The Barbican Association has challenged Heron International over its plans to alter the external appearance of its residential tower Milton Court in the City of London.

The residents association, which represents the tenants of the Barbican Estate, is questioning the developer’s interpretation of a condition of its planning consent for the tower which is located to the north east of the Barbican.

It said Heron plans to turn the building from a pale building to a dark one which ‘is black and bling’.

The association said: ‘We expressed our dismay at what seems to be a radical departure in surface appearance from the building that was approved by the planning committee….If the proposals remain as they were when we saw them, we will take this up with the planning department.’

The City of London Corporation has now decided Heron’s new plans for the finish of the building must be approved by the Planning and Transportation Committee at a meeting in September.

Heron International, founded by Gerald Ronson, received planning permission to develop a 27-storey residential tower at the site of a former morgue and fire station in November last year.

Its plans comprise 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.

It is not thought this delay will have any significant implications for the development timeline of the tower.

Heron has consulted with local residents and local housing groups throughout the planning process and proposed to change the exterior to meet some concerns that were raised out of this consultation.

Heron International was selected as preferred development partner for the £100m scheme in June 2006.

Jane Smith, Barbican Association chair, said Heron had given very convincing arguments explaining the aesthetic reasons to alter the external appearance of the tower. ‘We know from experience that it [a darker tower] is a bit gloomy to look at from our windows on a rainy, winter day,’ said Smith.
David Walker Architects designed the tower.