Planning update – 18th May 2022

Amazon Last Mile Logistics Hub in London Wall Car Park

Application undergoing another reconsultation…..

The application for this was submitted back in May 2021 (ref: 21/00419/FULL) and the outcome still has to be decided. We were recently informed however that the application had gone to another re-consultation…..albeit that there was some confusion as to the reason for the re-consultation given that two letters were sent out on the subject. The first, dated 4th May, stated that the application was marked for re-consultation “due to the receipt of additional information and amendments to the application including re-grading works to the existing layby”.  The second letter, dated 11th May, stated that it was “due to amendments to the transport statement”. The email continues “Any observations must be received within a period of 21 days beginning with the date of this letter (ie by 1st June). We are assuming that the latter letter is the important one.

Having gone through the documents however there do not seem to be many meaningful changes or amendments to the application made in the revised transport statement other than to highlight a couple of seemingly cosy side deals between the applicant and the City of London with regard to the removal of kerbs and the agreement that the Museum of London’s delivery area is to be used as a waiting area in the event that the chosen lay-by/unloading area is already in use.

The revised transport statement can be viewed here

A few issues have been clarified however…..

A request for further information from the City of London planning department did, however,  answer a few of the outstanding questions. For example, we now know that the hub is planned to be operated 7 days a week, albeit with no overnight servicing, and with deliveries at the weekends restricted to the hours 8am – 3pm. The early consultation meetings with residents in 2021 had suggested that weekend deliveries may not be required. The prospect of noisy deliveries and unloading/reloading etc from 8am every day including weekends is surely not an attractive one for nearby residents.  

It was also confirmed that there is no scheduled timetable for the use of electric vehicles which was one of the main planks of the initial presentation to residents. Amazon will instead be using 7.5T and 16T diesel lorries for deliveries which will be exiting via the Thomas More ramp for the foreseeable future – again, not an attractive proposition for residents given the significant increase in noise, pollution and public safety that these will cause.

We note that the applicant has continued to ask for a permanent application rather than a temporary one – surprising, given that the current proposals to develop the London Wall West site include the closure of the Museum of London in December 2022 and the possible demolition of Bastion House.  The closure of the Museum will inevitably give rise to a significant increase in the number of vehicles using the Museum’s service road given the need to pack and remove the millions of items to a new home. If the Museum’s delivery area is in regular use and the Bastion House loading bay is occupied, then where will the Amazon lorries go?   

Special sub-committee to determine this application….or is it?

A special sub-committee is to be formed to determine this application.  As the Chair of the BA Planning Sub-committee succinctly expressed it: “The planning committee is prevented from hearing the application because it also manages the car park – so they propose to form a subcommittee (composed of all the people on the planning committee) that meets immediately after the planning committee meet to determine the planning application that the planning committee can’t determine”.  

No comment necessary!

Please join us in objecting to this application

There are a number of excellent objection letters already on the City of London Planning website which merit viewing. Indeed, one from a resident of Monkwell Square contains a number of pertinent photographs which clearly refute many of the statements put forward by the applicant in this proposal. These letters can be viewed here

There is also an interesting thread on barbicantalk

The BA will be submitting another objection to this re-consultation and will be reiterating our objections which centre on loss of residential amenity, noise, increased traffic flows, inappropriate location abutting a Grade II and Grade II* listed residential estate and gardens and concerns over public safety.

We would urge as many residents as possible to do similarly.

Anyone who also wishes to make representations about this application should do so by 1st June 2022 either on-line or by email to PLNComments@cityoflondon.gov.uk.

Other planning and licensing news

1 Golden Lane

Please continue to submit your objections to this proposal – and, if possible, to post your comments/objections against both of the applications relating to this scheme. There have been 164 objections submitted so far against the 22/00202/FULMAJ application but only 61 against the 20/00203/LBC (Listed Building Consent) application.

An interesting thread can also be viewed on this application on barbicantalk

By way of reminder the links to submit comments against both applications are:

22/00202/FULMAJ

22/00203/LBC

GoPuff licensing application

As previously advised, a licensing application has been made for the ground floor premises in London House on Aldersgate Street which the applicant wants to turn into a “warehouse” for the delivery of instant groceries and drinks by bicycle. The application is for a 24 hour/7 days a week operation.

The BA submitted an objection on the grounds of public nuisance and safety and it is our understanding that a number of other objections have also been lodged. The application was to be decided at a Public Hearing this afternoon, Wednesday 18th May.

It is hoped that the outcome is a satisfactory one and that the City of London adheres to its stated Licensing policies and refuses this application on the grounds of public nuisance and danger to public safety and suggests that the applicant seeks a more suitable location for its proposed operations.

We will advise of the outcome when it has been announced.  

Proposed rooftop condensing units on Aldersgate House

An application from Aldersgate House 135-137 Aldersgate Street for a “proposed roof extension to conceal 9 new condensers” was submitted in January 2022 (reference number 21/01125/FULL). This gave rise to obvious concerns about the potential for increased noise, especially for residents at the Western end of the Estate.  

The applicant has recently submitted a revised Environmental Noise Impact Assessment report. This concludes that “environmental noise…should comply fully with relevant national and local planning policy, in particular the City of London Planning Policy guidelines relating to environmental noise emissions from mechanical plant. This is provided that the proposed condensing units are fitted with discharge attenuators (ducted to the roof), that the proposed rooftop plant enclosure incorporates sound absorptive wall linings, that the roof intake air openings are acoustically baffled, and that the subject plant are time-switch controlled to prevent operation outside the proposed operating period of 7.00 – 21.00 hours (Mondays to Saturdays), all as specified herein”. 

This is in contrast to the previous report dated December 2021which concluded (as per the part in bold above) that “This is provided that the proposed condensing units are fitted with discharge attenuators of the specified performance (ducted to the roof via flexible connections) and that the proposed rooftop plant enclosure incorporates sound absorptive wall linings of the specified performance, and with intake air openings in the roof, all as described herein”.

The report indicates (as they always do) that the proposed plant emission noise levels to the nearby Barbican blocks are within statutory guidelines. However, we can conclude that the planners were not satisfied with the sound proofing proposals as originally proposed and hence the revised report indicates not only a strengthening of the acoustic screening but also the implementation of time restrictions ie. 7.00 – 21.00 hours Mondays to Saturdays.

This seems to be good news for a change although only time will tell of course.

Renewal of the Barbican Centre – winner announced

It is probable that many residents have already seen this but, if not, it has been announced that a collaborative design team led by architects Allies and Morrison and Asif Khan Studio has been selected to deliver a “multi million pound” renewal of the Barbican Centre. 

The team has considerable experience in major heritage and cultural projects, and have delivered projects for organisations including Tate Britain, the V&A, Royal Festival Hall, Shakespeare’s Globe, Oakland Museum of California, and more.

The team has considerable experience in major heritage and cultural projects, and have delivered projects for organisations including Tate Britain, the V&A, Royal Festival Hall, Shakespeare’s Globe, Oakland Museum of California, and more.

The team has considerable experience in major heritage and cultural projects, and have delivered projects for organisations including Tate Britain, the V&A, Royal Festival Hall, Shakespeare’s Globe, Oakland Museum of California, and more.

The full press release can be read here

New Chair of Planning & Transportation Committee announced

It has been announced that Shravan Joshi has been elected as Chair of the new Planning and Transportation Committee. He will now “lead on all planning issues affecting the Square Mile including leading the discussion and debate on planning permissions for new developments in the City……In his new role, he is committed to ensuring the Square Mile remains a world-leading and sustainable place in which to do business, particularly as the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic continues to gather pace.

The City Corporation’s ambitious Climate Action Strategy will also take centre stage throughout his term with increasing global interest in the complex debate over new development versus retrofitting existing buildings.

He will also be responsible for the reshaping of the City Corporation’s City Plan 2040, which “is currently being reconsidered to take into account the changing ways in which we use space”.

The full press release can be read here

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