Thank you to everyone who has engaged with us so far around our early plans to redevelop the site known as London Wall West. The consultation remains open, so please do continue giving feedback if you haven’t done so already.
We will be considering all feedback received during this period before coming back with a further round of consultation in Spring 2022 ahead of submitting a planning application later in the year.
In the meantime, we have set out below answers to the questions which have come up most frequently during our public engagement to date. We will keep this updated over the coming months.
1. What is the overall vision for the site?
The City of London Corporation, led by the Property Investment Board, is leading on the delivery of a new destination at the site known as London Wall West, working closely with its project team. The aim of the project is to meet the City’s aspirations to create a vibrant, thriving, inclusive and sustainable Square Mile.
With lead designers Diller Scodifio + Renfro, in collaboration with Sheppard Robson architects, and through early engagement with local stakeholders and residents, the project team are currently exploring a number of outcomes for the site. These options include, but are not limited to:
• Contributing to the funding necessary to enable the Museum of London’s move to West Smithfield
• Delivering a range of high-quality office spaces
• Creating a cultural programme that is co-curated by local communities
• Supporting the social and economic development of the local community
• Celebrating the City of London’s heritage
• Improving the public realm
• Contributing to the City’s sustainability targets
Clearly no one site can by itself meet all the aspirations the City has. However, by taking the time to work closely with the Department of the Built Environment, as well as our Culture Mile partners and local landowners and the local community, we believe we can find the best balance of uses for this site that optimise benefits for workers, residents and visitors.
For further information of the early plans please visit the ‘Proposals’ page and download a copy of the consultation pack that was prepared in December 2021.
2. Who is responsible for this vision and behind the plans being set out?
The City Corporation operates through a Committee structure, which means that no one Member has responsibility for the plans relating to London Wall West. However, as London Wall West falls within the Investment Property Portfolio, decisions in the first instance are the responsibility of the Property Investment Board.
The Board is appointed by the Investment Committee with Deputy Andrien Meyers as Chair and is responsible for determining and approving management and investment matters relating to the property within the City’s City Fund and Bridge House Estates in accordance with the management plans and investment strategies.
3. What is the justification for the proposed office use in the development?
The City’s aspirations set out in the Local Plan 2015 state that a good supply of high quality, modern and sustainable office accommodation is required to meet the needs of the City’s commercial occupiers and keep pace with growing business needs.
The Draft City Plan 2036 meanwhile states that the City’s office stock should be increased by at least 2 million sqm to maintain the City’s status as the world’s leading financial and professional services centre.
Moreover, the London Plan 2021 policy on offices (E1) states that increases in the current stock of offices should be supported in locations including the Central Activities Zone (CAZ) in which the site is located.
The City has of course recognised the need to further review of the draft City Plan 2036 to address amongst other things the impact of the pandemic. Indeed, research from CBRE has found that the office leasing market is back up to pre-pandemic levels, with investment to this end reaching £11.3bn last year.
Likewise, while clearly more people are set to work flexibly from home and the office than ever before, this does not mean that the spatial requirements of occupiers have decreased. In fact, we are seeing that tenants need more space to accommodate for flexible working, as well as more space for break out areas and meeting rooms.
In addition, it is clear that Brexit and the pandemic have only heightened the need for the City to invest in its future office stock to maintain its worldwide status and not fall behind Europe’s other business centres.
4. What are the heights of the proposed buildings?
The plans are still at an early stage and the exact scale and massing of the buildings have not been defined. That said, the building heights indicated within the consultation pack are approximately as follows:
• 17 storeys for building 1 – equivalent in height to the existing Bastion House;
• 14 storeys for building 2 –much lower (~20m) than the adjacent building at 200 Aldersgate Street;
• Five storeys for building 3.
A masterplan map showing the location of these proposed buildings can be found within the consultation pack on page 12. To download a copy of this, please see the Proposals page here.
5. How will the proposed buildings affect daylight / sunlight on nearby existing buildings?
The current design proposals are indicative, and the design team is continuing to assess footprint, massing and expression. Full daylight and sunlight assessments will be conducted by the appointed daylight and sunlight consultant and assessed by a third-party consultant advising the City Corporation acting as local planning authority. Further details will be discussed during the next stage of consultation and a full report will be submitted with the planning application later this year.
6. What is the justification for the demolition of Bastion House and the Museum of London?
The site is under review as an important development opportunity due to the Museum of London’s planned relocation to West Smithfield and because, now nearly 50 years old, both the current home of the Museum of London and Bastion House require significant investment to remain fit for purpose for the future.
The City of London Corporation has published a report prepared by specialist external consultants who rigorously evaluated the sustainability and viability of various options for the London Wall West site, from light-touch refurbishment to a full redevelopment. Releasing this kind of report during the public consultation process is unprecedented, as it would normally be published when the final planning application is submitted. However, in response to feedback we felt it was important to share the report at this stage. You can read the report here.
7. How will you manage the site to ensure there are no issues relating to security and noise from the introduction of the Culture Cap and other performance spaces?
The City of London is committed to being the long-term owners and stewards of this site and it will be our responsibility to ensure that it is managed appropriately.
This will include putting in place a robust Visitor Management Plan for any public uses on site, which will set out how noise and disturbance will be limited on the area.
The design team are also working to the principles of ‘Secured By Design’, the national Police Federation’s official initiative that works to improve the security of buildings and their immediate surroundings.
8. How will the buildings interact with the Barbican and Golden Lane Conservation Area?
The site is immediately adjacent to the Barbican and Golden Lane conservation area to the north and east of the site and further to the south and west are the Smithfield, Postman’s Park and Foster Lane conservation areas. Charterhouse Square conservation area is to the northwest.
The City of London values this unique and historic conservation area and will ensure that the proposed buildings are designed to fit in with the local character of the area. Plans are still at an early stage, but the detailed articulation of the proposed buildings will respond sympathetically to the surrounding buildings.
To this end, a thorough assessment of mid distant and local views is being undertaken, taking into account the emerging design, to assess the impact on the setting of the nearby conservation area.
9. What is happening to the High Walk network around the site?
Remodelling of the highways thorough the site is currently being reviewed. The exact layout of the proposed improvements is still to be confirmed and the City of London welcomes suggestions from users of the local infrastructure on how to improve connections through the site.
We are aware from our early consultation that local residents were keen that the high walks across the road are not lost. We have taken this feedback on board and continue to explore options in this regard. We will be able to say more about this at the next stage of consultation in the spring.
10. Is this a genuine consultation?
Yes, we are keen to hear what local residents, visitors, workers and other stakeholders think of our plans and are open to suggestions that are put forward.
Some elements, such as the cultural and public spaces we are looking to deliver, will very much need to be shaped by the community and we are committed to ensuring that this dialogue continues long into the future and beyond the life of the planning application. Clearly, the strategic objectives of the project must be realised and commercial value obtained from the site to help fund the relocation of the Museum of London to Smithfield; this requires office floorspace which meets market expectations and City tenants.
The project is at an early stage, meaning there is plenty of design work to be done before an application is submitted towards the middle of 2022. This is therefore the right time to be coming to people to hear their thoughts on the scheme.
Comments made during this current phase of consultation will be analysed, considered and fed back to the design team to incorporate in the developing proposals.
11. What is happening next in the consultation process?
The consultation is still open, so please do continue to submit feedback either by email or through our online survey.
Feedback given in this phase of consultation will inform the development of designs for London Wall West. In the spring, we will come back with another round of public consultation before submitting a planning application later in the year.