A significant new office block is set to be developed near to the Barbican after planning permission was granted by the City of London Corporation.
The eight-storey office building at 1-12 Long Lane will also have a retail offering and the plan includes parking for up to 125 bicycles at the prominent location within the Culture Mile – the new home for contemporary culture stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate.
The development also includes re-landscaping which offers a “living” green wall.
Oliver Sells QC, Deputy Chairman of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the authority, said: “The approved scheme strikes the right balance of office and retail space while enhancing this part of the City and taking into consideration the responses from residents and officers.
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“The inclusion of cycle parking provisions and urban greening elements are particularly commendable and reflect the City Corporation’s commitments to tackling air pollution and increasing sustainability.”
However, the project was not without opposition. Councillor Graeme Harrower explained: “Of the 16 members who voted for the application, all but one represented business wards, and of the 10 who voted against it, most represented residential wards.
“This illustrates how the representation of residents, who are in a majority in only 4 wards, is swamped by the representation of business voters, who are in a majority in 21 wards, although business voters are notoriously disengaged.
“Only 40% of businesses bothered to register pre-Covid, and less than half the employees they appoint typically bother to vote, yet more than 80% of members represent business wards. In no other local authority in the UK are residents so disenfranchised.”
The City of London Corporation has a commitment to “world-class” sustainable development and has included the key aims of greening of the City and more open spaces in the City Plan 2036.
As part of this, all new developments and refurbishments will be required to include a greening element to the building or public realm to contribute to improving biodiversity, rainwater run-off, air and noise pollution, temperature regulation, and making the City a more visually desirable business location.
However, speaking about the Long Lane project, Councillor Sue Pearson said: “The greening is token in the public realm, and seems to be put on the roof only to get the points required for an urban greening score.”
Councillor Marianne Fredericks added: “I had asked a question on a new point concerning the pavement in front of the building, but regrettably the Deputy Chair would not allow the question.”
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