Temple and Farringdon Together candidates have been asked individually and collectively to set out our position on Inner Temple’s proposed Project Pegasus. The project would see the Hall and Treasury Building extended to include new education and training facilities on additional floors created by adding a mansard roof to the Treasury Building and remodelling the Inn’s library. Further details are on the Inn’s website.
The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple has applied to the City of London Corporation for planning permission for the project and that application will be considered by the Planning and Transportation Committee in due course. The Committee is made up of elected members of the Court of Common Council, including at least two representatives of the Ward of Farringdon Without, who will be selected after the elections on 23 March.
The City of London Corporation’s Planning Protocol which regulates how planning decisions are made states very clearly that:
“If a Member has compromised his position by expressing views that indicate that he has pre-determined the issue before hearing all the evidence and arguments, he should not vote.”
Members of the Temple and Farringdon Together team have their own individual private views both for and against aspects of Project Pegasus, and we collectively support Inner Temple’s ambitions to improve the Inn’s education and training facilities.
We will however not be taking a corporate view on the project so as not to risk any suggestion of pre-determination of this important application by those councillors ultimately selected to serve on the Planning and Transportation Committee.
The City of London Corporation owns and provides three courts in the Square Mile: the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey), Mayor & City of London Court (county court), and the City of London Magistrates’ Court.
All three buildings are increasingly tired and in need of a radical overhaul if they are to remain fit for purpose in the twenty-first century and all three present significant access issues for disabled court users.
Temple and Farringdon Together, recognising the importance of these facilities to stakeholders in our Ward, welcome the Corporation’s decision with HM Courts & Tribunals Service to invest around £30 million in refurbishing the Old Bailey, bringing its infrastructure up to modern standards.
The same now needs to happen with the county court and magistrates’ court, which require either significant spending on their current sites or a proposal to move them individually or together to a new location, possibly close to the Old Bailey where some facilities might be shared. In any event, all three courts must be made fully inclusive to all who need to gain access to them.
Temple and Farringdon Together‘s Edward Lord, who sits as a Justice of the Peace at the City Magistrates’ Court and hearing appeals at the Old Bailey, commented:
“The City’s Courts are in a fairly dismal state and need a great deal of care and attention to bring them back up to the quality that the judiciary, advocates, staff, and other court users expect, especially of the nation’s premier criminal court.
We are delighted that the City is addressing some of the challenges at the Old Bailey and will be lobbying hard to see improvements at the other two courts, or possibly even a move to new state of the art premises.”
Last year’s plan by Transport for London to close Tudor Street brought home to many who live and work in the Temple the importance of closer liaison between the Inns and the City of London Corporation. It was only through the swift action of local City Councillors Edward Lord, Paul Martinelli, Wendy Mead and Gregory Jones that saw the decision to close Tudor Street reversed at April’s City Council meeting.
Since then, through the hard work of Edward, Paul, Wendy, and Greg, and the leadership of the City’s new planning chairman Chris Hayward, a new proposal was brought forward which keeps access and egress via Tudor Street and neighbouring roads and which has the support of both Inner Temple and Middle Temple and many local occupiers.
Looking forward, the Temple and Farringdon Together team are committed to ensuring access to the Temple is maintained and enhanced, including pressing for the re-opening of Temple Avenue onto the Embankment.
T&FT team member, Oliver Sells QC, a Temple resident and tenant at 5 Paper Buildings, said:
“It is crucial to the ongoing success of the Temple as the heart of the legal profession that barristers and their clients can get into and out of the area without hindrance. That is why Temple and Farringdon Together is determined to keep Tudor Street open and to review the closure of Temple Avenue’s junction with the Embankment.”