Another day another planning battle – this time between the City of London Corporation and the Inns of Court.
The Inns' top barristers and residents are on a war path after the one of the Corporation's sub-committee voted to shut down one of the main roads leading into their buildings to traffic – a move they claim will "create a strangle hold" on the Temple.
The Corporation, on orders from Transport for London, want to extend the Cycle Superhighway into the Blackfriars area by closing the junction between Tudor Street and New Bridge Street, as well as Temple Avenue to motor vehicles.
However members of Middle and Inner Temple – two of the four Inns of Court – argue that such a move would threaten their ability to function and prevent many of the big production company who use the Inns to film Hollywood blockbusters such as Harry Potter from accessing the site.
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The move will be voted by the Corporation's top decision-making body, the Court of Common Council, on Thursday, and in a call to arms, campaigners have written to their fellow residents urging them to attend the meeting and put pressure on the council.
Gregory Jones QC, a common councilman for Farringdon Without who will be voting at today's meeting, told City A.M.: “The scheme is unnecessary and would threaten the Temple as an international film venue. Harry Potter, Mission Impossible and Silk have all been filmed here. This is just one aspect that is helping generate revenues for the City of London.”
Richard Snowdon, director of properties and surveyor at the Inner Temple, added that the new road network will make it difficult for vehicles providing catering and other services such as maintenance to the Inns to gain access.
"We have a variety of vehicles that pass by throughout the day. It is likely to cause total pandemonium out in the streets out here because all the streets will be narrow and the congestion will be greater. And it is likely to pose further costs – because larger vehicles are going to have to be replaced by smaller vehicles to come more frequently. It is a bit of a nightmare frankly," he told City A.M.
Baroness Butler-Sloss, a resident of Inner Temple for 57 years and former president the family division, who will also be attending the meeting to show her opposition, said: "We are in a process of being fenced in."
"With two road closures, they are creating a double problem for the Middle and Inner temple and we only have one entrance into the Temple which is in Tudor Street. Consequently we are absolutely hamstrung by what the City intends to do," she told City A.M.
Jones said Inns have sought independent advice have an alternative solution to propose to TfL and the Corporation that would not require closing Tudor Street to traffic.
He added that such a move by the Inns had probably never been done "since the time of the Magna Carter".
"The Inns of Court are quite an accommodating body – so it is exceptional for us to ever have objected in this way. But it is cutting off our lifeline and the City is putting the Inns in a position where reluctantly they will have to take a robust line," he said.
The Corporation declined to comment.