A Barbican resident who is against the London Wall West plans said the proposed moves demonstrates “there are other options for both buildings other than demolition

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Bastion House and Museum of London
Credit Jan Marc Petroschka

Two iconic buildings on the corner of the Barbican estate are potentially to be occupied by the City of London Police and School for Girls sixth form, despite both being eyed-up for demolition by the Corporation.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) understands both proposed moves, into the Museum of London building and Bastion House, will be temporary. A City of London Corporation spokesperson confirmed it is working with the City of London Police to find ‘an interim facility’ while Guildhall Yard East is being refurbished, though that no decision has been made. They would not comment on the School for Girls sixth form, currently located in the Barbican estate, though said requests had been received to use both of the buildings.

The City of London last year submitted plans to demolish and redevelop the Museum of London and Bastion House site, known as London Wall West. Planning documents detail how this is in-part due both currently being vacant, with the Museum of London to move into its new Smithfield home by 2026 and Bastion House having its lease expire last year, as well as the buildings deemed unsustainable and unwelcoming.

Campaigners have accused the Corporation of ‘carbon crimes’ and intent on destroying a key part of the area’s heritage, with hundreds of objections filed against the plans. The City of London however claims demolishing and rebuilding is less carbon intensive than retaining the current buildings, and that it will help it meet a projected growing need for more office space.

The LDRS has seen correspondence appearing to confirm the police are to occupy part of Bastion House while refurbishments on Guildhall Yard East are carried out. A City of London spokesperson said the Corporation is working with the force “to find an interim facility during the refurbishment of Guildhall Yard East and no decisions have yet been taken regarding the agreed occupation of the facility”.

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Asked when the Guildhall Yard East works are due to begin and end, the spokesperson said details are yet to be finalised.

Sixth form students at the City of London School for Girls are meanwhile due to move into the nearby Museum of London from September.

In an update to parents from February, seen by the LDRS, the school’s Head Jenny Brown wrote the temporary move “will allow us to build on, and enhance, all those things we hold dear: scholarly learning for its own sake, individualised pastoral care and, of course, space for partnership activities with the City Family of Schools, and it is a key first step in our satellite space strategy. It will offer our sixth formers the best of both worlds and allow them both to be a part of, and apart from, the main school.”

The school said it had nothing to add when approached for comment by the LDRS.

In a previous version of the Whole Life Carbon Assessment (WLCA) report compiled for London Wall West, the Corporation said Bastion House was at risk of collapse and so not safe for retrofit and reuse. This was challenged by campaigners, who hired an independent engineering firm to review the claims, arguing both buildings were in good condition. The latest version, filed as part of the live planning application, does not contain this. A City of London spokesperson confirmed this is because it is focussed on the proposed scheme, and so does not give details on disproportionate collapse of existing buildings.

A Barbican resident who is against the London Wall West plans said: “With this (the school) and the police moving into Bastion House the City is demonstrating that there are other options for both buildings other than demolition.”

Hundreds of comments have been filed by groups ranging from businesses to residents and heritage campaigners opposing the proposed redevelopment. While an initial deadline for submitting feedback was set for a date in February, this has been extended to an undecided time due to technical issues with the planning portal, and the City receiving further information on the scheme’s Environmental Statement.

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