City Election 2022 – Re-Election as Common Councilman


I have been Common Councilman for five years, and it is an honour to serve the Ward of Walbrook and thank my voters for their continuous support.

Both James and I really hope to continue to serve you.  Please follow this link to our joint aims and objectives.

We stand as your representatives and your input is invaluable and we want to hear your views and issues: we are here to serve and help you in the City.  Please follow this link on how to contact me.

Please follow the link to James Thomson’s website.

For further information on registering as a voter or becoming involved in elections in the City of London, please click here.

Also, please visit: this website as a central point for information and engagement with our elections.

City Academies Need You!



The City of London Academies Trust covers 10 schools in the London boroughs of Hackney, Islington, Southwark and Newham. We support over 7,400 students from inner-London communities. Over two thirds of our students come from a BAME background, 41% are Pupil Premium students and over 30% are eligible for free school meals.  

The 10 schools are: 

• City of London Academy Southwark (COLAS), a secondary school with sixth form provision; 

• Redriff Primary School, a two-form entry primary school in Southwark; 

• Galleywall Primary School, a two-form entry primary school in Southwark which opened in September 2016 and currently has children in Reception and Years 1 to 4; 

• City of London Academy Shoreditch Park (COLASP), a secondary academy in Hackney which opened in September 2017 and currently has students in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 in 2019-20; 

• The City Academy Hackney (TCAH), a secondary school with sixth form provision, the Academy joined the Trust in 2020. 

• City of London Primary Academy Islington (COLPAI), a two-form entry primary academy which opened in September 2017 and currently has children in Reception and Years 1, 2 and 3; 

• City of London Academy Islington (COLAI), a secondary school with sixth form provision. COLAI opened in September 2008 and joined the Trust in 2020. 

• City of London Academy Highgate Hill (COLAHH) This was formerly Mount Carmel Catholic College for Girls in Islington, a maintained secondary school which closed on 31 August 2017 and reopened as a new academy for boys and girls on 1 September 2017, with its first cohorts of boys now in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10; 

• City of London Academy Highbury Grove (COLAHG) This was formerly Highbury Grove School, a maintained secondary school with sixth-form provision in Islington which converted to academy status and joined the Trust from 1 December 2017; and 

• Newham Collegiate Sixth Form (NCS), Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre was a sixth-form provision managed by Newham Council. This post-16 provision was transferred to a new 16-19 free school academy which opened on 1 January 2018 as part of the Trust. 

This year has been extremely challenging for our teachers, parents and our students. When schools in England reopened in March, many children and young people had faced almost a year of learning disruption. The Education Endowment Foundation has warned this impact is likely to reverse progress made in the last decade to close the education attainment gap. Students in our Academies are part of communities most impacted by the pandemic. 

As state schools the Academies are financially independent, but the City Corporation as Sponsor provides extremely important grants (£1.23m 2019-20 allocation) for additionality – for example providing extra-curricular activities, maths classes, wellbeing support, tailored interventions, or helping with applications to universities. To put this in context, this is an allocation of around £120k on average per school, or £166 per student. In addition, we work in partnership with the wider family of schools and have access to other initiatives such as the Culture Mile learning programme. In 2020-21 the City Corporation also provided extra Covid19 emergency funding. 

For example, last year the City Corporation provided funding to organise a summer catch up programme and the creation of a new Apprenticeship Academy to support students who are at the risk of being permanently excluded from mainstream education. Both initiatives were successful and made a real difference to the opportunities provided to our students – 345 students attended the summer catch up programme, resulting in improved grades, and last year we only had 1 permanent exclusion due to the Apprenticeship Academy provision.  

The City of London Academies Trust aims to provide a high-quality education for all our students. The Trust aims for all schools to be recognised as ‘Outstanding’ within three years of joining the Trust. Of the 7 CoLAT schools that have a current Ofsted rating 5 have been graded as Outstanding one as Good with Outstanding behaviour and the other Good. 

At the Trust we believe in empowering local schools and their leadership – both the Principal, their team and the local governing bodies – and we offer one of the lowest central costs compared to other multi-academy trusts or indeed local authority led schools. 

We couldn’t achieve this success without our fantastic teachers and staff, but also our local governors who volunteer their time to support our schools. I would therefore like to encourage anyone who is interested to contact me about options to join as a governor or trustee. Together we can make a difference. 

Bank Junction next step changes coming soon



Following the implementation of the measures to reduce traffic to buses and cycles across Bank Junction between Monday to Friday, 7am to 7pm, the City of London Corporation has been looking at ways to further enhance the Bank Area and in particular to improve it for pedestrians.

Image showing proposed widening of footways and crossings at Bank junction

A report was approved at the 22 July 2019 Streets and Walkways Sub-Committee to provide an interim footway widening scheme, including wider pedestrian crossings at the junction and enhanced cycle advanced stop lines.

This work should begin in early 2020 and proposes to increase the areas of pedestrian footways and wider pedestrian crossing areas.

A summary of the work is as follows:

• Work to improve the Bartholomew Lane junction at Threadneedle Street will be completed before Christmas, narrowing the junction to improve the experience for people walking.

• The coloured areas show the proposed increased areas of footway and wider crossing areas. This provides a 52% increase in footway space around the main part of the junction. This work is likely to take approximately 6 months and is expected to be delivered during 2020.

• The work will require some weekend closures of the arms to traffic while work on the traffic signals is undertaken.

For further details of the times and dates of the delivery of this scheme, please see the Bank on Safety web page

One in a Hundred!


, ,

Helen Evans is such a lady. She was recently sponsored by the Ward of Walbrook, by Deputy James Thomson and Common Councilman Peter Bennett for the Freedom of the City.

Nothing too unusual in that, except that Helen was one of the 100 women granted the Freedom of the City as part of the celebrations of the Centenary of Female Emancipation.

A “century of women” connected with the City has been honoured with the Freedom – with Walbrook Ward putting forward Helen for her long service to the Community as an Advice and Wellbeing Manager based at Toynbee Hall –

Helen, originally from South Wales, was delighted to receive the honour. She said, “It’s not often that workers in the community get recognition and I am delighted to receive the Freedom on behalf of all my hardworking colleagues”.

Moving Bank Junction – Forward!


, , ,

As you will be aware, following the recent trial of traffic restrictions at Bank Junction, the restrictions became permanent in September 2018. The scheme restricts the users of Bank Junction on weekdays, 7am-7pm, to pedestrians, bicycles and buses. In terms of what it has achieved:

• The number of vehicles using the Junction in this 12 hour period has reduced by over 2400% since the trial started

• Casualty numbers across a wide area around Bank have reduced by over 25%

• Air quality and environmental improvements have also been recorded

But what now? Well, options for further improving Bank Junction are progressing to make it even safer, feel less crowded, less polluted and enforce it as a place for people at the heart of the City. The Planning and Transportation Committee has now looked at three of these options, broadly as follows:

• Option 1: to keep current vehicle movements

• Option 2: to reduce the current vehicle movements to 2 or 3 routes across the Junction

• Option 3: to virtually remove vehicle movements and create a full pedestrian scheme

The Committee has agreed to move to Option 2 but with the long-term vision of potentially moving to the full pedestrianised scheme. Option 3 involves getting agreement with other bodies, such as TfL buses, and has to be linked with the Bank Station improvements due for completion in 2022. It may, therefore, take some time to achieve.

In developing Option 2, there will be a period of Public Consultation (probably in mid-2020) on the pros and cons of which routes across Bank Junction should be kept open. The involvement of those working, living and travelling through Walbrook Ward will be encouraged. This process, in itself, is likely to take some time.

So, consideration is being given to early improvements such as widening footpaths and improving safety around Bank. Bartholomew Lane is one such area where diverted traffic conflicts with pedestrians at its junction with Threadneedle Street. Concern about this was raised by a voter in the Ward with Peter Bennett. Liaison has taken place with the relevant Highways people and an experimental solution is to be trialled shortly.

Your Ward representatives, John Garbutt, James Thomson and Peter Bennett, remain committed to closely monitoring the development of the Bank Junction Scheme, to ensure the range of interests in the Ward are fully considered. We would encourage you to contact us with your thoughts so that these can be fed into the consultation process.

Cheapside (and Walbrook Ward!) Business Alliance


, ,

The Cheapside Business Alliance (CBA) was established in 2015 as a Business Improvement District* – bringing together the business community to work in partnership with the City Corporation, building a sustainable and dynamic destination in the heart of the City of London. The CBA spans a number of Wards but incorporates the whole of Walbrook Ward at its eastern extremity.

Over the last decade we have seen the whole area re-emerge as a premier retail and cultural quarter, becoming one of the City of London’s leading shopping districts. The challenge is to help define this prestigious location and build on the area’s unique charm, positioning it as a seven-day destination.

The CBA working in partnership with the City of London Corporation has developed The Cheapside Privilege Card. The Privilege Card offers a range of discounts and promotional offers in and around Cheapside to city workers. Please see the CBA website for further details.

As a partnership, the Cheapside Business Alliance demonstrates a strong track record of delivery, working in partnership with a range of stakeholders, across five strategic themes – identified as priority areas for investment by the local business community;

• Employment, Enterprise and Training

• Environment, Signage and Way finding

• Tourism and Culture

• Business Awareness and Networking

• Marketing and Promotion

There has been a focus on delivering a number of core social values through employment and business engagement activities. Since 2015, 200 people have been placed into employment. The Cheapside Privilege Card has been implemented and distributed to over 22,000 individuals with access to over 65 promotional offers and discounts across the area.

In 2019/2020, the CBA will celebrate completion of its first five year term. Through working together with the City Corporation, the CBA has successfully delivered on key issues such as air quality, consolidation of services, waste collection and investment in green infrastructure.

For more information on CBA please email:

Tel: 020 7332 1786

*A Business Improvement District (BID) is a geographical area in which the local businesses have voted to invest collectively to improve their environment. BIDs are business-led organisations funded by a mandatory levy on all eligible businesses following a successful ballot. Once voted by businesses, a BID term operates for a maximum of five years, before undertaking a renewal ballot

Bank Station Upgrade


, , , ,

Those of you that use Bank station should be looking forward to the improvements that are currently being made below ground. Your two Common Councilmen recently visited the new Walbrook station entrance opposite the Walbrook building to look at the ongoing construction. The station entrance is due to open in December and will provide better access to the Waterloo and City line.

Peter Bennett and James Thompson at the Walbrook entrance at Bank Station

During the morning peak, 31 percent of all passengers exiting Bank station arrive via the Waterloo and City line. The lack of a dedicated entrance/exit for this line currently leads to severe overcrowding at platform level. This entrance will increase the capacity at Bank and reduce the severe overcrowding that is experienced in the morning peak at platform level. Four new escalators and two passageways connect the entrance to the existing station, as well as two lifts for step-free access.

Construction work at the station

The new entrance has been greatly facilitated by the construction by Bloomberg Corporation of their new European headquarters and the entrance was an integral part of the construction of the new Bloomberg building.

Construction challenges have included the watercourse of Walbrook itself. The River Walbrook, from which the Ward of Walbrook gets its name, is one of the City’s “lost rivers” and is formed from two tributaries. The first originating in Shoreditch and one from the Barbican.

The Walbrook: Taking it to the ex-stream | Walbrook Discovery Programme

They merge near Finsbury Circus and flow underneath what is now the Bank of England, then running down Walbrook itself underneath the new station entrance to a sewer outlet on the banks of the Thames.

City WiFi and Walbrook


, , , , , , ,

The new City Corporation free to use Gigabit WiFi network, operated by O2 and CTIL, offers City workers, residents and visitors individual user speeds of up to 100 megabits per second across the Square Mile.

Walbrook Ward benefits directly from nine access points with many others also in the eight surrounding wards.

Two of these locations in the Ward are on Cannon Street (one at the junction with Walbrook and one at the junction with St Swithin’s Lane); three are close to Bank junction and two are on Lothbury, near Moorgate and near Bartholomew Lane. The final two are on Old Broad Street, one at the junction with Threadneedle Street and one adjacent to the Throgmorton Street intersection.

A map of locations can be found at

CTIL has also commenced the building of over 400 4G mobile “small cells”, which will provide enhanced mobile coverage at street level, eradicating any mobile network black spots. The small cells will be deployed by March 2019 and will be the first deployment of its kind to date in the UK, ensuring that the City is best placed to become an early adopter of 5G which is widely expected to become available in 2020.

City Vote 2017

walbrookvite2Yesterday, voters in City of London wards came out to vote for their councilmen in city-wide elections.

Over recent weeks, I have been on the campaign trail with my fellow nominee seeking re-election, James Thomson, hearing voter views and meeting our constituents.  It has been a pleasure to meet so many Walbrook voters – many of whom raised valuable points regarding the future success of our ward and the City as a whole.

On Wednesday 22 March, all three candidates took part in a wardmote at Mansion House, where voters could hear from us individually, to discuss our mandate for election and share our views on how to promote the ward.

walbrookvite1Yesterday, voting took place from 8am to 8pm and around an hour later, results were announced.  I am honoured to be re-elected as your Common Councilman for Walbrook ward, alongside James and we look forward to continuing to work for your benefit, promoting constituent views to the various strategic committees and ensuring your concerns and suggestions are brought to the discussions.

Thank you for choosing to believe in our joint vision for Walbrook and do make sure you stay in contact with me and James over the next few months and years – we stand as your representatives and your input is invaluable.