Thursday 1 February 2018

The Culture Mile

On Wednesday evening there was a meeting to discuss the "Culture Mile".  This is a scheme to promote the cultural aspects of the City.  The Barbican Association has been looking at the proposals put forward by the City and has come up with a set of comments:

Click to read the comments paper

Here are notes taken about the meeting made by a member of the Ben Jonson House Group committee:

At the meeting were two of the City of London's Look and Feel Strategy Group, two Councilmen from Aldersgate, Residential Group reps from Blake House, Lauderdale House, Breton House, Thomas More House, Defoe House, Mountjoy House and Ben Jonson. The BA Chair, Jane Smith, chaired the meeting.

The Culture Mile discussion document is available on the web, outlining the many ideas that the Look and Feel Strategy Group have come up with for making the Barbican area more inviting to visitors, more destinational as an Arts Centre. This is a large document, which has been updated and revised several times over the year or more that the Group has been active. It was commissioned by the City of London from an outside set of consultants, but has undergone revisions from the internal Look and Feel Group.

The BA Cultural Mile Group has now written a response to the City's strategy paper (see attachment), and Jane Smith ran through the main points of the document. In short, it insists that the balance of residential and other uses of the Barbican Estate and Centre must be maintained. The Barbican is a cultural icon, and this needs to be respected in all works taken to 'improve' it. We support the improvements to the Beech Street and Barbican Tube station - both of which need a proper clean up. The signage to the Estate and to the Centre to improve accessibility is also welcomed. Cleaning up the architecture - washing it to let the texture and beauty of the design show through - also approved. However, we do not want the forecourts, highwalks and open areas cluttered with more art/pop up shops and given pretty lighting displays along 'blank' areas of wall. The Group also make the point that we are not keen to make the surrounding streets - particularly Beech St and More Lane more 'active' - as these area serve as buffer zones of quiet in a busy city - more cafes and bars will make the whole area much noisier for residents. The main thrust of the document was to ask that they do less things, but do them well. And let the architecture speak for itself.

The two reps from the Look and Feel Strategy Group asked some questions of the meeting to clarify what particular things the residents would like to see done, and areas of special concern.

The response document is to be updated as a result of the meeting last night and will be submitted to the City on Monday next week. Further consultation meetings are to take place.

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