Area Development

It is through an accident of history that the Barbican Estate (one of the largest residential estates in the country comprising over 2,000 homes) is located on the edge of what is now acknowledged to be the world’s financial centre. The grand vision underpinning the Barbican’s development now finds many more admirers than detractors. Formal recognition of the architects’ and the City’s achievement is now accorded through the Grade II listing of the buildings and Grade II* listing of the gardens. The City has been rightly proud of what it helped to create, but from time to time appears to be pursuing policies that threaten this architectural heritage.

Now that the Barbican Estate is home to several thousand people, it is reasonable to expect that fact to have due bearing on how development in the immediate vicinity is pursued. Residents in the main rightly accept that since they live in the midst of a global financial centre, development that might be totally unacceptable in the context of a suburban location cannot be dismissed out of hand in the City of London. Conversely, however, the mere presence of large buildings in the vicinity ought not support any expectation that it is either right or inevitable that in future there will be yet more similarly large, or even larger buildings.

This observation naturally leads to a discussion of “balance” and “reasonableness”. These worthy and commendable concepts require explanation if they are to have meaning in the planning context. That follows not least because developers and residents are likely to have very different ideas concerning what, as a practical matter, is balanced and reasonable.

Barbican Association has prepared a proposal aiming to secure a fair balance in the assessment of planning applications between the needs of business and the needs of residents of the Barbican Estate.

The pages in this section are used to share information and updates regarding topical development in the immediate vicinity of the estate.