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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

A new 16-storey building is to spring up in London but there will be an ancient burial ground in the car park

A new 16-storey building is set to be built in London but it will have to work around an ancient Roman burial ground which is where the development’s car park is planned. The City of London said the applicant and investment firm PATRIZIA will have little choice but to maintain the artefacts found underground at 30-33 Minories and 13 Haydon Street (Writers House), which are located above a 13th-century abbey called St Clare’s and within the eastern Roman Cemetery.

The City said plans to extend the current lower ground floor at 30-33 Minories into the car park area and excavate an additional basement across part of the site could have a moderate to high impact on the archaeological items. The report said: “If during demolition, any remains of the abbey are found on the site, conditions are recommended to secure their preservation and display to the public if they demonstrate a good survival of legible structures.

“Furthermore, if following removal of the render of the western wall at Writers House, the known upstanding remains of the medieval Abbey of St Clare prove to be in good condition then conditions are recommended to require their conservation and display to the public.” The Abbey of the Minoresses of St. Clare without Aldgate was established in the late 13th century as a monastery for Franciscan women living a secluded life.

The ancient Roman burial ground came to light when in 1957, a stone sarcophagus was discovered on the site while in 2013 developers found a Roman stone sculpture of an eagle which is presumed to come from a tomb, the council said.

A photo of 30-33 Minories in the City of London, which is set to be demolished and turned into a 16-storey office block. Credit: City of London/Google.

The development has also come under flak from residents who are concerned about the noise from construction works and the loss of sunlight. A petition calling for mitigation measures with 44 signatures was also submitted as residents have already endured construction noise from other projects.

One objector wrote: “My home should be a place of comfort and a resting place, now my home feels like a place I want to escape from. The surrounding [feeling] from all noise around me has impacted my mental health severely to the point I have become sensitive to noise which leads me to feeling aggregated, snappy to family, having low moods to feelings really heavy on my head.”

Another said: “On a commercial basis, the proposed height and scale of the building compared to the existing structure is excessive and the plans highlight it is predominantly made up of office space.” The City’s surveyors said the development would make a minor to moderate impact on sunlight for some neighbours while keeping out of sight of the view of the Tower of London.

The proposal would see 30-33 Minories turned into ‘best-in-class’ office space cladded in blue-green matt glazed brick, according to the applicant. It will have several green roof terraces with ‘English woodland’ landscaping, according to the e-architect.

Writers House at 13 Haydon Street, which is a Victorian warehouse, will be split in two with a community and retail space on the bottom floors and affordable office space above. The development, which is tipped to get the council’s approval during a planning meeting on Friday (January 26), would ‘optimise’ the use of the old Roman burial site into a ‘transformative new mixed-use destination’, a planning report said.

The report added: “It would result in a diverse mix of use, with curated and programmed publicly accessible spaces, both internal and external, transforming an underutilised site, with little active ground floor uses and limited accessible public realm, to a new commercial and cultural hub for the City and London.”

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