Battersea Power Station opens to the public for the first time after standing empty for 40 years

  • Tap above to watch video report by Carolyn Sim

A transformed Battersea Power Station opened to the public on Friday, nearly forty years after the lights were switched off and the iconic building was left to fall into disrepair.

Now, following 10 years of restoration and a £9 billion redevelopment, the iconic London landmark has been unveiled as a hub of new homes shops, bars, restaurants and leisure venues.

However, local Labour councillors boycotted Friday's public opening in protest over the project's social housing allocation.

Labour, which took control of Wandsworth Council in May after 44 years, has long been critical of how many affordable flats are included in the scheme.

There are 4,239 new homes in total on the site, with housing association Peabody delivering 386 affordable homes - almost half the number originally proposed.

"We want to see what we can do to try and make sure that as much of that social housing that was cut is brought back into the scheme," Councillor Aydim Dikerdem told ITV News.

"Because that's the real, genuinely affordable housing that those who are in homelessness situations, temporary accommodation, overcrowding - that's the homes that they need."

Simon Murphy, Chief Executive Officer at Battersea Power Station Development Company, said that wasn't a guarantee.

"There's a lot more work to do, this isn't the end of the journey - in some ways it's the beginning and as we move into those later phases we have an agreement with Wandsworth Council to enable the construction of more affordable housing if the circumstances permit it."

Friday's grand opening, which also unveiled a new pedestrianised high street, Electric Boulevard, began with an official countdown at 10am.

It kicked off the development's free Festival of Power, which runs until Sunday and resumes next Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October.

The festival will feature live performances and family-friendly activities.

The control room at Battersea Power Station in 1974 Credit: PA Archive

The iconic Art Deco building, which dates back to 1929, once supplied a fifth of the capital's electricity, including to Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.

It was decommissioned in 1983 and stood vacant for 30 years, with several failed attempts were made to redevelop the site.

As one of the largest brick buildings ever built, more than 25,000 wheelbarrows of concrete were hand-poured during the restoration, while 1.75 million bricks were ordered from Gloucestershire and Shropshire, to match the originals.

The interior of the Battersea Power Station in London on Friday Credit: PA

Mr Murphy said: "Many said it was impossible, several tried and failed, however through the commitment of our shareholders and with the support of many public and private sector stakeholders, we've succeeded in bringing Battersea Power Station back to life.”

Its historic Turbine Halls is now home to stores including Nike, Uniqlo, Mulberry and Hugo Boss, while the Arcade Food Hall, which will include Taiwanese restaurant BAO, is set to open in 2023.

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