School’s expansion plans for Barbican fuels fury
‘These plans will significantly damage some lovely features of the estate’
18 October, 2019 — By Calum Fraser
Jane Smith of the Barbican Association
A TOP private girls’ school plans to expand its buildings on an iconic housing estate, sparking fury from residents.
A petition opposing the City of London School for Girls’ plans to extend its campus on the Barbican estate has more than 3,000 signatures, with residents saying it will damage the architectural significance of the Brutalist masterpiece.
A public consultation was held in which the school, which is run by the City of London Corporation, laid out its plans to demolish and rebuild the sixth-form centre and add a new science laboratory, design and technology workshop and gym.
Jane Smith, who chairs the Barbican Association, said: “We feel up against it. It’s a David and Goliath battle and the City seems to be determined to push this through.
“These plans will significantly damage some lovely features of the estate and its Grade II*-listed grounds which residents are not happy about. We’re also losing vital amenity space.”
An artist’s impression of the proposed view from the highwalk (Mountjoy to Wallside) towards the extended prep school
Ms Smith, who has lived on the estate for more than 25 years, added: “The proposals we have seen so far completely go against what the Barbican residential buildings were built for, high-rise residential space that facilitates amenity areas below.”
The development is expected to cost about £17million if the plans go ahead. Pupil numbers could rise from 730 to 826.
The City had put in place a schedule to submit a planning application by September but this deadline has been missed and residents expect the application imminently.
It is a listed site, so consent from Historic England will be required before work can start.
This year marks 50 years since building works began on the site after it was flattened during the Second World War. The London Museum, the Barbican Arts Centre and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama share the site with about 4,000 residents.
A City of London Corporation spokesman said: “The school’s proposals are at an early stage and have not yet been submitted to the City of London Corporation for planning.
“The plans are currently open for public consultation and the school is listening to residents’ views. Any decision about the expansion will be taken in full consultation with residents and other stakeholders.”