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City approves Museum of London demolition and London Wall West scheme, but Gove puts plan on pause

London Wall West (City of London Corporation)
London Wall West (City of London Corporation)

The City of London Corporation planning applications sub committee has approved a major new development at the former Museum of London site at London Wall, and the demolition of Bastion House at the site, after three years of consultations.

However, communities secretary Michael Gove has issued an article 31 Order that effectively puts the plan on pause.

The Corporation put in the plans itself, and has not yet secured a deal with developer to actually undertake the plan.

The scheme will include 56,000  square metres of office space, and the Corporation said it will accomodate up to 3,100 jobs. It will also include “flexible space for cultural use, an elevated public space with outstanding views including of St Pauls  and public access to the remains of the Roman wall”.

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The scheme, which includes the demolition of the old Bastion House building, has been changed significantly since the initial proposals in 2021, after a large number of complaints.

Chairman of the City of London Corporation Planning and Transport Committee, Shravan Joshi, said: “Today’s resolution to grant permission for the London Wall West proposals brings us closer to our goal of meeting demand for 1.2 million square meters of new office space by 2040, a figure backed by industry experts taking into account projected jobs growth and new working from home patterns.

“The City of London is a global economic powerhouse, and it is vital we continue to signal to investors that we are keeping it that way, by delivering a centre of collaboration and innovation for the hundreds of thousands of people who work here.”

The Barbican Quarter Action group, who opposed the planned museum demolition, said: “We are obviously disappointed at the decision taken today, but not surprised given that this came from a local authority whose officials restated at today’s meeting that the City of London does not recognise the climate emergency.

“The Chair of the Committee chose to close down the debate so members were not allowed to discuss the application amongst themselves. A number of members requested that numerous conditions should be properly applied to the application to safeguard residents, heritage and the townscape, but these requests were rejected and will be agreed separately with the developer if the developer chooses to accept them.

“We hope that the SoS will now move to call this application in. The City is both applicant and the local planning authority and as such this complex and contested scheme must be subject to the highest levels of scrutiny.”

One Barbican resident Hilary Sunman said: “There were 870 comments against the proposed office and just 17 in favour!. Doesn’t this say anything to our landlord and protector of our heritage? A wonderful arts centre, yes. Another office development – a resounding no.”

A City of London Corporation Spokesperson said: “The City of London Corporation Planning Application Sub-Committee has resolved to grant planning permission for the London Wall West Proposals.

“We acknowledge the Section 31 Holding Direction issued by Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and will await the Secretary of State’s final decision.”

Demolition is set to begin in 2028. It is set to complete in 2033.

The 1970s office block Bastion House was designed by architects Powell & Moya.