Plans to demolish former Museum of London site paused

Image: The London Wall West development plans (City of London)

A last minute intervention from the levelling up secretary means London wall West project requires approval

Plans to demolish the former site of the Museum of London have been put on hold by Michael Gove.

Yesterday The City of London Corporation Planning Applications-Sub Committee resolved to grant permission for the redevelopment of the 140 and 150 London Wall sites, known as Bastion House and the former Museum of London.

But shortly afterward, the levelling up secretary issued an Article 31 Holding Direction on the Museum of London & Bastion House, which prevents The City of London Corporation from granting demolition permission, and means applications should first be referred to Gove.

Public consultation on the London Wall West proposals began in Spring 2021. The demolition of the existing site was expected to begin in 2028, with completion scheduled for late 2033. In its place, two large office buildings are among the construction plans, which the local authority said will create nearly 3,100 jobs.

Council meeting documents report that at least 965 objection letters have also been received, mainly raising concern around the demolition of the existing buildings and the carbon implications that demolition would have.

The London Wall West development plans (City of London)

The Twentieth Century Society “strongly objects to the scheme” due to the loss of the Museum of London and Bastion House buildings, it notes, arguing that they should be considered as Non-Designated Heritage Assets.

The plans would “cause substantial harm to the setting of Ironmongers’ Hall, the Barbican Estate (II), the Registered Historic Park and Garden (II*) and the Barbican and Golden Lane Conservation Area.”

The organisation has since joined the ‘Barbican Action Quarter’ campaign group, which is calling for the former museum building to be retained, refurbished and adapted to suit new uses.

In its planning application The City of London Corporation said the museum and Bastion House site are “very much at the end of their design lives”, and Bastion House is “no longer fit for purpose as an office building capable of providing high quality, modern office facilities.”

It says the site is “hiding one of the City’s most important historical features”, the historic Roman Wall. “As a result, passers by are almost unaware of the history that sits just out of sight”, it said.


Meanwhile, The Museum of London itself is at least halfway through a two-year process to move objects from display at its former Barbican home. It is expected to open its new Smithfield site in 2026.