Building start times in City to be pushed back an hour

The local authority could move to ban Saturday works
The local authority could move to ban Saturday works

Residents in the City of London will have an extra hour’s lie-in on Saturday mornings before builders are allowed to start work.

The new start time would see development work beginning at 9am rather than 8am, finishing at 2pm. The decision from the planning and transportation committee follows a consultation by the City Corporation.

It had 725 replies, with 62% in support of the current Saturday working hours of 8am to 1pm, with another 35% against. Some “noisy work” such as using power tools and impact fasteners, loading heavy materials, and setting up scaffolding would be allowed during set times.

The Corporation said allowing some noisy work on Saturdays can help cut the overall time of a building project, but it has to be balanced against the impact of people living and working nearby.

The Barbican Association, which represents 4,000 City residents on the Barbican Estate, said it wanted “noisy” Saturday working banned near residential areas only.

It told the Corporation: “If that approach were  adopted that would mean that most building sites in the City would not be affected.”

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Construction near residential areas of the City will be pushed back an hour on Saturdays. Photo by David Holt

The debate at the planning and transportation committee began after councillors questioned whether they would be allowed to speak on the issue – they are currently banned from speaking on issues if they have a pecuniary interest. This means that Barbican residents cannot speak or vote on some issues affecting constituents living on the estate.

Deputy Brian Mooney asked if councillors could speak, and said: “It could be argued that if there’s an improvement to the environment in which I live it does indeed have a positive benefit.”

The committee took advice from the controller and was told members could speak without a dispensation. No councillor registered an interest.

Marianne Fredericks (Tower ward) said there should be some flexibility to negotiate on projects locally. “I would like to see a pragmatic approach starting at 9am, but we also have to see it on a case by case basis,” she said.

Sir Mark Boleat said noise disturbs both residents and workers. “When I have been working in the City it has been a major disruption when you have got noise,” he said.

Alderman Gregory Jones said it was a mistake to differentiate between two parts of the City. “There are residents all over the place and there are offices all over the place,” he said.

Officers said it would be discriminatory to treat areas differently.