Campaign group says Barbican demolition plans make ‘misleading’ safety claims

A campaign group has slammed the “misinformed and misleading” data that has been used to justify demolishing two historic buildings in London’s Barbican.

The City of London Corporation has submitted plans to demolish the Museum of London and adjacent office block Bastion House after raising concerns over the safety of the buildings.

But a new independent report argued the buildings are in good condition and said warnings from the council that it could collapse were unfounded and factually incorrect.

Bob Stagg, a consultant to Coinsbee Engineering, published a 17-page report into the construction of the two buildings.

He concluded that there is no need for them to be demolished and rebuilt as there is not a disproportionate risk of them collapsing.

The Barbican Quarter Action (BQA) campaign group is calling on the corporation to consider the new evidence and rethink its demolition plans as a result.

The plans have previously been met with disapproval from Barbican residents, with 88% voting for an alternative to demolition.

If it goes ahead, Bastion House and the Museum of London would be replaced with a 780,000 square foot office block development and the museum would be relocated.

Opponents of the corporation’s plans have also highlighted that demolishing the buildings would create a net increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The BQA highlighted new analysis that estimates a new build would add about 20,000 tonnes more CO2 equivalent emissions than if the buildings were partially retrofitted instead.

Chairman of the BQA, Adam Hogg, said: “The City of London Corporation has stated that the most carbon efficient outcome is demolition for safety reasons to make way for new office development.

“We now have expert analysis of these claims clearly showing they are misinformed and misleading.

“We now call on the City of London to act and respect its own climate change policies and the views of the City’s citizens.

“All efforts should be made to ensure the lowest carbon impact of development and to create a new process of meaningful consultation to restore trust in the City’s competence in decision-making.”

Bastion House, in the Barbican Quarter (Alamy/PA)
Bastion House, in the Barbican Quarter (Alamy/PA)

A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation said: “Our proposals have been carefully developed with industry experts, and would deliver cultural, community, and economic investment, and public realm improvements for the benefit of City residents, workers and visitors.

“With the Museum of London planning to move, and Bastion House falling below the standards expected for an office block, it is important to find a viable new future for the site.

“Fully retaining the existing buildings is not a suitable option due to significant structural issues, fire safety, very poor energy performance and the limited uses which would be possible at the site.

“Redevelopment allows for a larger, more efficient scheme, and will deliver lower whole lifecycle carbon emissions in comparison to the part demolition/part retention option, per square metre.

“On balance, redevelopment is therefore considered to be the preferred option for the site.”