Sewage and planning woes dominate Barbican chatter


After the warm and friendly summer we’ve had, I can’t help but feel spoilt because most of us probably don’t have a hellish commute to work.

It must be nigh on impossible to summon the willpower to get out of bed when you know you have a long and cramped journey to the office. Let’s count our blessings, City dwellers.

Here in the Barbican our ‘4B’ signs above Silk Street and on Defoe Place continue to cause drama.

The Barbican Centre intends to reinstall our 4Bs at the bottom of Gilbert House on the Lakeside, which, as far as I can see, will only confuse visitors wandering that way; people will see the 4Bs and be searching around that nook for a main entrance.

The nearest Defoe and Shakespeare residents who have bedrooms facing the proposed new  – and now illuminated – signs are calling all residents for help.

The new signs are pretty pointless, do not comply with our listed building status, and I don’t even want to think how they are going to hide the different colours of concrete when they change the footprint on the walls.

The deadline is somewhere between 30 November and 7 December to comment (it’s tricky to tie the planning department down sometimes) and you can have your say by searching ‘City of London 18/00335/LBC’ online.

Right to light doesn’t include 5m signs illuminating kids’ bedrooms at bedtime.

With planning in mind, something to feedback on is the City’s new Local Plan, called City Plan 2036, which sets out the City Corporation’s vision, strategy and objectives for planning over the next 20 years.

Details can be found on its website by searching ‘City of London Local Plan Consultation’.

The authority also wants feedback on the ideas it has to make the southern part of Moor Lane – next to Willoughby – an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) area. Note that one of the options includes the removal of the gate, so you might have a strong opinion on that.

And now something a little dirtier. We’ve recently had a few blockages in our sewage pipes due to people flushing things down there that really shouldn’t be flushed.

Apparently, even flushable wipes are not a great thing for our pipes. A reminder to residents that the cost of the call-outs to clear our pipes is about £300 to £400 a pop.

These invoices are added on to the service charges for blocks individually, so if you have a few repeat offenders, the cost can really mount up.

Staying with utilities, I recently moved flats and invited the electricity company in to see if they could install a smart meter. I had heard that some flats could install but there were many that could not because the installation into the cupboard with the meter involves asbestos.

It turned out that mine was one of the asbestos situations.

Apparently, the word is that eventually the electricity companies will have to deal with our asbestos cupboards – which is going to be expensive for them but they will have to do it – so we shouldn’t worry that we’re never going to get smart meters; they will be installed eventually come hell or high water.

The extension project for the City of London School for Girls is still bubbling away and the BA and residents are meeting with school officials in early December so we can nail down some kind of idea of what is being proposed.

Another issue still being debated is how much power the City should give to residents when they sit on committees which make decisions.

There are strong feelings about this because there are a lot of residents involved in the running of the City and, just because they live in a particular area, they are possibly going to be denied the opportunity to discuss and/or vote in certain meetings.

For more details on this, you can contact your BA house rep or common councillor.

A little early, but please note the change of date for the Barbican Association’s AGM to 24 April 2019. The next BA meeting is on 17 January.

Cover image by Riodamascus (Creative Commons).