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.
Along with the Golden Lane Residents’ Association we sent an open letter to the Corporation requesting such a discussion.
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?
Chair, Barbican Association