The second phase of the podium waterproofing, tile replacement and landscaping project will cover the area from Bryer Court to the steps down to Speed House. It is a non-service chargeable, multi-million pound project that includes the removal of the ‘yellow link building’ on Ben Jonson Highwalk. The team is currently preparing a planning application, an application for Listed Building Consent, and undertaking extensive surveys and site investigations. Initial meetings with residents’ representatives have taken place.
After the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, the government established a programme to ensure the fire safety of residents in high-rise buildings. As part of this programme, the External Wall Fire Review process confirms that the external wall system (typically insulation, filler materials and cladding) of residential buildings has been assessed for safety by a suitable expert. Lenders may refuse a mortgage application where an EWS1 Form cannot be produced. EWS1 forms have been completed for Andrewes, Breton, Defoe and Gilbert Houses, and forms for all City of London buildings including the Barbican are expected to be completed this year.
One of the key findings of the Barbican Residential Estate’s (BRE) last fire risk assessment was the need to need to update our fire safety signage. When new signage was introduced, concerns raised by residents led to the programme being suspended. Subsequently, rePurpose Architects were appointed to produce a bespoke Fire Strategy for the BRE. This is nearing completion and, once finalised, will be submitted to the London Fire Brigade for review and approval. It will also be shared and discussed with residents prior to implementation.
The next step is a full survey of the Estate to establish the exact number of doors in scope. Replacing the doors will be a complex project and, due to the Estate’s Listed Building status the design of replacement doors will be subject to consultation with residents. This project is a Landlord’s expense and is estimated to take two to three years.
By now you should have received the latest Barbican Association Newsletter (also available to read here), in which Adam Hogg, Chair of the BA, discusses the future of the Museum of London and Bastion House.
If you live on the Barbican estate, the BA would be interested to know whether you think there should be a campaign to challenge the City Corporation’s planned demolition of these buildings.
BA response to Barbican and Golden Lane Estate Conservation Area Consultation
As previously advised, the City of London Corporation has been conducting a consultation on the Barbican and Golden Lane Conservation Area Character Summary and Management Strategy. This document describes the special character and appearance of the Conservation Area and sets out how it is applied in the Planning Process. Residents were invited to comment on the document which can be viewed here. The closing date for comments is today, Friday 30 July 2021.
The Barbican Association has prepared and submitted a formal response which can be viewed here
In its response the BA refers to a copy of the consultation document which has been marked up with a detailed series of additions and comments by Mr Fred Rodgers. Fred Rodgers is a member of the Barbican Association (BA) Planning Sub-Committee although his response, which can be viewed here, has been submitted in his personal capacity. He has subsequently made some minor amendments which can be seen here.
The new Barbican Prohibition Signs finally received planning consent on the 6th July and have been ordered. There are enamel, colourful measuring 300mm x 600mm approx. 1 foot high x 2 feet in width and scheduled to arrive by the end of August.
The new signs will be sited in approved locations in the main ‘problem areas’ of the estate where skateboarding, parkour, cycling and other forms of anti-social incidents have occurred most frequently. Wherever possible they will be sited nearby to the existing byelaw signs.
They will be erected in the agreed locations across the estate in early September.
The Barbican Association is supporting the following petition:
The City of London should, as soon as legally possible, engage with local residents, through the Barbican Association (BA), to promote the evaluation of a more extensive and better designed ZEZ around the Barbican.
Why is this important?
The BA, representing Barbican residents, is committed to the improved air quality, reduced traffic noise, and improved safety for pedestrians and cyclists, that a ZEZ will bring to the area. (see the BA’s submission to the City’s Streets and Walkway’s Sub-committee). The failure of the City of London to engage with residents has meant that the existing experiment was badly designed and implemented and has failed in its objectives of evaluating the impact of a zero-emission scheme around the Barbican.
In addition, the unlawful actions of the City (see the Judgement of the High Court) means that most of the infrastructure associated with the scheme will be dismantled with no clear date for its reinstallation.
Behaviour signage installation granted approval
It is good to report that approval was granted (finally!) on 6th July 2021 for the replacement of behaviour signage across the Barbican Estate. As previously advised, the signs are 600mm wide and 300mm high and are to be placed at 30 strategic locations around the Estate, chosen so as to be visible from entrances on to the Highwalks. We hope that their installation will take place soon and will help to deter cycling, skateboarding and other anti-social behaviours around the Estate.
1 London Wall terrace application re-appears
It was disappointing to see the re-emergence of the application to install a pergola, furniture and lighting on the 10th floor terrace at 1 London Wall given the very clear potential for noise disturbance for neighbouring properties. A number of objections have been lodged but, at the time of writing, no formal decision has yet been taken by the City’s Planning Dept. Full details of the application (ref: 21/00374/FULL) can be viewed here
City Place House – application approved
Onwards, and forever upwards…..and outwards. At its most recent meeting, the City’s Planning & Licensing Committee approved the application to demolish City Place House (55 Basinghall Street) and replace it with a building over 80% larger and able to accommodate a more than doubling of worker numbers. This is despite having received a plethora of objections on the grounds of its inappropriate height and mass, the inevitable impact of residential amenity – in particular regarding loss of light – and environmental concerns regarding its demolition rather than refurbishment given the growing awareness of pollution from embodied carbon. Calls for a marginal scaling back of the size and for the height of the proposed development to be maintained at its present level fell on the usual deaf ears.
Hence another massive new structure is to join the City of London’s approved planning list and the consequent mushrooming skyline. The City of London issued a self-congratulatory press release straight after the meeting was completed which can be read here
As a general comment, it is perhaps rather ironic that the City of London has agreed to yet another building being demolished given its apparent strong stance on reducing carbon emissions. Indeed, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has recently been reported as saying that buildings should be refurbished rather than demolished given the amount of carbon emitted by creating the steel, cement and bricks for the construction of a new building. This is known as embodied carbon.
This is backed up by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) which has estimated that 35% of the lifecycle carbon from a typical office development is emitted before the building is even opened. This suggests that it will be decades before some new buildings pay back their carbon debt by saving more emissions than they created – and yet these are decades when carbon emissions have to be sharply reduced. Given the significant number of approvals granted by the City of London planners in recent times for the demolition of existing buildings and their replacement by massive new developments (just look at the Eastern cluster) the word irony possibly doesn’t even come close….
Wood Street Bar & Restaurant pavement licence
On the Licensing front, applications for the granting or extension of pavement licences have, for obvious reasons, been plentiful. In response to numerous objections, the Wood Street Bar & Restaurant withdrew its original application for 60 outside table places and, following consultations with nearby residents, re-submitted a modified application for 22 outside table places for guests purchasing food for use between the hours of 11.30am – 19.30pm Monday to Friday only and not at weekends. This was accepted. Let us hope that the granting of this pavement licence helps the Bar get back on its feet after such a difficult time for the hospitality industry.
5G roll out gathering pace
As everyone will surely be aware, the roll out of 5G is gathering pace across the country and the City has not been immune from this, with a spate of applications submitted to install or upgrade the necessary equipment on roofs across the Square Mile. Two current applications submitted in the vicinity of the Barbican are from 1 London Wall Place (ref: 21/00351/DPAR – click here to view the details) and 45 Beech Street (ref: 21/00561/DPAR – click here to view the details). The installation at 1 London Wall Place would be a new site whilst the application for 45 Beech Street is an upgrade of the existing telecomms equipment already in place but which would necessitate raising ‘the height of the antennas on the south facing elevation.. by just 0.5m…’ Concerns over such installations exist given the proximity to residential premises but these concerns will inevitably be weighed against the economic and social benefits of the 5G rollout. Residents can view and comment on these applications by clicking on the links shown above
The Barbican Estate Security Committee are pleased to have been able to launch the Anti-Social Behaviour Reporter last month and we are also encouraged to see that a number of residents from various houses across the estate have already started to use this bespoke website to record asb incidents.
Between 19th and 30th June a total of 44 asb incidents were reported. Totals by house and their % of the total were as follows:
|Ben Jonson||18 (40.9%)|
|Bunyan Court||4 (9.1%)|
|The Postern||3 (6.8%)|
|John Trundle Court||2 (4.5%)|
In terms of the number of incidents and type of asb activity reported, the results were as follows:
|Rowdy Behaviour||8 (18.2%)|
|Loud Music/ 1 noisy moped||7 (15.9%)|
|Roller Skating||1 (2.3%)|
|Intimidating Behaviour||1 (2.3%)|