Etude, the City’s consultants, have been working with Barbican residents, the BA, and the RCC to produce an action plan which outlines a starting point from which to make detailed retrofit plans for each of the City’s housing estates, including the Barbican.
Etude will be running an online workshop for Barbican residents on Monday 5th July, 6.30-8pm via Zoom.
The workshop will give Barbican residents an opportunity to see the outcomes of the City and Etude’s net-zero housing retrofit action plan for the Corporation’s housing assets as a whole, and on the Barbican Estate in particular. This could be the first step to greener and more comfortable homes for Barbican residents.
This is an exciting time and we urge you to attend this important workshop that you can register for here.
Future Development of Bastion House and the Museum of London.
We need your support.
I am sure that you are aware that a new larger Museum of London is being built in West Smithfield and that it had been intended to use its present site for the Centre for Music a new home for the LSO promoted by Sir Simon Rattle. This plan was recently scrapped and the Corporation will be seeking planning permission to demolish the current building to enable redevelopment of the site, now known as London Wall West.
The Barbican Association is concerned that there should be a real debate as to how the site might best meet the needs of the City of London now and well into the future.
I think the City is listening. We have received the following from them.
“We want to understand what the Barbican Association and Barbican residents, as key stakeholders, would like to see on the site. Our aim is to be genuinely inclusive and collaborative in our consultation, and to create a set of proposals for London Wall West that benefit both the local and wider community.
Starting this month and working with the Contemporary Art Society Consultancy (CASC), we will explore ideas for placemaking with local residents, key community and cultural organisations, local residents and business groups. Taking account of the site’s history and heritage as well as its location at the heart of Culture Mile, CASC will seek ideas on opportunities for cultural, commercial and public uses on London Wall West.
Peppermint Research, a market research company, will then consult residents, workers, visitors and other groups on additional potential uses on this site, including environmental initiatives, education, public spaces for relaxing and play, offices and retail.
The feedback from this early engagement will inform the development of the designs for London Wall West. Later in the year we’ll consult both the local and wider community about these emerging designs to gain further feedback, before a final round of consultation on detailed designs in the new year. We intend to submit a planning application in 2022.”
The site, adjacent to two conservation areas, Smithfield and Barbican Golden Lane, deserves respect and imagination. We are submitting a postscript to our Open Letter which, we hope will draw attention to its importance and the opportunity to produce another development worth conserving as follows.
“In the past the Corporation of London has made inspired decisions in reaction to catastrophe.
In 1688 Christopher Wren was appointed to rebuild the City following the Fire of London. In the early 1950’s Chamberlain Powell and Bon were commissioned to design the Barbican estate following the area’s destruction in the Blitz.
Today the City has a similar opportunity to set its stamp on the 21st Century.
Brexit, Coronavirus, Climate Change and the Digital Revolution arriving at the same time will have a profound effect on the way of life in the City of London. Rather than carrying on as before the Corporation should pause and take stock.
The north west corner of the city which includes the Smithfield and the Barbican and Golden Lane Conservation Areas presents such an opportunity following the decisions to move the Market, build a new Museum of London, set up the Culture Mile and to scrap the plans for a Centre for Music.
The future of this area, rich in history, with a mix of housing, education, health, culture and hospitality as well as small scale commercial developments will benefit from enlightened thought.
Given the international significance of these conservation areas, the City needs to bring together all the different interest groups in an inclusive, forward-looking process to create a proper Blueprint; rather than simply looking at the opportunities offered by the London Wall West site following the vacation of the Museum and Bastion House.
Our ancestors left legacies of which we can be proud. We have an opportunity to leave another monument for future generations please don’t miss it.”
We hope you can support the need for a proper debate on the future of the site as expressed in our Open letter.
We want to know what you think. We are asking House Groups to consult. You can express your views through them or leave a message below in the comments and we will make sure that these are noted in the consultation process ahead.
And when invited please contribute to the City’s consultation.
The strong campaign on the Girls School bore fruit. Can we do it again?
Wood Street Bar & Restaurant – submits revised application for pavement licence
Wood Street Bar & Restaurant has submitted a revised application for a pavement licence. It is clear that the application has been modified significantly from the previous one, which was withdrawn, in that it is applying for the establishment of 5 tables of 4 chairs and 1 table of 2 chairs (total 22 chairs) vs the previous application proposing 10 tables of 6 chairs (total 60 chairs).
As for the proposed times, the establishment is applying for their use between the hours of 11.30am – 19.30pm Monday to Friday (the previous application also asked for Sundays 11.30am – 17.30pm). The accompanying note says that tables will be set up between 11.00-11.30am. Guests will be able to use the tables between the hours of 12.00pm to 19.00pm if they purchase a “substantial” meal ie. one costing over £7. No groups are to be allowed to stand near the tables. The planned modus operandi can be viewed here.
This revised supplication has come about following consultation between the landlord of the Wood Street Bar & Restaurant and nearby residents. The landlord accepted that the previous unacceptable application had been made without sufficient prior forethought and, after listening to the concerns of nearby residents, significantly modified his plans.
The current application has taken notice of residents’ requests to ameliorate the potential noise and smoke nuisance. In particular the landlord has agreed to the following: 1) not to apply for a weekend licence 2) to reduce the number of outside seating spaces from 60 to 22 3) to bring tables in by 7.30 on weekday evenings 4) to only use these tables for guests willing to purchase food to discourage ‘drinking parties’ 5) to use parasols to soften rising noise in appropriate weather conditions 6) not to allow drinkers to wander around outside and 7) to take hourly noise readings to inform the management of potential neighbour nuisance.
On this significantly revised basis, the application has not been opposed and the landlord was thanked for his time and co-operation. Thanks too to the residents who achieved this seemingly satisfactory compromise and let us hope that the landlord will stick to his agreement and will monitor the situation as closely as he has promised to. Let us hope too that the granting of a pavement licence helps the Bar to get back on its feet after such a dreadful time for the hospitality industry.
The last meeting of the Planning & Transportation Committee was held on Tuesday, 8th June 2021. As we have previously indicated, this was a very important meeting as the key item for discussion was Item 4 on the agenda headed Governance Review: Planning Panel Arrangements
This agenda item was significant in that the outcome could have a profound impact on the way planning decisions are made in the City of London. In essence the City was looking at introducing four smaller planning panels rather than the full committee for the future consideration of planning applications. This would be on a geographic basis and would have the effect of splitting the Barbican Estate into two zones
Again, as previously advised, the potential introduction of such panels would reduce the number of committee members who would be able to participate in a planning decision which, in our view, was likely to reduce democratic accountability further. The proposal had already been decisively rejected in principle by the 1270 signatories of the recent petition on the matter, many of whom are City residents.
Ahead of this meeting it was clear that the Policy & Resources Committee had already voted in favour of introducing a new panel system. The debate at the Planning & Transportation meeting was long, with strong expressions of support voiced for both the maintenance of the status quo (ie. the full Planning Committee to consider planning applications) and the move towards the establishment of panels. The meeting can be viewed here
A large part of the debate focused on how membership of planning panels would be determined if indeed such a move were to be accepted. Much concern was voiced about the suggestion that planning applications could be determined on a fixed geographical basis. Some members thought that this could both further exacerbate the concerns expressed in the petition regarding democratic accountability and also possibly lead to a divergence in policy determination.
Finally, a vote on the motion to introduce panels was called. 14 voted in favour, 10 voted against and 1 member abstained. A vote was then taken on the introduction of panels to be constructed on a geographical basis. 20 members voted against and 5 members abstained.
The principle of panels was therefore agreed but the basis and detail on which such panels were to be constructed are still to be determined. The results of this vote are to be reported back to the Policy & Resources Committee to be discussed further at its meeting on 8th July 2021 and then go to the Court of Common Council on 22nd July 2021. The next Planning & Transportation Committee meeting is to be held at 10.30am on Tuesday 29th June.
Replacement of Behaviour Signage across the Barbican Estate – decision expected shortly
A decision is expected shortly from the City of London with regard to the recent application for Listed Building Consent to replace/install behaviour signage across the Barbican Estate. For those who may not have seen or been aware of this, the reference number of the planning application is 21/00325/LBC and this link depicts the new signage that has been proposed.
In terms of size, the signs are to be 600mm wide, 300mm high and 19mm deep to be placed at 30 strategic locations around the Estate, chosen so as to be “visible from entrances on to the Highwalks”. As part of the application, a map of and the projected locations for the signage is provided which can be viewed here.
If you have any problems with the above links, please visit the page for the planning application and select the first item listed (‘Sign Specification’) to view the new signage, and the fourth item listed (‘Behaviour signs: proposed locations’) to view images of the proposed locations for the signage.
City Corporation recently held a workshop to present its net zero carbon action plan with specific reference to the Barbican. Less than 20 residents attended. This is a copy of the presentation, which includes the result of the recent survey to which 40 residents responded.
This committee meeting took place on Monday 14 June at 6.30pm and a recording is available to watch online to gain a better insight into the current and upcoming issues that affect the Barbican residential estate.
Another application has been received from 1 London Wall for the “installation of external structures including 1x pergola and fixed furniture, and external lighting to the tenth floor terrace”. This replaces the application made late last year (ref: 20/00966/FULL) which was withdrawn on 28th April 2021. The covering letter accompanying the application provides some detailed background and purports to address the concerns raised by the 28 objection letters received when the previous application was submitted.
The letter, understandably, focuses on the benefits of the application ie. enhancing the quality of the existing office accommodation, forming a more usable and attractive outdoor space for the office, supporting social distancing policy, allowing for more flexible working practices etc etc ……………..
No mention of private functions and events…
The previous application talked of “the external terrace will be used primarily by members of staff for temporary work space, breakout space, private functions and events”. This most recent application makes no mention whatsoever of private functions and events and infers the terrace “is solely for the use of the office”
No external bar shown on revised plans…….
Comparing the two sets of terrace plans, it appears that the revised application does NOT include the installation of an outside terrace bar under the pergola. surprisingly, the application does not highlight this as the installation of a fixed external bar was one of the key issues of concern.
The standard consultation expiry date for this application is 17th June 2021 and any comments can be submitted to the City of London’s Planning Department here
Next Planning & Transportation Committee meeting – 10.30am Tuesday 8th June 2021
The next meeting of the Planning & Transportation Committee is to be held at 10.30am on Tuesday, 8th June 2021. The key item for discussion on the agenda is Item 4, headed Governance Review: Planning Panel Arrangements
This is a very important item as the outcome could have a profound impact on the way planning decisions are made in the City of London. In essence the City is looking at introducing four smaller planning panels rather than the full committee for the future consideration of planning applications. This would be on a geographic basis and would have the effect of splitting the Barbican Estate into two zones
The potential introduction of such panels would reduce the number of committee members who participate in a planning decision which, in our view, is likely to reduce democratic accountability further.
Whilst it is clear that the Policy & Resources Committee is already in favour of introducing a new panel system, the proposal has been decisively rejected in principle by the 1270 signatories of the recent petition, including 14 City councillors.
Following the debate at this Planning & Transportation Committee meeting, the topic will then be discussed further at the Policy & Resources Committee of 8th July 2021 and then go to the Court of Common Council on 22nd July 2021.
Recent press article re the City of London’s planning process
An article written by Mark Bostock, a resident councillor for the Cripplegate Ward, has recently been published in Architects Journal. The article is titled “The City of London’s Planning Process is rigged in favour of developers” and commences with the comment “Applicants have a huge advantage over residents and heritage concerns when proposing Square Mile office towers that nobody needs, argues Mark Bostock”.
He continues ” I, and others, have considerable concerns that the planning process of the City of London Corporation lacks democratic accountability and transparency. The Corporation’s leadership is currently backing a proposal that would make this process even less accountable. I, therefore, am one of the sponsors of a petition to stop this proposal and introduce reforms. The petition has attracted strong support from the City’s small residential population and also from people concerned with the preservation of our heritage, which is being quietly demolished or degraded by a series of poor planning decisions”.