Every email, phone call and letter is ammunition for our councillors


Have you ever walked past roadworks and sped up the pace because the noise was so deafening? Well, that’s the kind of Tube rumble that some of our residents are suffering.

The latest TfL response in the form of a six-page letter to the City is that, yes, they know there are problems; and yes, they will work on them sometime before 2023 – albeit on the current schedule, which we know is open to the dreaded creeping lurgy.

That said, I think congratulations are in order, because up until now, there has been absolutely no pencilled in fix date, so all the hard work, meetings, phone calls, emails and effort has not been in vain – but we must keep it up.

I urge everyone affected by the noise to not accept that ‘Oh, it’s just the way it is around here’ and complain. Only with the din of accumulated evidence and complaints will the pressure be kept up. Our common councillors are still on the case, and every email or phone call to TfL and our MPs empowers them with more ammunition.

Enough on warfare, let’s move swiftly on to flowers. You might not have heard already, but this is a big year for the Barbican Estate.

Our den has been around for 50 years this year and residents are being given a marvellous opportunity to create a legacy for the next demi-decade. Come June, a series of workshops are being planned and you are all invited.

Promoting involvement is Jenny Nisbet: “Barbican@50 is a neighbourhood initiative, a collaborative community engagement, a fresh way of looking at things.

“What will make the Barbican better, greener, friendlier, healthier and what can residents do about it? All residents are welcome to submit ideas, whether a leaseholder or tenant. Use [email protected] to send your proposals and ideas. It’s up to you what gets achieved.”

One of the more immediate calls to action is our window boxes. If you haven’t seen this website, citywindowboxgardener.com, then take a quick tour and the pathway to fulfilling the dream of boxes to be proud of seems a lot clearer – there are even ‘quick fix with little effort’ ways which absolutely do not require you to change the soil.

Casting warm and friendly aside, let’s get back to the City of London School for Girls and the monstrous Scandinavian-type greenhouse which they are proposing to build on the podium in front of the north side of Thomas More.

I don’t know if this is just an outrageous decoy ploy (that they will later back down on, sympathetically) while they focus on the main objective of filling in the space under Mountjoy for a massive school cafeteria (another item on the wish list).

How wonderful for Mountjoy residents to share the delectable aromas of whatever is the dish of the day for the 700 (and growing) pupils.

Can they vent the restaurant output above Mountjoy House (as would be the ideal building regulation recommendation)?

Only if layers of residents want a pipe running vertically outside their flats to the roof. A resident from the early days tells me that we used to be able to see St Giles from Thomas More Gardens (did you know that? It must have been beautiful!) but one of the previous expansions filled up that gap.

One planning application that you can object to now is installation of a plethora or antennae and dishes on the roof of the Barbican Centre. Use planning reference numbers 19/00108/FULL and 19/00109/LBC on the City of London planning website to have your say.

The proposals are not in keeping with a listed building in a Grade II star-listed estate/conservation area and there is still debate about the potential threat to health.

The antennae are several metres high so they will project above the roofline and be clearly visible by many residents. Please support Frobisher Residents in this because the front door of 15 flats in that block directly face on to the site of the proposed masts, and six flats even have bedrooms facing that way.

Eight hours sleep a day within that proximity to the masts for prolonged periods isn’t something that should be risked without a lot more research, in my opinion.

Helen Hudson has lived in Defoe House on and off since the 1970s and keeps us up to date on resident news and committees.