Our early engagement with local communities
We have conducted some early engagement on the possibilities for the London Wall West site with people who live, work and visit the local area, to understand people’s priorities and ideas for the site.
This includes engaging with schools, local community and other organisations throughout the City and beyond, including those that work with older people, people with specific access needs, and other vulnerable/isolated groups, to identify existing community assets and local support needs. This process has in turn helped to ensure that proposals for the site are genuinely responsive to local priorities. The overarching objectives of the early engagement have therefore been to:
- Collect initial feedback on elements of the brief that stakeholders can directly influence. The design team will use the feedback to help shape the proposals, providing opportunity for stakeholders to meaningfully inform the public benefits package.
- Build mutually beneficial relationships with key stakeholders, including immediate residents to the site, communities beyondthe site boundary, within the City Corporation, and others, in order to reach a broad demographic
Specifically, we wanted to work with local communities, including local residents, to explore what London Wall West could deliver in terms of cultural uses and public spaces. To do this, we employed two separate organisations:.
- Contemporary Art Society Consultancy (CASC) – which held a number of workshops and site walkabouts to understand how culture could be integrated into the site and how the site can dovetail with the wider cultural placemaking work as part of Culture Mile.
- Peppermint Research – which conducted market research with residents, workers and visitors who use the area to understand what they would like to see at London Wall West, with a focus on the publicly accessible elements of the scheme such as green spaces, heritage uses and retail.
In addition, the London Wall West project team has led on direct engagement with elected officials and those living and working closest to the site, through:
- Local Ward Members drop in sessions and one-to-one briefings
- One-to-one briefings with City of London officers
- Regular briefings with Livery Companies, including the Ironmongers Company, and with the City of London Girls’ School.
- Engagement with our partners at Culture Mile and Museum of London
- Regular meetings with the Barbican Residents’ Association and briefings with House Groups.
The feedback we received
This early engagement has been crucial in helping us to begin to shape the proposals to ensure that what is proposed for London Wall West responds to the needs of the local community. Key themes that emerged from this work included:
- Creating a welcoming and inclusive space
- Creating a strong civic identity and sense of place, reflective of its position within Culture Mile
- Keeping the existing ‘village character’ of the area and making this is a peaceful and intimate place
- Ensuring any development fits with the surrounding area and responds to the needs of the local community
- Maximising the mixed identity of the site, to bring community space together with culture and commerce
- Creating learning, skills development and other opportunities for young people
- Delivering accessible community programming, workshops and learning opportunities for all, particularly young people and older local residents
- Developing increased green spaces and pockets of nature and tranquillity
- Increasing biodiversity and exploring sustainable initiatives, such as community growing and hydroponics
- Enhancing Highwalk networks
- Providing new spaces for creative businesses and start-ups
- Developing a relaxed and informal cultural character, and an energising and engaging public realm
- Cherishing and enhancing the area’s history and heritage
- Delivering more community space and developing sustainable community partnerships
- Assessing the need for housing in this part of the City
Images from site tours held in June & July 2021