Barbican resident and regular City Matters contributor, Helen Hudson, outlines the vast number of issues on the agenda for her and fellow estate residents.
First of all, the Barbican Estate Office (BEO) has request that we complete a survey to give them feedback on their service.
The questionnaire is can be found online (surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2RX92DS) and the deadline is 26 July. Please contact your House Rep if you need any assistance.
On to more personal things, now. There is nothing I enjoy more than an energetic clean up and clear out. I summon my inner zen, grab one of the blue bins and nothing stops me until I see organised shelves and clear surfaces.
Recently I finished organising all the old issues of resident newsletters and magazines. After I’d packed the library of issues into plastic boxes to protect them (which needed a trip to IKEA, but I was prepared to suffer for my art), one of the original residents came by to take a look at a few of the older copies. We’d just planned on a quick coffee but when we’d finished our dip into this pile of printed history, it was an hour-and-a-half later.
The rich pickings of fascinating items are too plentiful to list here (that will be for the Barbican Life magazine to milk) but the classifieds section charts the decades oh so clearly.
Back in an early edition, there was a set of Encyclopædia Britannica for sale. A decade later there was an Amstrad on offer. Along the way I was greening with envy at those residents who had purchased one of the lifetime memberships to Holmes Place which were advertised.
You will have received the initial ‘Save the Date’ leaflet for the Barbican @50 events taking place over the next few weeks and months.
One of the events is a festival at St Giles in September and I’ll be sure to bring along a few copies of the old issues – you’re going to be glued to them, I promise. The resident movement against the City of London School for Girls expansion project is ongoing.
Please visit clsgexpansion.com, watch the video, learn about previous expansions, and join the campaign. Remember the project to light up Defoe Place with large illuminated ‘Barbican’ signage? Well, the proposal has resurfaced with minor tweaks, so this is a heads-up to Shakespeare and Defoe residents to get in touch with any of the committee and council members that you can.
There is also a chance to be heard (and seen) at the final planning meeting at Guildhall on 9 July, so please contact your House Rep to get involved.
If we don’t complain (repeatedly and loudly), then the planning committee will think there is nothing wrong with such proposals. The Barbican Estate residents consultation committee (RCC) met on 10 June.
Issues discussed included fire safety (full report expected in September); how we are all waiting to hear back about the lake pumps not working properly and the loss of water; we are allowing 10% of the stores to be let to local non-Barbican residents; we are missing opportunities to obtain better value from our underfloor heating system; water ingress and salt deposits to the tiling around Bunyan are to be investigated; repairs to the tiling on Ben Jonson House’s fifth-floor balconies will not be charged to leaseholders; fire door testing for Thomas More and Breton House doors will take place in July, in Poland (because UK test centres were fully booked until November); due to the excessive and inefficient electric vehicle charging available in the car parks, residents are now calling for their own charging points; increased antisocial behaviour on the estate (including threatening behaviour from skateboarders and parkour students); and film crews and contractors are being invited to flats (unbeknownst to the car park attendants), damaging lifts with their equipment, because the car park attendants are not notified and so do not put up the blanket protectors.
The RCC meets regularly throughout the year so for more details, full minutes or more information you can contact your House Rep or check on the City’s website.
For the Residents of Cromwell Tower and (the Eastern end of) Ben Jonson House, there is a planning application by The Whitbread Brewery to install plant screen around the existing roof level plant.
There seems to have been little advanced warning of this application and so the House Groups involved were looking at last minute objections (noise related). This is just a heads-up and you can follow up with your House Group for more details. Save the date of 14 August for the BEO Residents’ Summer Garden Party in Thomas More Garden 3.30pm to 7pm (we retire to the Lilac Room if it rains).
Hope you enjoyed the Barbican @50 issue of Barbican Life, which should have winged its way to you by now. If you haven’t received it, then contact [email protected] (or find us via your House Rep) and we’ll put that right.
Helen Hudson has lived in Defoe House on and off since the 1970s and keeps us up to date on resident news and committees.