STOP DEMOLITION CITY AND SAVE LONDON WALL WEST FROM THE WRECKING BALL

by Barbican Quarter Action

STOP DEMOLITION CITY AND SAVE LONDON WALL WEST FROM THE WRECKING BALL

by Barbican Quarter Action
Barbican Quarter Action
Case Owner
Barbican Quarter Action (BQA) is a group of local residents that receives no public funding. BQA exists to fight for responsible decision-making about the built environment in the City of London
25
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Barbican Quarter Action
Case Owner
Barbican Quarter Action (BQA) is a group of local residents that receives no public funding. BQA exists to fight for responsible decision-making about the built environment in the City of London
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: June 19, 2024

Help us reach the next milestone – we’re nearly there!

Thanks to your help, we’ve made excellent progress with our renewed fundraising drive. We’ve received over £13,000 in new pledges.

We need to keep going and reach our current target …

Read more

Barbican Quarter Action is calling on the City of London to stop the greedy demolition of Bastion House and the Museum of London – important heritage assets and part of the much-loved townscape of the Barbican. Please consider supporting our urgent crowd funder to persuade the City to do the right thing – STOP the carbon crimes. SAVE London's shared heritage. REIMAGINE for a sustainable future. 

There are two main reasons demolition would be a crime:

1. Carbon – demolition and rebuild will unleash tens of thousands of tonnes of CO2, even though industry experts have shown that these buildings are safe and suitable for reuse.

2. Heritage ­– demolition will destroy two internationally recognised icons of British post-war urban design, including important public realm.

YES, I WANT TO STOP THE SENSELESS WASTE!

Barbican Quarter Action (BQA) exists to fight for environmentally, ethically and socially responsible decision-making about the built environment in the City of London – decisions that will affect many lives and many generations to come. We are calling on the City to show leadership and vision in the face of climate change - not short-term greed.

This urgent public appeal seeks donations to help amplify the BQA’s case for creative retrofit and imaginative reuse of buildings designed by Powell & Moya – architects of the Festival of Britain Skylon. It will also help fund expert witnesses and legal advice to challenge the City of London Corporation, which is proceeding with its planning application for London Wall West in the face of national and local outcry.

The proposed scheme will result in the demolition of the former Museum of London, its distinctive dark brick rotunda echoing the Roman city walls, and the Miesian Bastion House ­­­­– destroying outstanding built culture and history and unleashing 1000's of tonnes of carbon to make way for yet more super-scaled private office blocks.

YES, I WANT TO HELP TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE CITY’S RECKLESS PROPOSAL!

Supporters of BQA include the Twentieth Century Society, cross-party politicians, prominent design historians and international architecture commentators. Unsurprisingly, the plans for London Wall West have already attracted widespread opposition – but the City isn't listening.

Recently the Corporation inexplicably rejected multiple reuse proposals – offers it itself described as ‘credible’ – in favour of the mindless demolition of two important icons of post-war British architecture.

Not only is this move alarmingly out of step with global thinking on sustainability and the lead of world-cities, but it also flies in the face of the City’s own commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in the Square Mile by 2040.

YES, I WANT TO HELP PERSUADE THE CITY TO SEE SENSE!

Update 4

Barbican Quarter Action

June 19, 2024

Help us reach the next milestone – we’re nearly there!

Thanks to your help, we’ve made excellent progress with our renewed fundraising drive. We’ve received over £13,000 in new pledges.

We need to keep going and reach our current target of £50,000 to cover the next steps in our campaign.

We were disappointed that the City’s application was not called in by the Secretary of State. Michael Gove. It probably wasn’t the best moment in the political cycle ! However, we believe we have a strong case and are preparing for Judicial Review (JR). Under JR, what will be under scrutiny is how the decision to approve the planning application was reached and, in particular, was it procedurally correct and in compliance with legislation and planning policy. The JR process has a series of stages:

1.The JR process will be triggered by the Decision Notice of the local authority once the issue of planning conditions has been settled. We expect the Decision Notice to be issued imminently.

2.BQA will write a letter to the City setting out a summary of its grounds of objection

3.We will then present a large case file to the Court requesting permission for JR.

4.If the Court grants permission, there will be a hearing after which the Court will make its decision

The funding that we are currently seeking will enable us to apply to the Court (steps 2 & 3 above). This is vital as it gets us to the point where a Court will look at the evidence. We cannot proceed without the funds to cover our legal costs.

Please consider giving us further support and sharing the campaign with your friends and colleagues.

What Else? We (and others) have been looking more and more closely at the City’s rationale for this development. The City has stated that it is obliged to pursue its over-sized development plan because of an obligation to maximise financial return. However it’s not obvious that big offices do offer the best financial or least risk return. Demolition is itself expensive, new development will be governed by new legislation, a long list of conditions on developers, and will likely take longer than retrofit. Time is money. Factoring in the millions that the City has already agreed to spend just to secure site access underlines that this development is neither sustainable nor good business. Why not take up the viable offers on the table? The absence of a proper business plan for the site and the failure of the City to properly scrutinise the proposals it received under the “soft market test” are becoming more and more concerning oversights.

In the background to the campaign, the City’s overall planning process has been rolling towards the point of adoption. The 2040 Plan is now out for consultation. The first bullet point in Office Policy 1 in the draft plan says “Office development should prioritise the retrofitting of existing buildings”. This policy puts the City in line with progressive thinking in the architectural community and underpins other elements in the policy, such as that new developments should “be of outstanding design and an exemplar of sustainability”. The City has a dual role in relation to London Wall West – it is both the property developer and the planning authority. This gives the City real scope to shape its future use along policy-coherent lines. Rather than take the opportunity, the City seems intent on selling on to an as-yet unknown developer a planning permission that will stand as a monument of contradiction to its own long-term planning policies.

Please help us hold the City to account

Update 3

Barbican Quarter Action

May 21, 2024

URGENT UPDATE BQA CAMPAIGN


PLEASE DONATE

Dear supporter,

On Friday 17th May, almost a month since the Committee hearing on LWW, Michael Gove lifted the Article 31 Holding Direction and gave the City of London the go-ahead to destroy Bastion House and the Old Museum of London and erect their two ill-conceived, carbon-hungry and oversized office towers. Speculative financial gain trumps our heritage and environment, yet again.

With its so-called plans for achieving net zero - as set out the day after they awarded themselves planning permission for LWW, it does feel like the City of London is betraying its residents, its workers, its heritage and its climate experts. The question persists: how are they getting away with the wanton and dangerous destruction they are embarked upon in the face of such compelling environmental and heritage evidence to the contrary?

WE URGENTLY NEED YOUR HELP

The fight, however, is by no means over. We would not have got this far without your fantastic support and we now need your help again to take further action to try to defeat this shameful application, and the precedent created if it is allowed to go ahead.

PLEASE DONATE

Together we have delayed the City’s plans for LWW by some two years but we’re now at the crunch point. We have compelled the City to look at retention and retrofit options, although they continue to refuse to factor the results into their plans. There is growing media interest in the campaign, critical commentary from experts and opposition to the scheme across all political parties. 

This is not the point to give up.

- please continue to donate to help us meet our £50,000 target to cover the costs necessary to fight this application now

- please share this crowd-funding request far and wide so we can drum up still more support. 

If everyone who this campaign reaches gave a minimum of £20 each, we would be well on our way. And obviously with any larger donations we would hit our target more quickly. Time is absolutely of the essence.

Our campaign is not just about LWW. It is about ensuring that climate change and the history and heritage of our buildings are afforded due weight when planning decisions are made both in the City and elsewhere. It is also about holding our local authorities to account for their planning policy choices.

BQA exists to fight for responsible decision-making around the built environment in the City of London - decisions that will affect many lives and many generations to come.

Thank you for your support so far and for any future donations you are able to make.

Update 2

Barbican Quarter Action

Jan. 28, 2024

Last Chance to Object

We are now less than a week from the end of the consultation period on the City’s planning application for London Wall West

If you haven’t registered an objection, please do so now

There are two options. You can go straight to the City of London’s page for application comments here. This is particularly good for short comments. 

On the same webpage, under the “public comments” tab, you can see what others have said

The second option is to email the City's Planning Department at [email protected]. If you use this route, don't forget to include

  • the planning application 23/01304/FULEIA
  • state that you are objecting and
  • give your name and address

If you are not sure what can or can’t be included in your objection, our handy guide is here

When you have submitted your comment you should receive a confirmation mail from the City to say it has been received.

At Barbican Quarter Action, we have been very busy reviewing the application and preparing our objection. This has been done with your support and that of the Barbican Association.

Please keep funding BQA and invite your friends to support us

We will have more to say when we have completed the review, but we felt that it would be useful to share some highlights

City Chair of Policy and Resources Chris Hayward has said that all options for the site remain on the table while at the same time pursuing an office-led development. The inconsistency of this approach has been laid bare in the application. Leading expert Simon Sturgis has commented referring to the part of the application dealing with sustainability:

There are fundamental flaws in the…. Assessment which narrowed down from 11 outline options to 6 options selected for detailed examination. These 6 options excluded ‘Option 2’, for a ‘Major Refurbishment’. This ‘Option 2’ is the option that is most consistent with the approach favoured by the commercial bids in the City’s market testing exercise.

(The options referenced are those assessed by the City before it drew up its proposals for London Wall West and in advance of any public consultation. The market testing exercise solicited proposals for re-use the existing buildings)

Looking at the heritage aspects of the proposal, Alec Forshaw commented on the flawed approach taken by the applicant and concluded

The proposals cause widespread harm to a large number of heritage assets, including the complete loss of two undesignated heritage assets*. Harm to designated heritage assets is less than substantial, but nevertheless of such degree that will considerably erode and harm their significance. This harm is not outweighed by heritage benefits elsewhere, nor do there appear to be other outstanding public benefits which would offset the great weight that must be given to heritage harm. Alternative solutions which could re-use and enhance the existing heritage assets, including their setting, should be explored

*Bastion House and the Museum of London Building

The fundamental question – why offices? We have yet to find a compelling business case for an office-led development that goes beyond the argument that offices are a good investment because they always have been. Our review suggests Insufficient thought has been given to the impact of the pandemic, the needs of emerging businesses in the City and the strategic role the site can play in transitioning the City to a more diverse, greener future.

As well as planning for the next stage after 31st January, we are seeking further clarification regarding how the City was able, without consultation, to pivot from planning for a world-leading centre for music on the site, to supporting the construction of two and a half massive uninspiring office blocks.

This campaign will not end on 31st January but we need your continuing support to take it to the next stage. Please share the campaign with your friends and colleagues and consider giving us  further support. Thank you for everything you have done so far.

Update 1

Barbican Quarter Action

Jan. 12, 2024

We did it!

Thank you! With your support, BQA has now reached its initial target of £5,000. As a result we have been able to recruit additional expert analysis of the City of London’s planning application for the LWW site. In advance of the consultation deadline of 31st January, we have commissioned

  • Alec Forshaw to review of the implications of the development from a heritage perspective
  • Simon Sturgis to review the sustainability aspects of the proposal
  • Specialist consultants Anstey Horne to look at the daylight and overshadowing aspects

In addition, we have used the expertise available within the team and the local community to review the impact of the construction plan and the overall design concept. The process by which the City arrived at this proposal is also important.  We are analysing how consultation with stakeholders has been managed. Finally, as the world adapts to the post-covid working world, we will be looking closely at the process by which the City decided that two oversized office buildings represented best use of this unique site.

BQA will be submitting a formal objection to the proposal. We encourage you to do the same. Every contribution counts (and you don’t need to read all the documents). The necessary information to make an objection is here.

The work will not stop on the 31st, so please continue to support us. We will be approaching the Secretary of State to request that he “call in” the proposal and continuing to review the possibility of seeking further legal scrutiny of the way in which the City has advanced this scheme. We’re optimistic, but this all costs money and we have set a new funding target of £50,000. Your further support will increase the pressure on the City of London to align itself with the worldwide movement to reduce carbon emissions and preserve and enhance this unique townscape.

Many thanks again for your continued support, and please pass this message onto friends and neighbours as we need all the support we can gather to defeat this deeply flawed development.

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