Gerald Ronson’s Heron International has received the green light for a City of London development that will involve the demolition of the Barbican centre’s oldest building.
The City’s planning and transportation committee approved Heron’s revised plans to redevelop a former morgue and fire station to the north east of the Barbican.
In the revised plans, designed by architect David Walker Architects, Heron will develop a 27-storey residential tower, comprising 284 flats, above a five-storey podium level that will be occupied by the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. The school extension will include a 625-seat concert hall and a 225-seat training theatre. The development will also involve redeveloping Milton Court on Moor Lane, which is occupied on a temporary basis by the City of London.
The tower height has been reduced from 155m to 127m removing it from views of St Paul’s Cathedral from Blackfriars Bridge. The entrance to the Guildhall School has been given ‘greater presence’ while the building’s form ‘has been simplified to more clearly mark the difference between the school and the residential elements’. A new sustainability plan has also been drawn up as part of the revised application.
Heritage group the Twentieth Century Society has vehemently opposed the scheme arguing that the original Milton Court building is an important part of the Barbican's history. The building is subject of a Certificate of Immunity from listing.
Heron International was selected as preferred development partner for the £100m scheme in June last year.