Planning & Licensing update 12th July 2021

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

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