Hotel approved by Barbican Estate

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Hotel in London
Image credit City of London Corporation

Two office buildings by Barbican Station are set to be demolished and replaced with a new 128-room hotel. To become part of the ‘upscale’ chain The Resident, the site will also include retail space at its ground floor and a new pocket park.

Permission was previously granted in 2021 to knock down the current buildings and erect office and retail space. The latest proposal is an extension on that consented scheme, with the increased massing among the changes.

The City of London Corporation’s Planning Applications Sub-Committee yesterday morning (June 11) gave the new plans the green light. Concerns had been raised during the consultation phase including the increased size of the proposal, its impacts on daylight and sunlight on nearby residents, and pedestrian and cycling safety, due to the expected increase in local traffic.

At yesterday’s meeting, local resident Peter Golob, representing Charterhouse Square, Haynes Street and the Barbican Association, queried the applicant’s claims on areas including daylight and sunlight and the visibility of the hotel.

“Our own small sampling of the original [daylight and sunlight] report disclosed enough errors to pose the question, who is identifying the errors we have not found?” he asked.

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One such issue, he said, was that the authors of the report did not initially realise there was a school to the south side of Charterhouse Square until pointed out by some of the objectors.

Mr Golob added the lack of any identified drop off points for customers visiting the hotel posed a problem. “The planners have agreed there are no dropping off points, and therefore have proposed unidentified nearby locations should be provided for dropping off. As long as those places remain unidentified, you have a problem or future abuse of the policy. It’s unworkable.”

The applicant acknowledged it had not initially factored the school in its report, though refuted Mr Golob’s claims its data was inaccurate.

Another key point of contention raised by members was that of the toilet provision included in the scheme. Deputy Randall Anderson asked whether the unisex toilet referenced in the plans on the ground floor would be publicly accessible, warning a secluded section in the pocket park could become a ‘public urinal’ without such facilities.

Deputy Anderson was told the retail unit on the ground floor will manage that toilet, to which he pointed out this means it would not be open at midnight, which is an issue around the Barbican Estate.

“Any place that is just that bit secluded people use, because there are so few facilities. And that just looks ideal unfortunately, so I really think you need to think about that in greater detail than you have so far.”

Common Councillor Natasha Lloyd-Owen later asked whether the toilet in the hotel’s reception would be able to be opened to the public, to which she was told it was only intended for use by guests and patrons of the hotel.

Closing the item, Deputy Shravan Joshi, Chair of the committee, said he was ‘very confident’ in the planning team managing the conditions and business plan for schemes such as this.

“I’m very confident that the application in front of us is something we should support,” he said, praising the café element of the proposal and the benefit of the hotel to nearby amenities. “I think the pocket park in the front of the building is an excellent public amenity and I think it will enhance the value of the area greatly. So overall I’m in support of this.”

The scheme was approved by the committee, with 11 in favour and five opposing.

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