The lifts of 20 Fenchurch Street opened to the public yesterday, with roughly 80 excited guests heading up to be among the first to experience the building’s Sky Garden. Booking opened to visitors on 1 December and according to Rhubarb, the company running the Sky Garden’s attractions, it has been popular, with 500 bookings for the next week.
The opening hasn’t been without criticism however. Having green space which is open to the public was part of the building’s prerequisites for planning permission and some are saying the need to book in advance, along with a long list of rules, make the Sky Garden anything but public. For example, if you’re 10 minutes late for your slot you risk not getting in, and you can only stay for an hour and a half.
“It’s all part of an increasing trend of the mayor rolling over for developers,” Merism Capital founder Stephen Rockman told City A.M., having called the garden “a public space mirage.”
Rhubarb’s director of restaurants Romain Pottier argues this point though. “Everybody should have access to this place, it’s our moral obligation to let Londoners enjoy it,” he told City A.M.
“The reason for the bookings though is quite simply we need to monitor people, safety is paramount and we can’t have more than 440 people at one time.”