Strength of residents’ groups lies in expertise of our neighbours

residents at the forefront: there is plenty to get stuck into. Photo credit: Paul the Archivist (CC)

April’s Barbican Association AGM was an opportunity to give residents a glimpse of what’s in store for the coming year.

I hope you managed to make it, but if you couldn’t then contact your house rep for a rundown.

May’s BA meeting is being held as City Matters hits the shelves, and will be used to allocate jobs for the next 12 months.

A new planning application has surfaced for the installation of some CCTV cameras; thanks to Sue Cox and Helen Kay for picking out the pertinent parts for us from the vast quantity of planning documents they have to trawl through.

In short, a total of 15 CCTV cameras will be attached to the external elevations of our listed buildings. Of these, 11 are replacements.

Locations of the new cameras include the ground floor on the south-east corner of Defoe House; the north wall of the duct east of Frobisher Crescent; and the east stairwell wall leading to the lift shaft east of Frobisher Crescent.

Cameras will be fixed into mortar joints wherever possible to avoid damage to the building fabric.

The cameras will be held within black casings/housings and mounts, and are discrete as they are much smaller than the models they are to replace.

It seems like there will be little impact on our privacy, but residents in Frobisher Crescent and Defoe House might want to take a walk and look at their proposed positions a little closer and discuss with their house reps if they have any issues.

On to the Girls’ School expansion. A meeting between the school and the BA working group was held at the end of March, which also featured the house reps from the three adjacent houses.

Although the school has looked at moving the kitchens and dining room to alternative locations, their preferred option remains the original one with the kitchens and dining room right bang under Mountjoy House.

Another option is to put the prep school under Mountjoy House and the dining room under the podium where students enter the premises.

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residents at the forefront: there is plenty to get stuck into. Photo credit: Paul the Archivist (CC)

The school’s offer that residents be allowed use of their new dining hall has not received a positive response.

The schedule moving forward is for a public consultation from the end of May until August. The official planning application is then likely to be submitted in September.

Please diarise the estate-wide residents’ meeting on the evening of Thursday 13 June at St Giles Church; your help on this does matter.

Remember those horrible masts which were pencilled in for the roof of the Barbican Centre? The good news is that the planning department have informed the BA that the application has been withdrawn. I have no idea why, but I like to think that it had something to do with our 195 objections.

If you have any spare time at all, please get involved with your house group. You represent a vast pool of professional expertise and experience and we need you.

Even if you can only spare a few hours a month, your time is precious to keep our community active and empowered.

On this note and also very important (because it affects our wallets) the leaseholder service charge working party needs one or two more members who are financially literate. Let’s watch those numbers, folks! Contact the BA for more details.

Not feeling like number-crunching? The Barbican@50 working group has been working like mad to organise things for our estate’s 50th birthday celebrations and things are looking promising.

Do get involved if you can spare some time because we are in desperate need of volunteers to pitch in.

Thanks go out to our green-fingered Wildlife Garden volunteers, who have arranged a serious of free talks/workshops for the coming months.

Details were in one of the recent BEO emails, and you can also check the dates at the office if you missed the email (and subscribe while you are there!).

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