Green promotions, green initiatives… and the green funding it all


The Barbican Estate residents’ consultation committee held its AGM in late January, when members discussed our electric vehicle charging points.

The clock is ticking on this project; the Local Emission Neighbourhood (LEN) funding ends in March, and so the City is coming up with a plan to decide how to divvy out the bills for the electricity used and the car park space used.

Personally, I think it is a shame that we can’t keep these things as cheap as possible as an incentive to push people in that direction with their vehicles.

There was also a special meeting of the Barbican residential committee on 31 January to look at the same issue, so we should have some indication of the hit on our wallets next issue.

I’ve had a request to appeal to your green fingers this month…

It is that time of the year when the fingers start to go green and thoughts turn towards warmer days and bursting flowers – even with winter winds threatening to blow in snow.

As Messrs Chamberlin, Powell and Bon have given us all some space and containers to brighten the estate, what do you think should be done to encourage residents to use them?

Part of the problem is that so many flats are sublet and tenants can’t be bothered – or just don’t have the time – but greenery and flowers really do make a difference.

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For our next issue, I’m going to call on local gardening expertise for some quick and easy wins to see if we can’t get ready en masse for the arrival of spring.

I know it isn’t always straightforward. Some flats are vacant (are we even allowed to stray over to plant there?) and I hear that some of our purist architects believe that flowers in the boxes detract from the fundamental architectural character of the Barbican (mind you, I’ve used that excuse in the past, too).

Despite concern we’ll have a baking summer carnage again this year (one of my House Reps has suggested Aloe vera), let’s see what we can do, shall we? A reminder that the car parks are being painted at the moment so make sure your bikes aren’t up against any rails that are awaiting their lick.

We’ve had a flurry of PR on the new music centre replacing the Museum of London and the plans look to be pedestrianising most of the existing museum’s roundabout. It looks like planners will route traffic round the back of Little Britain, but that is a tiny road so I’m not 100% sure on how that will look in practice.

On the subject of pedestrians, if you managed to feedback on the Transport Strategy, you might have noticed that we have another couple of gems to look forward to: Lunchtime Streets (which pedestrianises some streets over lunchtimes) and City-wide ‘car-free’ days/weekends (the first of which is pencilled in for 2019).

The final report and strategy (after the now closed consultation) will be out in the spring.

Another one you can have your say on (until the end of February) is the City of London Local Plan. The City is hosting a few drop-in sessions for discussions, and our local ones are 6 February at the Barbican Centre (Level G) (noon-2pm and 5pm-7pm) and 26 February at the Museum of London (noon-2pm).

We might want to tie down some detail on “the Beech Street/Long Lane axis [which] will be the focus for a variety of shops and restaurants” in section 3.4.1, and also the noncommittal approach to limiting tall buildings on the fringes of the estate.

Staying with planning, I had a recent shock from the Girls’ School proposal. From the leaflet dropped through our doors I was under the impression they were just thinking about in-filling a little of the stairs going down from the podium.

It seems, however, that the plan is to place a wooden prefabricated structure for sixth-form use on the podium, which is presently used as a secondary entrance/playground overlooking Thomas More Gardens.

The structure will be seen as a continuation of the northern frontage of the school and is certain to have a strong visual impact on local residents.

It would help enormously if we could see some more of the design specs; we only saw one mock-up in the leaflet and the worry is that the picture from the other side wouldn’t be quite so subtle.

Every few months the Barbican Centre meets with the Barbican Association and representatives from each block to discuss things affecting all of us.

At the last meeting, the Barbican Centre reported that it was, last summer, unable to secure planning permission for the mini-golf concept, but is trying again for this summer.

It will include pre-application consultation with a wider group of residents to address concerns.

The next meeting is on 25 February, so let your House Rep know if you have any issues. Also save the date on 24 April for the Barbican Association’s AGM.

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