Barbican residents hold protest over school bid


Residents staged a silent protest to draw attention to their concerns about proposals to extend a school at the Barbican.

The independent City of London School for Girls, which is owned by the Corporation, is considering extending its home in the estate, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Around 25 Barbican residents stood outside Guildhall handing out flyers as City of London politicians arrived for their full council meeting. They called on councillors “to consider alternatives that will enable the City both to enhance the school and to act as guardian of one of London’s most precious architectural assets in the heart of the Culture Mile”.

Residents also suggested that the redevelopment of the Museum of London site on London Wall, following its move to West Smithfield, offers “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop a master plan that takes into account the school’s long-term needs without damaging the Barbican Estate”.

They claim the current plans would significantly damage the architectural heritage and Grade II*-listed vistas of the estate.

Andy Hawkins, chairman of the Mountjoy Residents’ Association, said neighbours wanted councillors to hear their concerns before any planning application is submitted.

According to preliminary plans which residents have seen, the school wants to build a new dining hall and kitchens in the space underneath Mountjoy House, which residents claim would “fill in a magnificent Grade II*-listed vista”.

The scheme also includes a multi-storey building near the lake, overlooking St Giles Terrace, and construction of a new wood and glass building overlooking the Thomas More gardens on top of one of the existing school buildings.

Councillor Mark Bostock, who represents Cripplegate, told the meeting that the listed Barbican Estate “is the City’s most visionary, respected and admired 20th-century development”.

A City of London Corporation spokesperson said: “The school’s proposals are at an early stage and have not yet been submitted to the City of London Corporation for planning.

“The plans are currently open for public consultation and the school is listening to residents’ views.

“Any decision about the expansion will be taken in full consultation with residents and other stakeholders.”