in the coming months.

Let us hope that these words translate into firm actions!

The full press release can be read here.

Planning miscellany

Residents may well already be aware of these but, in the event that this is not the case, here are a few updates:

1 Golden Lane – further documents submitted

Just to alert you to the submission of further documents regarding the refurbishment and extension of 1 Golden Lane. The first is a report titled “Noise, Dust and Environmental mitigation to residents” (reference number 23/00084/MDC). The second (reference number 23/00085/MDC) is the “submission of details of historic fabric protection measures”. The third is the Pre-Demolition Audit” (reference number 23/00077/MDC) and the final one is the Deconstruction Logistics Plan (reference number 23/00078/MDC).  

48 Chiswell Street – consultation underway

As you will no doubt be aware the formal consultation on the proposed extension and refurbishment of 48 Chiswell Street is continuing. The relevant newsletter and vision booklet may be of interest if not already viewed.

Just a reminder, however, that this application will be submitted to Islington rather than to the City of London.

Bastion House/MoL on C20’s Buildings at Risk List

As previously advised, Bastion House and the Museum of London have been recognised as one of the ten most threatened 20th century buildings in the UK by the C20 Society and have been placed on their 2023 Buildings at Risk list.

More details can be viewed here

Listing applied for Alban Gate

The twentieth century society (C20) has also submitted an application for the listing of the previously discussed Alban Gate (125 London Wall) “to safeguard against any unsympathetic alterations and ensure a suitably conservation-led refurbishment”. The Society says that it views Alban Gate as a key late 20th-century commercial development in the City of London, synonymous with the ‘Big Bang’ era and a highly significant work by one of the UK’s leading post-war architects………

The full article can be read here

Milton Gate, 60 Chiswell Street – to be refurbished

As if there are not enough developments going on around the Barbican, we have been informed that “Brookfield Properties have assembled a team of specialists to explore opportunities to reposition Milton Gate for a greener future, ensuring it can meet the evolving needs of the future generation of workers and be a positive contributor to its environment and local community”.

It appears that Milton Gate’s current tenants are planning to vacate in late 2024, having occupied and managed the building since 2007 and “As part of the team’s commitment to early community engagement, we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to hear your perspectives on the existing building and environment, and to share and discuss initial ideas for its future”.

A meeting to hear preliminary thoughts on the site is to take place shortly and more details will be provided as soon as they are available.  

TikTok to take part of 150 Aldersgate Street

It has been reported that TikTok is to take part of 150 Aldersgate Street whose redevelopment is due for completion in Q3 2024. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a China-founded technology company. You will recall that the Kaleidoscope building (above the Farringdon Elizabeth line Station) was leased by Helical to TikTok Information Technologies UK for its UK headquarters, back in March 2021. Subsequent to this it may be interesting to note that the building has subsequently been sold to ChinaChem. 

The full article can be read here

Alban Gate – planning application finally validated

The long-expected application regarding the refurbishment proposals for Alban Gate (125 and 130 London Wall) has finally been received and validated. The reference number is 22/01207/FULL and can be accessed here.

The application is for an wide-ranging list of proposals “Extensions and alterations to include: the formation of terrace areas at level 7, alteration of office entrances and facades at ground and podium level to include the addition of mesh panels to the ground floor facade, removal of glazing on elevations to Wood Street and Monkwell Square and the creation of balconies from podium to level 18, reconfiguration Class E uses at ground and podium level; change of use of former wine bar from Sui Generis Use to Use Class E; provision of pop up space at podium level for retail / leisure; alteration of Alban Highwalk City Walkway and declaration of new areas of City Walkway; new access arrangements to include the replacement of escalators to Wood Street South with new stairwell; removal of escalators to Wood Street North and insertion of new lift for public use; infill of office atria; associated hard and soft landscaping to include revision of cycle parking and associated works”.

There are 111 documents accompanying this application which makes it extremely time consuming and difficult to go through all of the necessary details in a thorough fashion.

However we would make a few key points:

Pedestrian access to be radically changed

Plans to radically change the pedestrian access to the site remain unchanged. This is despite numerous concerns voiced at the time of the initial consultation regarding the loss of the escalators both on Wood Street South and Wood Street North and their replacement with a “green” set of steps (South) and a new lift (North).

The developers talk of wanting to build a better connection of the building to the streetscape and yet these plans show that they aim to achieve this by removing both sets of existing escalators and replacing them with one lift and a static staircase. Will this really attract more pedestrians to go from street to podium level?  Or the reverse?

Balconies to be created from Podium to level 18

Although the size and height of the building will not change, the formation of balconies from podium to level 18 is still planned despite the development team stating at the September consultation briefing that the balcony works would not form part of this initial application.

Concerns about the creation of balconies and the consequent potential for noise, light pollution, overlooking etc – of most particular concern to those residents in Monkwell Square and Wallside – therefore appear to have been disregarded. Indeed it could be construed that their “creation” has been brought forward, presumably to make the building more attractive to potential buyers in 2025 when J P Morgans’s lease on the building expires.

Opening into Monkwell Square

Concerns also exist about the plans to create an opening from Podium level into Monkwell Square. As residents are aware, Monkwell Square is currently a fairly secluded residential space and these plans most definitely threaten that seclusion. There do not appear to be any commercial benefits of opening up the space and this therefore will just cause further damage to residential amenity.

Design & Access Statements provide detail

The Design & Access statements contain the details of what is being proposed. There are 5 parts on the website and links have been provided to Parts II and III as they provide some helpful information and illustrations.

Part I (not attached) provides a general introduction to the proposals, the history of building, the site etc and seeks to set out the objectives of the work with all of the usual box-ticking phrases to be found e.g “ The aim of the project is to deliver a reinvented and transformed building…..  The building has a difficult relationship with the ground plane, precluding any meaningful relationship to its surroundings… The proposal seeks to address this by opening up its ground floor and creating a visual connection between Wood Street North and Monkwell Square, thus integrating the inside and outside spaces. The podium …… will be re-invented to provide a meaningful destination that can be integrated with its context and curated to keep relevance. Terraces and balconies at upper levels will be introduced to provide access to fresh air and improve the user experience and at the same time animate and complement the original design of the existing facades. Lastly, the proposal seeks to rationalise the roofscape to create meaningful spaces, maximise views of London and celebrate the existing building. The project aims to follow strong sustainability principles starting with retention and transformation as opposed to demolition and rebuilding…”

Possibly the most useful page of Vol I is on page 24 where it talks of the Podium Pedestrian  Movement survey undertaken which provides the basis on which the revised pedestrian access and routes have been formulated.

Part II (attached here) states that “The proposal embraces the values of Post Modernism and the current emerging cultural and artistic movements surrounding New London Fabulous” n.b New London Fabulous is an architecture and design movement “characterised by bold and joyful use of colour, pattern and form” – hence primary colours abound throughout. The public space is to be bigger and can be used as a canvas for art, retail will be retained, and colourful lighting is planned to be introduced over the London Wall traffic junction…..all with the aim of adding “vibrancy and excitement to the spatial condition”.

Volume III (attached here) provides more pictorial representations of what is being proposed.

Volumes IV and V go through the Lighting proposals “Light will be focused in a manner which makes intended movement evident, and creates curiosity”

Issues arising from the application

There are many aspects of these proposals that can be questioned, albeit that some may be based on subjective choices and to individual tastes. For example, some may not like the proposed bright primary colours in the style of New London Fabulous but some may think they are indeed fabulous. On an objective basis, however, there should be genuine concerns over the proposed changes to the pedestrian access points, the creation of balconies and the timing of these works given the works already being undertaken in London Wall.

The BA will be submitting an objection letter and we would urge all residents to look at these proposals in detail and make their own representations if felt appropriate.

The Standard Consultation Expiry date is 20th March 2023. This appears to be an aggressive and far too short period of time given the scale of the proposed refurbishment – not least given the fact that the application was originally submitted on 14th December 2002 but was only validated on 9th February 2023.

Nevertheless, all representations made until the actual date of the committee meeting to appraise the application will be accepted.

Any representations can be made here.  

Podium Phase 2 Works – application now submitted

The planning applications for the Podium Phase 2 works have now been submitted. The relevant reference numbers are 22/01178/FULL and 22/01179/LBC (Listed Building Consent).

As you will undoubtedly be aware, the works are “for the installation of new waterproofing & drainage infrastructure. Works comprise the removal of existing tiled hard surfaces, membranes and soft landscaping, demolition of existing link building between Ben Jonson House and Frobisher Crescent, alterations to the existing entrance to Exhibition Hall including the construction of a new entrance portal, installation of a new waterproofing membrane across the site and the repair and replacement of drainage system and the reinstatement of a new tiled hard surface with a new soft landscaping layout……”

There is a huge amount of detail provided with the application which can be viewed on the Planning website on the links as shown above.

The Standard Consultation Expiry date for any comments/representations is shown as 10th February 2023. 

So is this finally the end of the yellow shed?

It certainly seems that it is and evidence of this is provided in many of the 100+ documents submitted with the application but the following two may be helpful in viewing the key elements of the plans – “Podium works link building demolition and plan” and the “Full public realm design illustrative master plan”.

This project has been subject to a long-standing consultation process and the proposals have been  displayed on the yellow shed between Frobisher Crescent and Ben Jonson House for some time. The Design & Access statements are always interesting, however, and Volume 1 and Volume 2 provide both some good historical context as well as the details of the necessity of the works.

So many blocked downpipes…..

It is probably worth pointing out that on Page 12 of Volume II in the section headed Downpipes, the following description can be found “The downpipes have been inspected by Flowfree. Of the 109 downpipes identified as starting at gully points within Phase 2 of the podium, 106 of them are partially or completely blocked. The pipes will need to be unblocked, repaired and/or replaced to allow the drainage system to function correctly”. This clearly explains why there is so much flooding on the Podium whenever it rains……but 106 of 109 sounds an excessively high proportion!  

For further information

Any further information can also be viewed here.

For any queries, please call 0800 772 0475 or email

150 Aldersgate Street – handover made for the construction phase

You may all be well aware from the recent updates from the project team that Erith will be handing over the site to Midgard on the 19th October for the construction phase of 150 Aldersgate Street. From this date Midgard will become the principal contractor and fully responsible for the site, including contact for residents and future updates.

A meeting with a number of residents has been held recently with the project team when Midgard ran through the scheduling of the project. The presentation that they gave can be viewed here.

A brief summary:

Construction phase schedule

This construction phase of the works is expected to last for c2 years, with a current projected completion date of September 2024. The schedule is broadly as follows:

October 2022 – Enabling works

October 2022 – January 2023 – Substructure

January 2023 – October 2023 – Superstructure

June 2023 -June 2024 – Façade

June 2023 – September 2023 – MEP installation (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing)

October 2023 – September 2024 – Internal fit out

April 2024 – September 2024 – External works

Site operating hours

The site operating hours will be:

Monday – Friday 08.00 – 18.00 hours

Saturday 09.00 – 14.00 hours

(the reduced impact hours are Monday – Friday 10.00 – 12.00 and 14.00 – 16.00 hours)

Light Disturbance/Noise and Dust

Time sensors will be in place to ensure that lighting is switched off

Downward facing positions chosen to minimise any light disturbance where feasible

Noise and dust nuisance to be closely monitored

A couple of points from the meeting – tower cranes will be erected to operate from the site which will mean the closure of Aldersgate Street for the weekend of 10th and 11th December 2022 and a “pit lane” for deliveries will be operational outside the site in Aldersgate Street for the duration of the works, meaning that part of the street will be down to one lane.

We were assured however that they would stress that no deliveries were to be made before the official time start of 8am.

Time will tell of course if this is adhered to.  

Barbican Centre – HVAC replacement works in Frobisher Crescent

Another planning application from the Conference Centre has also recently been submitted. This one is “to undertake HVAC replacement works to improve the functionality, presentation, sustainability of the Conference Spaces on level 4 of Frobisher Crescent”. The planning reference number is 22/00942/FULL and can be viewed here. The Design, Access and Heritage Statement gives full details of the proposals and can be viewed here.

In brief and by way of background, “A major income stream comes from renting events and conference spaces in the Barbican Centre. A suite of conference rooms are located on level 4 of Frobisher Crescent. The current spaces have inefficient and outdated heating systems, which have been altered over time and are now comprised of a combination of different systems and elements, wall mounted storage heaters, underfloor heating, ceiling mounted electric heaters. The conditions in the rooms are not comfortable and this is leading to a reduction in rental income. The existing system is inefficient, uncomfortable for users, and detracts from the visual appearance and quality of the spaces”.

What is being proposed? “The proposal is to improve and rationalise the HVAC system serving level 4 conference rooms, removing existing chilled water pipework and electric heater batteries, replacing this with direct expansion heating and cooling coils on the existing air handling units. To improve the interior presentation and condition of the spaces it is proposed to replace the various heating units with a new radiator installation to corridors and reception areas, with wall mounted units that will be consistent in design and finish throughout each space. The new air handling coil and radiator installation would be fed from new air source heat pump installations which would be located in existing plant rooms on level 5 above, immediately adjacent to the existing plant rooms that currently house air handing systems and ductwork installations that currently serve the spaces”.

In summary therefore: “The Barbican Centre wishes to undertake work to improve heating provision and energy efficiency in order to improve the conditions within the Frobisher Crescent Conference suite. These works are essential to provide an acceptable level of heating and comfort for building occupiers. Care has been taken to ensure the proposals involve minimal alteration and neutral impact on the special architectural interest and historic fabric of the building”.

If anyone wishes to comment on this application they can do so here.

Barbican Centre – formation of community room in library

The expected planning application for the formation of a “Community Room within Library, with new steel screens and doors and alterations to existing screens” has now been submitted. The planning reference number is 22/00895/LBC and can be viewed here.

The background to and aims of this proposal were posted on this website on 5th September. However, there are a couple of interesting visual and detailed documents that have been submitted with the application which are worthy of viewing.

The first is a document titled “Photographs for Proposed internal alterations to Barbican Library to form a Community Room” and the second is the “Design, Access and Heritage Statement” which gives some more of the background and the proposals.

Designs for the proposed community room are also on display in the Barbican Library and a public information session is to be held there on Tuesday 18th October between 1pm and 2pm and again on Tuesday 25th October between 7pm and 8pm.

Trial excavation holes on the Podium

Barbican Podium Phase 2 works

The Barbican Estate has applied for permission for the “Excavation of 43 temporary 500mm x 500mm trial hole investigations across the Barbican Podium, land above Beech Street”. The application reference number is 22/00825/LBC and the full details can be accessed here.

This is, clearly, all to do with the Barbican Podium Phase 2 (BPP2) works.

By way of reminder the BPP2 development “encompasses a series of waterproofing, demolition and public realm works to the upper podium of the Barbican Estate, specifically the section of the podium that is primarily located between Frobisher Crescent and Ben Jonson House, above Beech Street Tunnel….Phase 1 of this refurbishment was completed in 2015. The proposed BPP2 development comprises essential repair works to the existing podium structure of the Grade II listed Barbican to address significant water damage, resurfacing to remove and replace damaged and non-compliant tiles and the implementation of a new landscaping scheme that will increase the amount of greening to address biodiversity and climate action targets of the City of London (CoL). Extensive consultation has been undertaken with the CoL, heritage stakeholders and the public throughout the development of these proposals as part of an iterative design process….

Prior to the submission of applications for planning permission and listed building consent for the BPP2 works, it has been agreed with the CoL that a number of trial holes/pits will be excavated to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the structures immediately beneath the upper podium, including the waterproofing membranes. These investigations will inform the delivery of the wider landscaping works in due course, the warranties associated with such works and the maintenance regime of the space thereafter. As a result of the Grade II listed status of the Barbican Estate, Atkins Limited has prepared an application for Listed Building Consent to the City of London Corporation, in its capacity as the Local Planning Authority, for the excavation of 43x temporary trial holes to allow for the investigations detailed above”…….

For further information please read the Design, Access & Heritage Statement. The location plan for the trial holes can also be seen here.  

Anyone wishing to comment on this application can do so here.

The Standard Consultation Expiry date for comments on this application is 3rd October 2022

2 Aldermanbury – update

Update on progress to date

A meeting has been held recently with representatives from Keltbray, LendLease and Great Portland Estates. Key points from this meeting were:

 –   Demolition of the site began on 22nd August 2022. Each floor is being taken out in turn and the scaffolding removed as each is removed – this takes on average 2-3 weeks per floor. The aim is to finish the demolition by January/February 2023.

 – The Basinghall bridge is to be removed either on the weekend of 21st-24th October 2022 or the one following. Works will take place over the whole weekend with noisy works limited to 9am – 6pm. Keltbray said that they will aim to limit the concrete cutting process to the mornings but they could not guarantee this. The bridge will be removed in two stages, with the concrete to be cut in two once it is on the ground. No lorries are to be routed near either the Barbican Estate or Roman House.

Any noise complaints that weekend need to be logged with the Corporation of London Environmental Health as well as with Keltbray.

Re-use of materials – All of the steelwork is being used on this and other developments. The plants from the Highwalk have been re-planted with the Bankside Open Trust.

Regular monthly updates are published by Keltbray – the August update can be viewed here

1 Golden Lane – re-consultation underway

Re-consultation “due to revised design and landscaping proposals”

The application to refurbish and extend 1 Golden Lane has gone to re-consultation “due to revised design and landscaping proposals” (application reference 22/00202/FULMAJ; 22/00203/LBC; planning website link here)

 All those who objected to the original application will have received notice of this. It appears however that very few changes of significance have been made, particularly in relation to the proximity to the Barbican Estate and the impact on nearby residents of loss of daylight and sunlight, overshadowing and overlooking.

According to the accompanying documents, the key design and access-related amendments – in the applicant’s own words however – focus on:

Amendments to the massing of the building, reducing its total height and cutting back massing to the north. These amendments have a beneficial effect on daylight and sunlight impacts as addressed in the revised daylight & sunlight assessment and discussed below.

• Several façade amendments, responding to comments of City of London Design Officers.

• Removal of gates surrounding the bin presentation area in Cripplegate Street. As a result, this area will be provided as open public realm save for the limited periods in which it will temporarily hold bins immediately prior to and following collection.

• Introduction of movable planters adjacent to the Barbican servicing yard to the southwest of Cripplegate Street. This secures the opportunity to allow permeability into this space should its use change in the future.

• Retention of the Category C Turkish Hazel Tree to Cripplegate Street, and resultant amendments to the landscaping scheme including the location of planters, short stay cycle parking and seating in this area. As a result of the amendments, the total Gross Internal Area proposed has reduced by 103sqm

The Community Response Document in theory demonstrates that the developers have responded to the objections made to the first consultation – but which demonstrates that they have paid mere lip service to it, particularly in regard to the significant increase in height and mass which will create an unacceptable loss of light for residents.

A few observations

  • The revised application talks of amendments to the massing if the building but it appears that the height has only been reduced by a mere 0.9m (from 68.3m to 67.4m – the current height is 55.3m) and this is in the façade closest to The Denizen.
  • Concerns over loss of light and overshadowing have again been kicked into touch with, according to the daylight specialists, “compliance with BRE Guidelines in relation to daylight and sunlight enjoyed at all neighbouring residential developments save for isolated incidences of minor adverse VSC reductions which are considered acceptable in the context of overall impact” (these seem to relate principally to The Denizen) and that “the overshadowing impact of the Proposed Development is fully BRE compliant in relation to all surrounding open spaces”. The Revised Overshadowing Report (Pages 17-19 refer to Ben Jonson House and Breton House) provides more detail on this by residential block.
  • Regarding the refuse area, the applicant states “It is recognised that this arrangement is contrary to policy DM16.5 of the Local Plan and Policy VT2 of the draft City Plan 2036” but continues with the statement: “On balance, the approach is considered to be acceptable accounting for the following factors […]”. By whom is this deemed acceptable? Surely if this does not adhere to City policy and will inevitably cause additional noise then how can it be deemed acceptable?

All in all the proposals are little changed and do not address the principal objections made by Barbican and other nearby residents. Residents who feel similarly are therefore encouraged to object again to this application.  

The Standard Consultation Expiry date for comments on this application is 4th October 2022