City makes only minor changes to London Wall West scheme

Community Matters reports that the City Corporation is making some changes to the controversial London Wall West scheme for 780,000 sq ft of offices. Earlier posts here.

“The City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee has voted to reduce the size of proposals to redevelop Bastion House and the existing Museum of London site, in response to feedback from extensive public consultation.

“The width of the building proposed to replace the Museum of London will be reduced by three metres, while the building proposed to replace Bastion House will be reduced by two metres.

“The scheme’s design team will now amend the design and prepare a 3D model so a final proposal for London Wall West can be presented next year, ahead of submitting a planning application”.

The Barbican Quarter Action campaign, opposing the scheme, immediately responded with a challenge to the City’s claim that buildings cannot be renovated. The City says:

“The Museum of London is planning to relocate from its London Wall site to Smithfield, while Bastion House would face significant structural challenges to accommodate the major works needed to upgrade it to meet the standards expected for a modern office block”.

The campaign refers to the expert study it commissioned, and maintains that the buildings are in good condition and could be retrofitted to modern standards.

“The whole thinking behind London Wall West is predicated on the argument that Bastion House is dangerous and at risk of collapse, and that any new scheme must therefore include its demolition. But a new analysis by a structural expert proves that this is not true. The City’s description of the existing structure is factually incorrect and therefore their carbon assessment is misleading”.

The City’s main case for the office development is that it will generate funds needed for the move of the Museum and other cultural developments. There are some cultural facilities in the new scheme.

The site was originally going to be used for a new Centre for Music and Barbican Quarter Action has argued that cultural uses should be considered in both renovated buildings, or a new scheme. That was rejected by Policy chair Chris Hayward at a meeting of the City’s Court of Common Council in July in the face of questioning from members.

Adam Hogg, co-chair of the BQA commented “The Corporation says it has listened to feedback from residents and wants to reset the relationship with communities but they are turning a tin ear to our independently validated objections. We reject the claim that this represents true consultation or listening. The Corporation is clearly under pressure from our widely supported campaign and is burying its head in the sand. Rather than changing plans piecemeal, the Corporation should start again, taking seriously its commitment to net zero and properly involving the community.”

The campaign’s press release added:

“BQA believes this is a classic case of “change something small and irrelevant and hope objectors go away”. But the minor revisions to the plans do not address the real issues of commitment to responsible stewardship and sustainable development.”

Update November 4 2022

Chris Hayward, the chair of the City’s Policy and Resources Committee, wrote to residents about the proposed changes to the schemes. London Quarter Action have responded with their own open lettersaying that “The barely perceptible reduction in girth does nothing to reduce the actual impact of the scheme and nor will it address real concerns raised in consultation”.

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