Tuesday 23 March 2021

Ben Jonson House Group Committee Minutes - 17th March 2021

From the house group:

Minutes of Ben Jonson House Group

17 th March 2021 7pm via Zoom

Attending from Committee:

Helen Hulson (Chair), Fiona Lean, Stephen Chapman (Treasurer) , Wendy Spurry (Secretary), Jane Bickerton, Kevin Bond, Simon Frew, House Officer BEO

Action points from AGM 15.01.2021

Action Point 1: The House Officer to find out when By Laws notices will be put in place
Update: The wording and fines are still being finalized, to be put up in the existing places plus the ‘hotspots’. No actual timeline for installation at this point. ONGOING

Action Point 2: Notices of numbers to call for nuisance activities to be reprinted and put up in lifts and notice boards. COMPLETED

Action Point 3: The Committee to investigate the options for the hiring and funding of security staff

Action point 4: Wendy Spurry to discuss the planting of key areas on the Highwalk with the Gardening Committee

Action Point 5: Committee to investigate with the House Officer on the possibility of installing pedestrian buttons
Update: ONGOING. House Officer to check if this is a possibility

Action Point 6: The House Officer will update the Committee with any progress on internal redecorations.
Update: See RCC Report later in the minutes for further info

Action Point 7: Wendy Spurry to liaise with the estate office on costs of the new gate and discuss with the Barbican Wildlife Garden team to see if this is feasible.
Update: See points later in the minutes for further info. ONGOING

Action Point 8: The House Officer is to look into health and safety in the Bridgewater square area of garden as there is no ready access other than from the far side of the garden at present.
Update: Part of Action Point 7, see below

Action Point 9: The House Officer will speak to Highways team about the lighting on the perimeters of the estate as it is not estate responsibility, and also ask the estate engineers if they can look at the problem.
Update: ONGOING; The Globes have been replaced all along the Ben Jonson Highwalk, but the lighting below the balustrades is still dark. House Officer to chase up the Highways Team for dates on repair

Action Point 10: Helen to let the new members of the committee know the dates of the committee meetings.  COMPLETED

Election of the Committee and recruitment of new committee members

Helen Hulson relinquished her Chairmanship at the recent AGM. The Committee elected Fiona Lean to take over this role.

Due to pressure of work, Kevin Bond was unable to continue as Secretary during the the 2019-2020 period and Wendy Spurry stepped in. Her appointment as Secretary was confirmed.

Stephen Chapman is willing to continue as Treasurer.

Both Helen and Kevin will continue as members of the Committee, as will Jane Bickerton.

Two new members, Linda Stubbs and Si Frew, volunteered at the AGM and were warmly welcomed.

The Chairman stepped down at our AGM on 15 th January and two new members volunteered. This evening the Officers were elected and members volunteered for various tasks as required. As our House Officer is retiring, the committed thanked her for all she has done and wished her well for the future. She had been presented with a card and gift token prior to the meeting.

Roles covered by Ben Jonson Committee members

Fiona asked for a run down on the roles and responsibilities undertaken by each BJ Committee member and this was duly dealt with.

Treasurer’s report

No change since last report at AGM

RCC report

(See papers circulated by Fiona prior to meeting). Fiona summarized key point of interest:
  1. The RTA audit is to be done this year (Bruce Badger has more details on this if required). We will retain the ‘opt in’ membership system.
  2. Podium: The BEO have put in a bid for money to redo the Podium area. Discussion are ongoing.
  3. Fire Safety: No change from last update. Plan is to put up notices as soon as possible. This is a legal requirement but liaison with residents on legibility and positioning is important.
  4. Fire Risk Assessment: Work in progress. The BEO has a provider lined up and aim to proceed without delay.
  5. Redecorations: No change since last update at AGM. The BEO’s bid for funding of between £15M and £20M for the Door Replace Project was approved in December 2020. At the BRC this week, approval was given for the first tranche to be released to enable the BEO to take this project forward without delay.  The timescale and schedule of works is under discussion. Implementation will impact on the redecorations schedule, but the plan is to dovetail the two projects so that the redecorations are not unduly held up.
  6. Working Parties: the RCC is looking to make the various working parties on the Barbican Estate more effective. They are encouraging new membership and looking to reduce duplications of effort. This should make all of them more efficient as the tools of the RCC and the Barbican Estate.

Podium ASB issues

Simon gave update from his links with the Security Committee and the BEO

Increased City of London Police Patrols Appear to Have Addressed This Issue

A new database is launching soon – there are some teething problems at the moment. However, it’s not clear what the database is to be used for. It does not replace reporting the incidents to the police, but working alongside police notification. The BEO may be using this as a record of the incidents – the number and type of nuisance involved. It’s not certain if it will register incidents that are not crimes, and breaking bylaws is not a crime as such. Some clarification of the database and its usage is required. We are still waiting for David Bradshaw to respond to this question

Signs to be put up around the estate to show what is not allowed and (possibly) the fines incurred for breaking bylaws. No timescale on this as yet

There is a working party/security committee but no-one from Ben Jonson is on it. Apparently there isn’t room for additional people at this point! We need a presence on this committee as Ben Jonson is the most affected by ASB problems.

Action Point: House Officer to investigate who is heading the security committee and whether we can nominate a Ben Jonson person to the committee. Note: this is not a RCC working party.

The link for registering lighting or highways problems is https://highwaysreporting.cityoflondon.gov.uk/ 

Arts Centre Residents Committee

There was a meeting on 18 th February attended by Wendy Spurry. Notes on this have already been sent to BJ Committee members. Still waiting for official minutes to be circulated.

One additional point to the notes: The Arts Centre will be opening for audience and customer activities in mid April.

Wildlife Garden access from BJH

Wendy Spurry liaising with the estate office on costs of the new gate and discuss with the Barbican Wildlife Garden team to see if this is feasible.

Action Point: Wendy to continue investigations

Pandemic Update

Kevin updated Committee that the need for assistance to shielding residents has dropped off, but is still available.. The weekly calls to those who are vulnerable and shielding are ongoing.


Fiona raised the issue of communication between the BJ Committee and the residents of Ben Jonson House. We should have a system of communication that is independent of the BJ Blog to keep the membership updated regularly with any important issues.

Wendy Spurry volunteered to be the Comms Officer (as part of the Secretary role)

Action Point: Wendy to speak with Bruce regarding a list of the emails of BJ members

The Ben Jonson Email Google Group – this should not be used. We will send emails to the BJ Committee, or separate committee members, as a grouping within our own emails. In this way we can avoid sending sensitive/business information to anyone outside the BJ Committee by accident.

Forwarding of emails – we all need to be aware of the sensitivity of all information in the light of the new, tougher, data laws. If we receive emails from other groups that we wish to pass along to the BJ Committee then we need to ensure that they are ‘scrubbed’ of all original data/email addresses before forwarding. Use ‘blind copies’ where required. Likewise, we need to ensure that if we send out emails outside our Committee, we need to ensure that only those email addresses that are relevant are sent out. We must be vigilant in the receiving and passing of information as we may be liable for fines if we are careless on this.

Action Point: Fiona and Wendy to make list of guidelines for the BJ Committee to follow


Helen sent minutes of the last meeting to the BJ Committee last week. She summarized the key points:

One of the key issues was the petition regarding planning arrangements in the City of London. These do not consider the residents at all, and the system needs to be made more democratic. All residents should sign the petition as it is in their interests. This can be done here: http://chng.it/Y8H6M7DsHf

There is a new website for the BA which is going live in April. It’s not live yet, but it might be a good idea for us to look at it and see what is on there. Find it here: https://barbicanassociation.co.uk/BA2021site/

Beech Street working party- the traffic order will be in place until September.

There is a new working party for the Electric Vehicles (part of RCC) and we should try to have someone on that committee.


BJ Residents should be told about the Council Tax help and advice that is available to all City of London residents. If they are having problems meeting the monthly payment they can find help here:
COVID-19 Council tax - City of London

Rector of St Giles, Katherine Rumens, is leaving on 23 rd May. There is no replacement at the moment, and there will probably be an interregnum. If anyone wishes to make a contribution to her leaving fund, it can be found on the St Giles web page, or contact the admin team: admin@stgileschurch.com

The next Book Fair at St Giles will be in mid April. If anyone has books they don’t need then please put them in the book box next to the CPA shed in the car park.

The House Officer said that some of the lifts had been repainted recently as part of a general tidy up of BJ House. If other areas need to be repainted, due to wear and tear please let her know and they can be considered for out of schedule redecoration.

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