City Should Use The Museum of London Site To Build Social Housing

It was no surprise that the target dodging City of London council was recently named as one of a handful of local authorities abysmally failing the government’s housing delivery test. That said, nothing seems to shame the City of London Corporation with its endless neo-liberal propaganda and well-funded lie machine. Nonetheless rather than planning to build an unneeded Centre for Music on the soon to be vacated Museum of London site at the south western edge of The Barbican Estate, this local authority really OUGHT to use this space for the construction of council flats. Returning to the government housing test, here’s how Inside Housing reported yet another abject failure by the City of London council:

Councils deemed by the government to be failing on housing delivery have promised to step up development in their areas.

Two weeks ago the government published its first ever housing delivery test – which assesses how many homes have been built by every local authority over the past three years as a percentage of the number required.

More than 100 town halls fell short of the 95% pass rate, while those with the biggest delivery gaps could face having some planning powers removed next year unless they step up supply.

Seven councils are currently missing the 45% threshold which would trigger that scenario, including two London boroughs and the City of London Corporation…

If councils are achieving less than 45% of their housing requirement, they will become subject to “presumption in favour of sustainable development” when the next test is published in November.

This planning concept set out in the National Planning Policy Framework means they would be expected to approve all developments unless they are on nationally protected sites or would have a serious adverse impact on their surroundings…

A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation, which scored 42%, said its new city plan would set out how it will meet higher house building targets.

Councils pledge development boost after housing delivery test failures by Nathaniel Barker, Inside Housing, 4 March 2019: https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/news/councils-pledge-development-boost-after-housing-delivery-test-failures-60343

The City of London Corporation’s former leader Mark Boleat caused controversy when he called for councillors throughout the UK to be locked out of local planning decisions. He did this in his role as a City of London Corporation funded property development lobbyist at the Housing & Finance Institute. Ironic then that the obscenely undemocratic council to which Boleat is still “elected” (on business votes) is now at risk of finding itself locked out of making local planning decisions. Reclaim EC1 would be interested to know the views of Chris Hayward and Alastair Moss on this matter…. like Boleat both these prominent members of the planning committee have undemocratic business votes to thank for their “election” to the City of London council.

Notes.

Notes by the Barbican Association chair from a 27 February meeting between the architects behind the unneeded Centre for Music and Barbican Estate residents were published a week ago on the Ben Johnson House Blog.

Present: Ben Gilmartin architect; Chris Hilyard architect; Simon Johnson project manager, Kieran Edward, Iceni stakeholder engagement; Nick Kenyon director Barbican Arts Centre; Peter Lisley Assistant Town Clerk; several Barbican residents

Ben Gilmartin started by running through slides, most of which had been in the public domain – so we know what the concept looks like.

They haven’t done any work on the back – (the Barbican facing side) but Ben said that it would hold the business side of the centre – offices etc. His instinct was not to invade residents’ privacy – but he didn’t want it to be a wall – he wanted it to be interesting – to be a good neighbour to the Barbican.

Simon Johnson said in answer to a question about blocking out sunlight and daylight to flats – that the architects had been given a brief that restricted the envelope they could work in. That included some analysis by GIA of sunlight and daylight effects [I have asked if we could see that and the brief]

Nick Kenyon said that the reason the C4M was that funny shape was to angle it away from flats as much as possible.

The next year will be spent not working on the design but setting it in context, developing a master plan for the whole site alongside City Surveyors and DBE – would include pedestrian flow modelling [Buro Happold] and traffic modelling.

They (city surveyors especially) will also be looking at how the site might develop if C4M isn’t built.

We said we’d like to meet again during the year to hear more about the masterplanning and contextualisation – they agreed.

They emphasised the strong connection with the highwalks, and we talked a bit about more pedestrians on the highwalk. One or two people said they were OK about that, but we raised the issue of the subpodium flats and noise on their roofs. We raised the possibility of insulating those flats as part of the podium leak works.

Nick Kenyon also said he didn’t envisage huge traffic of public walking from C4M to the arts centre on the same day. They’ll go to one or the other for an event.

Sarah Hudson mentioned light spillage – and protection for the bats

And said wanted the building to encourage greening and biodiversity – Ben Gilmartin agreed.

This and a second set of notes by another Barbican resident who attended the meeting can be found here: http://bjhg-blog.blogspot.com/2019/03/centre-for-music-27-feb-meeting-with.html

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