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Work on Battersea Power Station 'to go ahead'

Aerial view of Battersea Power Station. Photo: PA

The redevelopment of Battersea Power Station, one of the best-known sights on the London skyline, will begin later this year, its new owners have said.

The Art Deco 1930s power station and its instantly recognisable concrete chimneys are to be regenerated to form the centre of an £8 billion redevelopment of the 39-acre site on the south bank of the River Thames.

Preparatory work for the plan to build 3,500 homes, 1.7 million square feet of office space, shops and a park, will begin later this year, with ground broken in the second half of next year, the Malaysian consortium behind the plans said.

The group bought the site for £400 million earlier this year, scuppering the plans of Chelsea Football Club, which considered the site for a new stadium away from its Stamford Bridge ground.

Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, president and chief executive of SP Setia, which with Sime Darby and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) make up the consortium, said:

Battersea Power Station is a wonderful building and both it and the centrally-located Nine Elms area surrounding it are in need of regeneration.

As property developers, we are very proud to be part of the team that will bring them back to life and ensure they are preserved for future generations.

With the sale now complete, we can move forward with our vision to build a vibrant, accessible and functional town centre for the Vauxhall, Nine Elms, Battersea area with the power station at its heart, creating up to 26,000 new jobs in the process.

Phil Bayles reports on the consortium who are promising a development project which will create 20,000 jobs.

The consortium has planning consent to build the homes and office space. It also plans to build a Tube station on the premises that will connect to the Northern Line.

The power station, featured in English Heritage's Heritage At Risk register, has been vacant since being decommissioned in 1983.

It appeared in The Beatles' film Help!, Hitchcock's Sabotage, and in an episode of Doctor Who.

The imposing structure has been crumbling away for almost 30 years, the victim of a series of failed regeneration projects.

The site was designed with help from Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the man behind London's red telephone boxes.

From the start it was controversial, with many Londoners objecting to it as an eyesore which spewed pollution into the heart of the capital.

The completion of Station A in 1933 saw the first two chimneys come into operation, with the second phase completed in 1957.

After it was shut down, Alton Towers' creator John Broome planned to create a massive theme park at the site.

He demolished the roof and west wall but the park, scheduled to open in 1990, never materialised.

When Parkview International took possession of the station, plans for a retail super-site also failed.

Planning permission for the £5 billion development including homes, offices, a hotel, retail and leisure facilities was secured for the site from Wandsworth Council last year.

Today's announcement is a significant step forward in the transformation of Nine Elms on the South Bank.

The district-wide regeneration programme will be one of the greatest sources of new jobs and homes in the country over the next few years.

The redevelopment of the power station site has an important role to play and is key to funding the Northern Line extension.

This is the most exciting development in London and will deliver a massive boost to economic growth.

– Ravi Govindia, the council leader

A spokeswoman for English Heritage, which approved the plan for redeveloping the power station and surrounding area, said:

The power station is listed at Grade II* in recognition of its powerful scale, celebrated silhouette, and that, as a power station, it was the first to rationalise large-scale distribution of power.

The 'Cathedral of Power' provided a fifth of London's electricity.

The building is a masterpiece of industrial design.

It is one of London's most prominent landmarks and one of a few with a genuine claim to the title 'iconic'.

History of Battersea Power Station's proposed developments:

In February 2012, for the first time in its history, Battersea Power station was put up for sale on the open market, to anyone with a lot of imagination, and an estimated half a billion pounds.

In December 2011 there was another blow for Battersea Power Station. After standing empty for three decades, plans to re-develop it collapsed after the site's owners defaulted on their debts.

In February 2011 the government was poised to approve a new scheme for the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station.

Another new set of plans were unveiled for Battersea Power Station in June 2008.

In November 2006 there were plans being considered by Wandsworth Council to build flats and offices nearby and renovate Battersea Power Station.