Tube noise and Culture Mile on agenda for Barbican residents

Increases noise pollution from the Tube is making life unbearable for some Barbican residents.
Increases noise pollution from the Tube is making life unbearable for some Barbican residents.

I’ve been away for a few weeks and so I’m not as immersed as usual.

I left the day that the Beech Street tunnel event started but I saw the preparations. As usual (and I take my hat off to them) I’m grateful that they always give me car park access for Defoe.  

Flats in the surrounding areas don’t get anything like the sort of consideration given to Barbican and Golden Lane when it comes to access. The event took some setting up, which would have affected wheelchair users.

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Beech Street was transformed with a groundbreaking sound and light installation.

On the positive side, people were not unhappy about the sound disturbance, but then the weather meant that everybody’s windows were probably shut, so that would have helped.  

On another positive note, the Barbican Centre is requesting a feedback session to note concerns, which will be a good thing, but suggests that we can expect similar happenings in the future.  

I suppose, though, that we should expect these events to focus themselves on the Culture Mile route as the project gains momentum. The Culture Mile project governance has seemed a bit haphazard over the last few months; perhaps not surprising because so many different players are involved (Guildhall School, Barbican Centre, LSO, and Museum of London).  Hopefully, the imminent appointment of a project director will clarify the strategy and direction, and get some more active consultation started.

I’ve also missed the opening of the new Highwalks, and I can’t wait to get back and try them out; they look beautiful and I’ve only heard positive feedback about them so far.

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All positive: London Wall’s new system of highwalks. Photo by Ian Mansfield

The joggers must be relishing their new routes and I hear that the surface is ‘grippy’ which should reduce the risk of slippage.

It is AGM time for the Barbican Association (BA) so please diarise 26 April at the City of London School for Girls. I’m sure that posters will be up on notice boards (if they aren’t already).  

In previous years, the BA invites a speaker from or related to what is affecting us in the City, but this year, the BA is, instead, going to have a range of updates from the (currently) most important sub-committees.

On planning issues, Helen Kay keeps a watchful eye on applications in and around our estate and that means an awful amount of regular, detailed reading, so a big round of applause to her for that.  

The age of the estate means that flat refurbishments come thick and fast and it’s always good to get a heads-up when a major refurbishment (like the noisy drop ceilings) is going to be happening.

On licensing, Robert Barker (as you probably already know) is our City guru and is thankfully precisely pedantic when it comes to the details in licensing applications (among many other things).  We can thank him that we don’t have a thousand pubs and nightclubs on our doorstep as he protects our perimeter.

Thomas More Group – This group is tackling the City of London School for Girls on the proposal to extend the school into the Thomas More car park. The nearby house groups have invited the school governors to attend a drop in session at the car park to be shown round it by a local resident. We are hoping they will come to get a full appreciation of the impact the proposal would have if implemented.

Later on this month, the BA’s Culture Mile working group have a meeting with the architects working on the business plan for the Centre for Music.  Hopefully, we’ll get some more detail of what the architects are thinking about for the building.

At an earlier meeting they emphasised that they wanted to respect the materials and architecture of the Barbican and also to respect residents’ needs so we want to make sure they follow up on this.

Only a few blocks are affected by Tube noise in the Barbican but this affects quite a large number of residents and dramatically so.  

It has been reported that one resident has actually vacated their flat due to the noise.  Meetings with Transport for London (TfL), residents, councillors, and City of London and BA representatives has yielded promises from TfL but, disappointingly, no action.  

Meanwhile, residents literally lose sleep over this disturbance, which has worsened considerably in the last two years.

Lastly, it is worth you all knowing that  Sarah Hudson monitors and campaigns for us on how the City is matching it’s good green intentions with ‘greening’ initiatives. Keep up the fine work, Sarah.

If you haven’t renewed your membership of the BA yet, you can do that at the AGM; there will be a membership desk manned near the entrance.

business magazineHelen Hudson (inset) has lived in Defoe House on and off since the 1980s, and is the residents’ representative for Defoe on the Barbican Association General Council.

Cover image by A Brady (Creative Commons).