8th October 2013
Battersea Power Station has been added to the World Monuments Fund's "World Monuments Watch" for 2014 following an application by BPSCG sponsored by Lord Dubs.
Battersea Power Station is included in the World Monuments Watch with 66 other endangered buildings and sites around the world. The list was announced at a press conference in the World Monuments Fund's headquarters in the Empire State Building in New York City yesterday. Battersea Power Station was previously included in the World Monuments Watch in 2004.
A film of the press conference in which WMF President Bonnie Burnham announces the sites on the 2014 World Monuments Watch can be seen here. Battersea Power Station is discussed 24 minutes in to the film.
The London office of the World Monuments Fund issued the following statement:
Battersea Power Station is one of London’s most iconic landmarks and an unforgettable presence on the capital’s skyline. The building is a twentieth-century feat of architecture and engineering and a favourite icon of popular culture – it featured in the 2012 Olympic closing ceremony and was visited by over 38,000 people as part of London’s recent Open House weekend.
Battersea Power Station was first Watch listed by World Monuments Fund in 2004. Ten years on, it is still a building at risk. No substantive repair works have been carried out since 1983, and in 2007 the power station was upgraded to Grade II* status on account of its powerful architectural and historic significance and the degree of loss the building has suffered.
WMF will keep the spotlight on current redevelopment plans for the power station site and the impact existing proposals will have on the future of this heritage asset. The rebuilding of Battersea’s iconic chimneys has been the focus of much media attention. With demolition and subsequent reconstruction plans scheduled to start on the chimneys in 2014, WMF’s renewed focus on the site supports the campaign to ensure that these icons are rebuilt and the famous South London skyline is reinstated as soon as possible.
We will also be holding our own event to commemorate the inclusion of Battersea Power Station on the WMF Watch List tomorrow, Wednesdy 9th October. Meet at Battersea Power Station Gate 2 in Kirtling Street at 2.45pm.
23rd May 2013
1/4 billion financial shortfall in Phase 1
Figures released in the press this week reveal a 1/4 billion pound shortfall in in the funding for phase 1 of Sime Darby's project for Battersea Power Station. More to follow.
10th December 2012
Battersea Bulletin No28 published today
Power Station owner Sime Darby carried out illegal logging in Malaysia, endangering habitat of orangutans
12th May 2012
The Guardian has published this article by Rowan Moore on the case for preserving Battersea Power Station, which echoes many of the ideas we have been advocating over the years: incremental development, housing provision etc.
4th May 2012
BPSCG's charitable organisation, the Battersea Power Station Company has written to Ernst & Young to offer £1.00 for Battersea Power Station and Battersea Water Pumping Station, in time for today's sale deadline. We don't want the South Lambeth Goods Yard side (the flat land to the south of the Power Station) which can be developed commercially. However we have asked for an endowment from the new owner of the South Lambeth Goods Yard side to fund repair works to enable us to open the building to the public. Click here to see our offer letter.
14th January 2012
Event Magazine reports today that the Ecovelocity, the low carbon motor show, which was due to take place at Battersea Power Station, has been moved to the ExCel centre in Docklands. According to Giles Brown, director of International Green Motor Events who are organising Ecovelocity, the decision was made before it was announced that REO being in administration. The event, due to take place on 10th -13th May, has been brought forward due to the Olympics.
2nd January 2012
Battersea Power Station appeared in the New Year edition of Sherlock yesterday. The Guardian has published this review by Sam Wollaston. Best line: "' Mycroft could just phone me, if he didn't have this bloody stupid power complex,' says Watson, and we immediately cut to Battersea Power station".
21st December 2011
The Guardian has published these images of Battersea Power Station today.
20th December 2011
The Guardian has published this piece about the possible move by Chelsea FC to Battersa Power Station and this piece about the current current financial situation: "The flamboyant Irish property tycoon Johnny Ronan and his business partner Richard Barrett have kept a low profile since their £5.5bn plan to revamp Battersea Power Station ignominiously collapsed into administration last week".
Both pieces are by Julia Kollewe.
1st December 2011
Following the announcement, BPSCG member Keith Garner gave an interview to the ITN six o'clock news and to LBC talk radio in which he called for Battersea Power Station to be returned to the public sector, with repairs to be funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
30th November 2011
Banks call in the Administrators
Five years to the day after it was announced that Treasury Holdings was taking over at Battersea Power Station, and after months of speculation, it has been announced that NAMA and Lloyds Bank are calling in the administrators. The announcement comes two days after George Osborne and Boris Johnson visited the Battersea Power Station site.
18th October 2011
Battersea Power Station model from Chisel & Mouse
Chisel & Mouse has launched a range of plaster models of famous Art Deco buildings, including Battersea Power Station. The models are hand made in Sussex. The ideal Christmas gift.
19th September 2011
The Irish Independent today reports that Treasury Holdings did not charge the Conservative Party for the use of the "boiler house" venue at the Power Station when it launched its general election manifesto there in April 2010. Waiving the hire charge amounts to an effective contribution to the Conservative Party of 23,000 Euros. This from a company that owes the banks hundreds of millions.
1st September 2011
30th August 2011
Co Star has this update on REO's financial High Noon tomorrow. Are they going to surprise us with a last-minute debt restructuring deal?
27th August 2011
The Irish Independent today confirms that REO "is not expected to have a deal" to fund £260m debt repayment due to Lloyds Bank and NAMA next Wednesday 31st August. If the company is unable to arrange a deal, it will have to make a statement to the stock exchange. Click here to read the article.
26th August 2011
This article puts the failure to successfully redevelop Battersea Power Station down to bad feng shui. The "energy" in the river can't enter the site due to the Power Station standing on the riverside. That's an excuse we haven't heard from Treasury Holdings so far.
20th August 2011
REO creditors appoint Ernst & Young as "debt D-Day" approaches
REO's creditors including Lloyds Banking Group have appointed Ernst & Young as advisors in advance of the 31st August loan repayment deadline. The appointment is said to be "to review the sales process and also provide insolvency advice".
The Telegraph reports delays in REO's attempt to sell a 50% stake in the development based on a site valuation of £500m. This is to pay a reported £260m owed to Lloyds and NAMA, which has taken over debts from the Bank of Ireland. A further £146 million is owed to Victor Hwang of Parkview international, which also becomes due on 31st August. However it appears from the report by Co Star Group that Parkview (in form of one of its many subsidiaries: London & Oriental Properties) has agreed to extend the deadline.
Property Week reports that REO is facing a "debt D-Day" and also suggests that the whole of the site is now up for sale, which is now valued at £300m, down from the £500m valuation in February.
The Telegraph also reports that REO's total debts are £1.5bn, "... and it has already swapped roughly 33pc of the equity in the power station vehicle for bank and bondholder debt".
Property Week adds: "REO has created a new vehicle that now owns the site, which is 54% owned by REO and 46% owned by other REO creditors, who took a stake through a debt-for-equity swap".
15th August 2011
Battersea Power Station not in Open House after all
Treasury Holdings has confirmed that Battersea Power Station will not in fact be featuring in London Open House this September. The walk through Battersea Park to Battersea Power Station, announced on the Open House web site last week, gave a clear implication that the Power Station would actually be visited. It is after all London "Open House". However the London Open House web site has now been amended to state that it will be a tour of "... the Battersea area with views to the Power Station".
We have nevertheless suggested to Treasury Holdings that they should consider entering Battersea Power Station into London Open House this year, but have yet to hear from them. Clearly health & safety considerations would not prevent the public being allowed on to the site as the temporary "boiler house" venue on the site is rented out to all-comers on an almost nightly basis.
10th August 2011
Following the very successful charity abseiling events in 2010, the Stroke Association is organising an abseil at Battersea Power Station on 19th November. Click here to register. To sponsor BPSCG member Keith Garner, click here.
9th August 2011
Battersea Power Station is to be in London Open House this year.
The Power Station will feature in a tour lead by the Twentieth Century Society, which will take in Battersea Park as well. The tour will take place on Saturday 17th September starting at 1.00pm.
Click here for details, although From what we hear the tour is already full.
Battersea Power Station has never been in London Open
House before. Parkview International was going to
open the building to London Open House in the late 1990’s,
but then withdrew it after BPSCG asked to visit as a
The question is: will Treasury still be owners of Battersea Power Station come September?
4th August 2011
Treasury's plan for a river walk and garden fails to materialise
Plans announced by Treasury Holdings earlier this year to create a park on the riverside between Battersea Power Station and the Thames appear to have come to nothing. The plan also included a proposal to extend the the river walk from the Battersea Wharf site onto the Battersea Power Station site itself, making it possible to walk along the riverside from Battersea Park. The plans announced by Treasury in a press release in March said that the park would be "accessible to the general public from July 2011". However the July deadline for the completion of the river walk and park have passed without any work happening on site. Battersea Power Station remains one of the very few riverside sites in Wandsworth without a river walk; a situation that is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future given Treasury's current financial difficulties.
3rd August 2011
The Wandsworth Guardian reports today on successful efforts by BPSCG Chair Brian Barnes to find a new location for Ian Walters' sculpture "the Barrier". The sculpture was located by BPSCG members in 2006 in the courtyard of the former branch library in Thessaly Road, now sadly due to be demolished. However Brian has persuaded Wandsworth Council to move the sculpture onto the adjacent Carey Gardens estate. The central lawn on the estate would be an ideal location. Well done Brian!
14th May 2011
The Wansdworth Borough Guardian today publish this report about Treasury's exhibition of proposals for the "first phase" of the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station site. The exhibition, which Treasury describe as their "fourth consultation" showed for a new residential building planned for the space between the railway viaduct and Battersea Power Station itself.
The proposed building - if it goes ahead - will block views of Battersea Power Station from the passing train, one of the the most dramatic views of the building. BPSCG's Chair Brian Barnes said: "Many people traveling to Victoria by train take a photo of Battersea Power Station as they pass by. The latest plan will put a stop to that as a huge barrier of flats will obscure this view which is so well liked by commuters and others."
A short film showing Treasury's Jeremy Castle describing the proposals to BPSCG's Aileen Barnes can be seen here, although when Jeremy says "start work on repairing the Power Station", he means "demolish the chimneys". Another model of the proposed building can be seen here. The brick represents Battersea Power Station, showing the considerable size of the new building compared to the listed Power Station.
5th April 2011
The Standard has this piece by Marcus Binney today about the scandal of beautiful historic building in London neglected by its owner who wants a much bigger building on the site. Help may be at hand though for the Victorian market buildings at Smithfield, as entrepreneur Eric Reynolds is ready to step in with a refurbishment project.
Eric Reynolds is the man behind Camden Lock and Spitalfields Market, and is also looking to take over vacant properties at the Shell Centre on the South Bank. Indeed the way things are going, there could be a job for Eric Reynolds at Battersea Power Station quite soon.
Binney refers to Battersea saying: Successive owners have concentrated on getting ever-more-valuable planning permissions on the 35 surrounding acres. Then, instead of starting work, they just sell it on.
Yet when the previous Chinese owners put on a big art and photographic exhibit in the Power Station there were queues thousands of yards long over several days. The riverfront, with the great column chimneys, is potentially the best outdoor stage in London. It could be a fantastic venue for concerts, product launches, fashion shows.
More about the Irish debt crisis in The Guardian today. Long after the lights went out Johnny Ronan of Treasury Holdings continued to party. The article also confirms (in a side bar in the print edition) that Treasury is now under the control of Irish "bad bank" NAMA.
31st March 2011
We were sorry to hear of the death this week of BPSCG veteran Alice Taylor aged 98. Alice attended BPSCG committee meetings during the Broome years, and into the Parkview years. Brian Barnes has written this tribute to Alice. The Wandsworth Guardian has this tribute.
30th March 2011
The BBC’s Robert Peston today has this piece on the Republic of Ireland’s spiraling debt crisis.
27th March 2011
Known as the Property Emperor in Dublin, Johnny Ronan has confirmed that - where the Dublin Convention Centre and Battersea Power Station are concerned - the Emperor has no clothes. That doesn't mean that he does not display a conspicuous amount of opulence with a private jet, two Mayback limousines and a grand home in Dublin dubbed the “Pink Palace”. Remember, he was ordered by the Board of Treasury Holdings, which he founded, to spend more time with his family after jetting off to Marrakech with Miss Wales and another model for an expensive weekend at a time when NAMA was taking over the one million Euro debt owed to the Irish Banks by Treasury. Now read more in The Independent on Sunday
20th February 2011
The Sunday Telegraph reports today that Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton is to walk a high wire between two of the chimneys of Battersea Power Station, probably on 28th February, to be broadcast on 8th March. The walk, in the Blue Peter tradition of John Noakes's epic adventures, will raise funds for Comic Relief. Helen will wear a safety harness, connected to a second wire running above her head.
18th February 2011
Is the End Nigh for Treasury?
Battersea Power Station was on BBC London News this evening, in a report about Irish developers having to sell their London properties to pay debts to the "bad bank" NAMA.
30th January 2011
The Independent has published this obituary on the life of Joan Rodker, who died recently. Joan was the mother of BPSCG founder member Ernest Rodker.
23rd January 2011
Lisa O'Carroll, writing in the Observer today, has this piece about the ongoing financial crisis in the Republic of Ireland, which is causing Irish property developers to selling their London property acquisitions.
16th January 2011
Susannah York 1939-2011
We were sad to hear the news of the death of Susannah York today.
Susannah was a supporter of many progressive causes, including the campaign to free Mordechai Vanunu, and our campaign to save Battersea Power Station. She signed the online petitition to save the chimneys in 2007.
Here is Susannah with BPSCG chair Brian Barnes in 2007. Brian said today: ".. she came to the Doddington Estate to launch a housing resource and to the mural at St Peter's Church Plough Road. I saw her in the play, Penthesilea, at Latchmere Theatre".
9th January 2011
The Irish Independent reports today that the National Asset Management Agency has reached agreement with Treasury Holdings about the total value of property it will have to sell. Emmet Oliver, the paper's Deputy Business Editor, reports that Treasury/REO will have to sell 500million Euros worth of assets in the next few years, concluding: "Key to Treasury/REO's future is selling off its interests in the Battersea Power station in central London".
4th January 2011
There is an interesting blog post today about Hearn Generating Station in Toronto, which is currently threatened with demolition. The National Post also has an article about the current controversy. Wikipedia has more background information about Hearn Gererating Station.
28th December 2010
The Guardian has this piece today about plans to convert the Indraprastha power station on the Yamuna river in Delhi into an art gallery based on the Tate Modern in London. The article states that the project could be completed in three to five years.
24th December 2010
Don't bank on Battersea
Any confidence that the green light for the Battersea Power Station proposals ends 25 years of failed attempts regenerate the site must be seen in context with the fact that its developer Real Estate Opportunities is now reliant on Irish "bad bank" the National Asset Management Agency to stay solvent.
REO's plans involve an intensive development ruining the power station's identity as a solitary urban monument. They would require the destruction of a listed pumping station and the demolition and rebuilding of the four chimneys without a convincing engineering case. With less than 15 per cent of the housing "affordable", the development risks being another high-rise yuppified enclave along the river.
More worryingly the fact that REO has had the site for four years without starting any substantial refurbishment raises doubts about its commitment to the scheme. Why doesn't it set about a more financially realistic phased development project? With the US embassy arriving, there are great development opportunities for the area that might take Battersea out of the cycle of grand plans amounting to nothing: but only with the right developer.
Keith Garner, BPSCG
Letter published in The London Evening Standard, 24th December 2010
23rd December 2010
Let's do the time-warp again, in 2010, 2011, 2012...
We have noticed a striking resemblance between Rob Tincknell of Treasury Holdings and Dr Frank-N-Furter, the Transvestite Transsexual from Transylvania, star of the Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).
The theme song of the show was called "Time Warp". We feel we are in a time warp ourselves, seeing yet another developer with grand plans that never go anywhere, whilst all the time the building deteriorates.
Also doing the Time Warp, The Standard reported today that Mayor Boris Johnson has approved Treasury's £5.5 billion project, which will "begin in a year". The start of work at Battersea is of course an event which The Standard has announced many times before.
A Happy Christmas to all our friends and supporters, and especially to Frank Daly of NAMA.
21st December 2010
The Guardian reports today that REO owners of Battersea Power Station is one of the biggest developers affected in the Irish banking crisis and is relying on the National Asset Management Agency NAMA to stay solvent. It is just a few weeks since Wandsworth Council gave outline permission for the redevelopment of land around the Power Station and chair of the planning committee Nick Cuff said it was the start of a long process of planning and we said it’s a "Battersea Fantasy". Chairman of NAMA, Frank Daly, said developers had done enormous "damage" to the country and should work for nothing to help the state recoup the money for taxpayers. Usually not openly critical and with a policy of not naming developers Mr Daly said he is angry.
The IMF, EU and NAMA should realise the asset and sell Battersea Power station. After all it is the landmark building in the declared Opportunity Zone with the US Embassy soon to be built alongside. There is also a question mark about Ballymore another Irish based company that hopes to get planning permission for land around the Embassy to be called Embassy Quarter.
17th November 2010
This report in the New Zealand Herald today, from the Bloomberg agency, relates the news of last Thursday's vote to grant planning permission and quotes REO's web site: "The power station's two former turbine halls will be used for public events such as conferences and will contain the largest ballroom in London". BPSCG spent a lot of time on the phone to Bloomberg last week, but our view about what is likely to happen to the Power Station didn't make it into their report.
13th November 2010
Who's next through the revolving door?
Seen in close discussion outside Wandsworth Town Hall after night's vote by Wandsworth Council to approve Treasury's planning application: Treasury's Jeremy Castle and Wandsworth Planner Bob Leuty. Were they talking employment terms? Watch this space.
10th November 2010
The Wandsworth Guardian has this report by Ian Mason on the forthcoming vote at Wandsworth Council. Leader of the Labour Group Tony Belton is calling for more time to be spend considering the application: “I think the council should have said: ‘Look this is so big we need a three-day public hearing to consider this properly’.”
BPSCG’s Brian Barnes said: “If it were ever built, the power station would be obscured by massive blocks of luxury flats and hotels. The station will be altered with changes that will spoil the Grade II*-listed building, with windows in the side walls, the 1950s control room dismantled, new false ceilings in the main turbine hall, pods for penthouses covering the roofs and chimneys demolished and replaced by replicas. Out of 3,700 flats only about 500 are to be part buy/part let - so called affordable. The grade 2 Battersea water pumping station will be destroyed completely.”
8th November 2010
BPSCG has issued a press release in advance of the vote by Wandsworth Council's Planning Applications Commitee on Thursday 11th November. The Borough Planner's report into the four applications relating to Battersea Power Station, which needless to say recommends approval, can be downloaded from Wandsworth Council's web site here.
Councillor Lister misspeaks
Further evidence has emerged today that Wandsworth Council has predetermined the current planning applications for Battersea Power Station and Battersea Water Pumping Station. In an email leaked to BPSCG, Coucillor Lister discussed the proposed demolition of the listed Battersea Water Pumping Station:
... a building which, as you know, shares no common history with the Power Station, has been much altered and is now empty of any equipment that might give it a positive role to play in assuring the future regeneration of the site. Such artefacts that do survive are to be relocated to locations where they can be fully appreciated. A fully argued case for demolition has been submitted that complies with the requirements of PPS5.
It sounds as though Councillor Lister, like Councillor Govindia (below), has already made up his mind.
13th October 2010
Councillor Ravi Govindia (mis)speaks
On a 344 bus returning from a recent EDO event at Battersea Studios, a tipsy Councillor Ravi Govindia was heard (rather loudly) to say: “We know the developers are just waiting to get planning permission so they can sell on”. Which developer does he mean? Not the American Embassy obviously. Surely the Cabinet Member hasn't made his mind up about Treasury's planning application already?
12th October 2010
The Wall Street Journal Europe has a report today by Javier Espinoza about Treasury/REO's restructuring plans, announced earlier this week. BPSCG's Keith Garner is quoted as saying that REO's scheme "will probably fail" due to it being too big and too ambitous. Click here to read the start of the piece. You have to pay a day subscription to read the whole article.
11th October 2010
Bloomberg reports today that Treasury/REO has reached an agreement to defer all payments on outstanding loan notes until next year. The deal seems to relate to the £150 million pounds of shares given to previous owner Victor Hwang in part payment for the buiding when they took over from the Honk Kong property developer in November 2006. It seems that Victor isn't getting a dividend.
2nd October 2010
An editorial in The Guardian yesterday - called "Ireland:Busted"- discussed the deteriorating situation in the Republic, described as: "the deepest and swiftest contraction of any western country since the Great Depression".
A letter in the Guardian today from Bev Cotton describes a culture of secrecy in the Republic surrounding Anglo Irish Bank and the National Asset Management Agency.
30th September 2010
The Guardian reports today on the increasing size of the bank bailout in the Republic of Ireland, now estimated at 34 billion Euros. The bailout of Ango Irish Bank and Allied Irish Bank has been deemed necessary due to the catastrophic losses incurred by these banks in lending to Irish property developers. The Irish finance minister warned that the failure of Ango Irish would "bring down" Ireland.
Channel 4 News this evening puts the bailout figure at more than 40 billion Euros.
25th September 2010
The Independent had today included Battersea Power Station in is series on "Minor British Institutions", describing the situation there as "shameful". BPSCG's Keith Garner has made a comment. Click here to read the article.
26th August 2010
The Irish Times reports today that interest due to REO's creditors at the end of this month will not be paid. The story is also reported in Property Week. REO is apparently in "ongoing restructuring negotiations" with the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), Lloyds Bank and others about its loans. The company announced yesterday: "taking into account the status of the negotiations, the company has determined that the interest payment due … will not be made", a statement that seems to imply that REO could pay the interest if it wanted to. But as Jean Paul Getty said: "If you owe the bank $100 it's your problem, if you owe the bank $100 million, it's their problem".
2nd May 2010
BPSCG members abseil Battersea Power Station
Brian Barnes and Keith Garner of BPSCG today abseiled down Battersea Power Station as part of a charity event organised by landmines clearance charity Mines Advisory Group. Click here for more details. Click here for information about MAG.
4th January 2010
19th October 2009
The Londonist has this sceptical piece on the latest plans for Battersea Power Station. Some wry comments submitted by readers as well.
4th September 2009
This week's Building Design chooses to downplay recent reports of REO's imminent financial demise, in favour of a report that "up to 10 teams of architects are to be hired to bring Rafael Viñoly’s vision to fruition".
Dave Hill has some comments to make about the current situation in The Guardian.
3rd September 2009
31st August 2009
The Telegraph reports today that REO is searching for a development partner, as it cannot fund the project alone. The piece quotes REO's finance director Peter Byers, who said it was "too early to comment" on who the partner might be, although the piece says "a number of sovereign wealth funds are believed to be interested". A partner is however not likely to sign up until REO has secured a new planning permission.
29th August 2009
The Guardian has today picked up on the story of REO's struggle for survival. The piece by David Teather quotes BPSCG's Brian Barnes and Keith Garner.
The story is also reported in this piece in the Irish Times, which suggests that the proposed Irish National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) will take over the loans from REO's banks. The piece also reports that REO's total UK assets are currently valued at £388m, which is less than the £400m REO paid Parkview for Battersea Power Station in 2006.
28th August 2009
The Evening Standard reported yesterday that Treasury Holdings' subsidiary REO has debts this year of £200m, up from £66m last year. The report continues: The warning raised fresh doubts over the future of the power station which has seen ideas for redevelopment come and go ever since it stopped generating electricity in 1983. The story was taken up today by the Architects' Journal.
24th July 2009
The Architects' Journal today reports on an exhibition of photographs of Battersea Power Station by Michael Collins to be held at the RIBA from 3rd to 29th September. Free entry. Click here for details.
10th June 2009
9th June 2009
The web site www.artdaily.org misidentifies Battersea Power Station in a view of Battersea by the Viennese painter Oscar Kokoschka which goes on sale at Bonhams this week. The view is in fact upstream from Battersea Bridge, so the building on the right is in fact Lots Road Power Station, not Battersea. Fulham Power Station (now demolished) is in the distance.
8th June 2008
Converse have produced a limited edition Pink Floyd boot, featuring Battersea Power Station as seen on the cover of the 1977 "Animals" album. Click here to order.
4th June 2009
BPSCG members this evening visited the exhibition of REO's revised proposals for Battersea Power Station and the surrounding site. We were greeted by Rob Tincknell and Jeremy Castle of REO who described the plans for us and went some way to answering our questions.
1st June 2009
BPSCG has released this press release, in advance of the exhibition of revised proposals by Rafel Vinoly for REO, due to go on show at Battersea Power Station on 4th, 5th and 6th June. BPSCG will be visiting at 6.30pm on 4th June. Click here to read the press release.
14th May 2009
Kevin Murphy, producer and director of the 2004 film "Battersea, Its Past, Its Future", has written to us to say that the film can now be viewed online at www.current.com. The film has interviews with BPSCG's Brian Barnes and Keith Garner, as well as a side-splittingly funny turn from Parkview's Ian Rumgay, who assures us that the building was safe in Parkview's hands. Click here to see the film.
23rd April 2009
The Architects' Journal today reports that Rafael Vinoly has been "sidelined" at Battersea by architects John Thompson & Partners. However the reports are denied by Rob Tincknell of Treasury Holdings in the online edition of the magazine.
BPSCG's Keith Garner is also quoted in the piece, saying that the number or architects brought in is irrelevant when the approach being taken by Treasury is untenable: "You could do this project in incremental phases, which would be the easy option. Why does this have to be a £4 billion project?"
19th April 2009
The Observer today publishes a list of ten "art pop happenings", including he the famous Pink Floyd photoshoot at Battersea Power Station at No4. Click here to see.
16th April 2009
Building Design reports today that plans by Make Architects for 30 storey towers on the British Gas site next to Battersea Power Station have been put on hold due to the recession. The article says that BPSCG Chairman Brian Barnes "reacted with scorn" about the the proposals in the following terms:
I am shocked that they are trying to knock down the gasholders, which are landmark industrial buildings. They [National Grid] seem to want to erase the industrial heritage of this part of London. They are trying to turn this area into a mini-Manhattan. These towers will dwarf the buildings around them, and they are not being built for the benefit of local people: they are just an oligarch’s heaven.
15th April 2009
BPSCG responds to latest REO proposals: "Battersea Power Station plans are pure fantasy"
BPSCG member Keith Garner has written to The Standard in response to REO/Treasury's latest proposals, and his letter appears in today's edition:
The Battersea Power Station Community Group played a central part in getting the Vinoly "funnel" design for the site rejected. It is not architectural detail, however, that is the main problem with Treasury Holdings' proposals but the fact that, like Parkview International's plans before, they are pure fantasy.
Repeatedly we have seen megalomaniac approaches to the site, with multi-billion budgets, promises of thousands of jobs and decade-long construction. In the present climate, these plans are less likely than ever.
When there is so much space inside the power station, why is the company proposing to construct so many buildings around it? If it is serious, it should set about refurbishing the power station in phases, starting with the switch houses, which offer standard open-plan office space. It has £100 million in borrowed funds - more than enough to get such a project up and running.
The suspicion about all this over-ambitious planning must be that Treasury Holdings is happy to keep hold of its asset without building anything until land prices increase again and it can sell the site on - as Parkview did to Treasury at a £250 million profit.
8th April 2009
REO has released images of a new "low rise" scheme for Battersea Power Station, drawn up by Rafael Vinoly. The news has been reported in The Standard, Building Design and the local press. BPSCG member Keith Garner wrote left the following comment in respond to the article on the BD web site:
Why does this have to be a "4 billion project" requiring the redevelopment of the entire 38 acre site, taking 11 years to complete, and apparently necessitating the construction of a new tube station? Why doesn't Treasury concentrate on bringing Battersea Power Station itself back into use in a sensible phased refurbishment programme, leaving new building elsewhere on the site until the future of the listed building itself is assured? I suspect the answer to these two questions is something to do with the fact that doing the development in small, achievable phases is likely to succeed, whereas it appears that Treasury's intention is to delay for as long as possible while the condition of the building continues to deteriorate and the land value goes up and up. Hence Vinoly's unviable mega-plan mark II. We saw this pattern of behaviour with the previous owners Parkview, who procrastinated for 13 years, eventually walking away with 250million of speculative profit. Treasury is clearly playing the same game. With protection agencies as useless as Wandsworth Council and English Heritage, they will probably get away with it!
3rd March 2009
The Standard has published this piece by Rowan Moore on the demise of the Dyson tower at Battersea. In a piece that is unusually perceptive for the mainstream media, Moore begins to lift the lid on Ronan and Barrett's true intentions for the Power Station:
As Ronan and Barrett are the 40th richest people in Ireland, it would be a mistake to call them stupid, but one can only conclude that they were either touched by folie de grandeur or were playing a deep game that has not yet become apparent. Certainly we can now expect them to make moist-eyed pronouncements that, following the tragic demise of the chimney, they are less able to provide such goodies as cash for a new Tube connection to Battersea. They might even suggest that, tragically, the poor old power station has to go. As the chimney was a liability and they bought the site knowing that it carried the obligation to preserve the landmark, these arguments don't stand up.
26th February 2009
Battersea Power Station's current owners Real Estate Opportunities have abandoned plans for a 300m high tower on the side, according to a report by Paul Cahalan in the Wandsworth Guardian today. The tower, known at "the Dyson", has been abandoned following a campaign by BPSCG which drew attention to the disastrous impact of the tower on Houses of Parliament.
Click here to read Paul Cahalan's piece.
13th February 2009
REO's bankers' losses increase to £10bn
REO's bankers HBOS will report losses of £10bn, it is reported today. The information comes from Lloyds Banking Group, who recently took over the ailing former building society. REO's 2007 report and accounts reveals that they borrowed over £100m from HBOS to finance "land acquisitions" around Battersea Power Station.
9th February 2009
Dreams in tatters after London backer dumps Madame Zingara
The Madame Zingara's Theatre of Dreams, a circus based at Battersea Power Station over the Christmas period, has been forced to close after a financial backer pulled out. Click here to read more.
The circus had been subject to compaints from local residents about noise. Callers from local residents to BPSCG were referred to Wandsworth Council.
14th January 2009
Battersea Power Station "a nice little earner"
The closing scene of the first edition of the new series of Minder, starring Shane Richie and Lex Shrapnel, is filmed in the derelict shell of Battersea Power Station. It seems REO is still doing well out of filming fees.
8th January 2009
A Towering Opportunity? A reader's view
BPSCG Chairman Brian Barnes has had this comment published on the Evening Standard's web site in response to the interview with Richard Barrett of REO, published on 6th January:
Why don't they go to Dubai with this ugly monster of
a Dyson shaped building? It does not fit in with London,
the Thames, Chelsea, Battersea or the power station.
These developers are of the same school of rip-off
merchants that have previously owned the listed
building. They won't be the last. If Wandsworth Council
gives permission they will just sell the planning
permission to the next "saviours " You will find that
London's mayor has no jurisdiction to decide this plan
under any existing laws. The idea to build a tube line
through the clay beneath south London will never happen
especially as it will add another £4 billion to the cost
which the developer has no plan to finance. They have
already borrowed £150 million from HBSO (soon to be
subsumed within Lloyds). Why are they not using this
loan to repair the power station? The whole plan is
designed to fail and for Ronan and Barrett to apply for
consent to demolish the power station for the ubiquitous
luxury flats that have been built all along the river
running through Wandsworth - a disaster by the local
planners over the past 30 years. They already have
permission to demolish the 4 iconic chimneys It is a
great pity that these selfish individuals might prevail.
Click here to see the Chairman's comment as it appears on the Standard's web site.
6th January 2009
The Evening Standard has published this piece about REO's proposed tower adjacent to Battersea Power Station. The article includes an interview with REO's Richard Barrett. Readers' comments are generally hostile to the plans, with Peter of London for instance writing: "What arrogance. Basically they are trying to convince us that they need to build this hideous tower or else the power station will not be refurbished. I went to the consultation and it was very obvious that nobody liked the tower - it will be visible all over central London. If we have to wait another 20 years for a decent design to come along, so be it - anything but that abomination".
11th December 2008
BPSCG member Keith Garner has had a letter published in the Architects' Journal today. Among the points made, REO is invited to submit its own version of the view of the Palace of Westminster from the South Bank. The letter also raises the question of having the Power Station done as public works, given the failure of the private sector over the last 25 years. Click here to read the letter.
10th December 2008
The Wandsworth Borough News today published a vehement denial from REO that their tower will have a damaging impact on the Houses of Parliament and Westminster World Heritage site, accusing BPSCG of being "irresponsible" in publishing the image. Click here to read the piece.
8th December 2008
The Architects' Journal is running an article on its web site today about the image of Raphael Vinoly's tower as it would appear from the South Bank, as recently published in Battersea Bulletin. Click here to read the piece.
30th November 2008
Battersea Bulletin No27 published
17th November 2008
Green Business Awards
BPSCG members handed out advance copies of the latest edition of the new Battersea Bulletin at Wandsworth Council's "Green Business Awards", held at The Grand on Lavender Hill. The keynote speaker was the inventor Trevor Baylis. REO's Jeremy Castle also addressed the meeting.
25th October 2008
The Observer newspaper reports today on the publication of "500 Places to See Before They Disappear" by Holly Hughes and Larry West, published by Frommers. The book is a gazetteer of places, natural and man made, under threat for various reasons form climate change to property speculation.
BPSCG was approached by Frommers in 2007 and supplied photographs of Battersea Power Station for inclusion in the book.
9th October 2008
Eagle over Battersea Power Station: artist's impression
8th October 2008
The Times today has this profile about Rafael Vinoly, which includes a discussion of his masterplan for Battersea Power Station. The piece gives a further outing to cliches about the "problem" of developing Battersea Power Station and the alleged lack of public transport connections of the site, which is adjacent to several bus routes and close to two railway stations. Click here to read the piece.
22nd September 2008
BPSCG has issued a press release concerning REO's finances as revealed in their 2007 annual report. Click here to go to the press release.
11th September 2008
The Architects Journal reports today that Real Estate Opportunities is letting it be known that Battersea Power Station may become home to the rebuilt Skylon, when it happens. Skylon was designed by architects Powell & Moya for the Festival of Britain in 1951. It was subsequently demolished, but a campaign has grown in recent years for it to be rebuilt. Click here to read the article.
See www.voteforskylon.com to have your say in where the rebuilt Skylon should go.
4th September 2008
The Easy Offices blog has today picked up on the Pumping Station story, reporting both Treasury's plans to demolish the Pumping Station, and our intention to keep it. Click here to read the piece. Click here and here for previous stories about Battersea on this site.
29th August 2008
Property Week today reports that REO/Treasury intend to press ahead with plans to demolish Battersea Water Pumping Station. This is despite assurances given by REO spokesman Tony Whitehead on 23rd August that the pumping station would be spared.
On a busy news day for Battersea Power Station, the Standard Magazine also has a piece on REO/Treasury owners John Ronan and Richard Barrett. The piece quotes our own Brian Barnes:
"The ideas these people have announced with such fanfare are designed to fail... What Ronan and Barrett really want is for the power station to fall into such disrepair that the only solution is to de-list it, knock it down and build thousands of flats without the inconvenience of a big building sitting in the middle of the site".
Another "industry insider" quoted in the piece says: "My view is that they will just sit on the site for years and years".
27th August 2008
A clip of he new proposals for Battersea Power Station, by Rafael Vinoly Architects for Real Estate Opportunities, can be seen on You Tube. The clip shows the model currently on display to the public at REO's compound at Battersea Power Station.
REO's public relations man Tony Whitehead describes the the Power Station to a member of the public, saying: "it looks a really good solid brick building from a distance, but the nearer you get to it, its like a facade". Nevertheless, Tony Whitehead continues: "We will save what we can, and try and restore it".
More clips to come shortly.
23rd August 2008
Battersea Water Pumping Station to be spared - Official
REO spokesman Tony Whitehead today confirmed that the Grade II listed Battersea Water Pumping Station will not be demolished. Tony Whitehead was answering questions from members of the public at the exhibition of latest proposals by Treasury/REO. Asked by BPSCG member Keith Garner about the future of the pumping station, Tony Whitehead said: "We will not demolish any listed building on the site. We have to keep them".
The announcement by REO is welcome news, coming at the end of a 12 year campaign by BPSCG to see that the other listed building on the site is also preserved. The previous owners - land speculators Parkview - obtained listed building consent to demolish the pumping station in 1997, which was renewed in 2002. However the consent expired in 2007 and Tony Whitehead's announcement is can be taken as confirmation that the pumping station is now safe.
REO's model of their proposed redevelopment currently shows a new block of flats where Battersea Water Pumping Station is located. We look forward to seeing a revised and updated model, which included the pumping station, in the very near future.
17th July 2008
Exhibition opening extended... La Lutte Continue
1st July 2008
REO leaves the lights on
25th June 2008
The Times has this piece of the same name about REO's plans for the building.
20th June 2008
Rafael Vinoly, architect to Battersea Power Station's current owners Real Estate Opportunities, today unveiled new plans for the site at a press conference at Battersea Power Station. REO has issued this press release (pdf file).
The centerpiece of the proposal is a glass covered "ecodome" from which rises a 300m high glass tower. Battersea Power Station itself is dwarfed by the new tower and proposals for the grade II* listed building are less clear. The scheme also includes a proposal for an extension to the Northern Line from Kennington Station.
The reception to the proposals has so far ranged from sceptical to outright hostile. The Guardian has published this piece by Rob Booth with pictures here. The Standard's Rob Cowan called the proposal: "A towering affront to common sense".
We say: Rubbish Rafael! Rubbish Rob! Rubbish Rebecca!!
18th June 2008
BPSCG member Keith Garner has had this letter published in the Wandsworth Borough News today, expressing concern about REO's proposals to demolish and rebuild the chimneys.
The letter points out that an independent engineering report published in 2005 showed that the chimneys can be repaired. So why is REO planning to go ahead with the demolition?
12th June 2008
Another Tory is connected wth Battersea Power Station. A profile on the Telegraph web site today tells us that David Davis's father was a shop steward at Battersea Power Station. Click here to read the profile.
11th June 2008
Ghost of Maggie Power
The Borough News today reports on BPSCG's recent demonstration at Battersea Power Station to mark the 20th anniversary of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's visit to the building on 8th June 2008.
"This is a wonderful example of private enterprise and local government working hand in hand. John Broome and Wandsworth Council are to be congratulated" Margaret Thatcher June 8, 1988.
30th May 2008
Battersea Power Station Community Group is staging a demonstration at the gates of the Battersea Power Station in Kirtling Street on Friday 6th June at 2:30pm to complain about the interminable delays. This is the anniversary of 20 years since PM Margaret Thatcher fired a laser gun to signal the start of the John Broome theme park which he claimed would be opened on May 21st 1990 at 2:30. He said "Don't be late or you will miss it". Now the current owners are talking about 10 to 15 years before it is finished. This is unbelievable when we see development going on all around the site. We are having look-a-like Thatcher and Broome to recreate the event of 20 years ago.
For further detail contact: Brian Barnes 020 7627 5821
27th May 2008
The Standard has today published a two page spread profiling Rob Tincknell, REO's man in charge of plans for the redevelopment of Batteresa Power Station. Click here to read the piece.
15th May 2008
Grand Designs: state of Battersea Power Station "a scandal"
The Power Station featured on Grand Designs today. The show was about conversions and started with Kevin McCloud standing in front of Battersea Power Station. He talked about the successful conversion of Bankside Power Station into Tate Modern and compared it to the still derelect Batteresa Power Station. He conculded by saying: "I call that a scandal".
30th December 2007
The blog Random Mostly Irish News has published this piece about Johnny Ronan of Treasury Holdings. It was first published just over a year ago, shortly after REO acquired Battersea Power Station. But it's interesting to read alongside the recent piece in Prospect Magazine.
22nd December 2007
The January 2008 edition of Prospect Magazine features an in-depth article on the "New Irish Rich", a class of businessmen who have made fortunes in recent years in areas such as finance, aviation and property development. The article contains this assessment of Treasury Holdings' co-founder Johnny Ronan:
Johnny Ronan, with his jet-black beard and long hair, is the industry's most dashing "high roller." The son of a wealthy Tipperary pig farmer, Ronan was privately educated, and after school trained as an accountant. There is a fund of stories about his exploits. After winning one bitter planning battle, he celebrated by flying 50 friends to Italy, where Luciano Pavarotti sang for them in the garden of his villa. A few years ago, he sent a voucher to his business rivals informing them that they had each had a Guatemalan pig named in their honour, as part of a fundraising effort by Trocaire, a Catholic charity. He is a keen huntsman and art collector, and owns a Humvee amphibious US army jeep as well as a €650,000 Maybach, described as "a Mercedes on steroids."
Does this description remind readers of anyone?
11th December 2007
The famous pink pig flew again over Battersea Power Station today. Last seen 31 years ago almost to the day, in almost identical bright blue weather conditions, today's pig was helping to promote the launch of The Simpsons Move in DVD. See this report in the Telegraph. BPSCG's own photos to follow shortly.
REO's "Community Forum" met at Battersea Power Station today as well, and BPSCG was there to distribute copies of the latest Battersea Bulletin. As on previous occasions under Parkview, the Forum was poorly attended. Among the attendees however was Borough Planner Robert Erskine, no doubt as curious as we are to know what's going on.
17th October 2007
BOOM! - Batman blows up Battersea
The Wandsworth Borough News today reports on last Thursday's explosion at Battersea Power Station, which is part of the new Batman film, Dark Knight, starring Christian Bale as the caped crusader and Michael Caine as loyal butler Alfred.
Reporter Paul Cahalan writes: "Frightened residents screamed holy cow and called fire crews after witnessing the massive explosion and 200ft fireball - thinking terrorists were blowing up the Wandsworth icon late on Thursday night".
BPSCG Chairman Brian Barnes is quoted saying: "We want a Battersea man to come and save the building, not Batman to come and blow is up... What kind of way is that to treat a Grade II* listed building - you wouldn't do it to a building elsewhere. There has been more money spent on making the place suitable to film than restoring it".
Further confirmation that Battersea Power Station has become a full-time film set is to be found on Wandsworth Council's web site, where the Council's film unit has Battersea Power Station as this month's "location of the month". The Council even lists the Battersea's particular qualities to help film companies decide if it the right location, which include: "derelict, blitz, faded grandeur, desolate,and abandoned". The page helpfully gives contact details of REO, for film companies looking to make a booking.
Also in the Borough News this week is this letter from BPSCG member Ernest Rodker, calling on Wandsworth Council, MP Matin Linton and Labour leader Tony Belton to take action in the light of the listing upgrade. Click here to read the letter.
12th October 2007
The London Paper has published a report on the controlled explosions at Battersea Power Station, which took place last night. Click here for details. Lots of flame and smoke. Definitely not the way to treat a Grade II* listed building!
11th October 2007
Filming at Battersea Power Station to involve explosions
Filming will be taking place shortly at Batteresa Power Station, involving controlled explosions. Concern has been expressed by local groups of potential harm to the Power Station. One BPSCG member witnessed a trial explosion carried out on the site on 21st September, causing a great deal of black smoke. The Battersea Society has taken the matter up with English Heritage.
In using the Power Station site as a film set, rather than a development site, REO appears to be following in the footsteps of its predecessor, Parkview. Surely this is not the way to treat a Grade II* listed building?
Details of the filming schedule are contained in this email from REO's Community Relations Manager Dick Tracey , which has been passed to BPSCG by a wellwisher.
5th October 2007
Building Design reports the upgrading of Battersea Power Station to Grade II*, anticipating that "revised listing status will open the door to English Heritage repair grants". Sadly the piece fails to mention that it was BPSCG who put put the building forward in the first place.
Also on the BD web site, Amanda Baillieu castigates English Heritage for failing to issue repairs notices and for agreeing to the replacement of the chimneys with replicas.
3rd October 2007
The listing grade of Batteresa Power Station has been increased to Grade II* following a four year campaign by BPSCG. The Deparment of Culture contacted us today with the good news. BPSCG has issued a press release which can be seen by clicking here.
3rd August 2007
Chimneys to be repaired?
The Standard carries a report today by Mira Bar-Hillel which says that REO may repair the chimneys after all. REO has recently appointed Buro Happold as structural engineers. Readers will recall that it Buro Happold also worked for Parkview and who persuaded English Heritage that the chimneys were "beyond repair". Has Buro Happold changed its advice? Or is REO just raising false hopes only to dash them again later? When the chimneys have actually been repaired and the building is back in use, we will celebrate.
25th July 2007
The Stately Wrecks of England: EH launched 2007 Buildings at Risk Register at Battersea Power Station
An event was held at Battersea Power Station yesterday by English Heritage to mark the launch of English Heritage's 2007 Buildings at Risk Register. The Guardian has a piece today by Maev Kennedy about the event, noting that Battersea Power Station has been in the register since it was first launched 8 years ago. Click here to read the piece. Meanwhile...
"Future is Bright for power station's site", is the message of a story in the Wandsworth Borough News today, which says that "Remedial works have recently got underway to protect Turbine Hall A... The initial work will concentrate on making the building watertight and halting further deterioration". There also seems to be a review of whether the demolition of the chimneys will proceed or not. A spokeswoman for Treasury said: "We are still assessing whether to go with restoration or replacement". Click here to read the story.
9th July 2007
The Times has published a piece today about a share issue by REO intended to raise £100m for the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station. Click here.
29th June 2007
Wandsworth Council's Leader, Edward Lister has dismissed a call from a Battersea resident to revise its 1983 development brief for the Battersea Power Station site, following the collapse of Victor Hwang's plan for the building. Dan Taylor, committee member of Ethelburga Tower Residents Association wrote to Councillor Lister to say: "This is a great opportunity to engage with the new owners (REO) and designers (Vinoly) to deliver a joined up approach to determining a future use for the site". In reply, Councillor Lister said: "There is no lack of planning policy. The brief's objectives included conservation of the power station and its setting, re-use of the building, improved accessibility, a hi gh level of employment, mixed uses to include leisure and local services, riverside walk, open space and public access."
How can Councillor Lister justify such inactivity in the face of the Council's failure to secure jobs, housing or economic regeneration in the 24 years since the brief was published? The Wandsworth Borough News wants to hear your views.
24th June 2007
The Sunday Times Magazine has today published a major piece about Battersea Power Station by Tim Rayment. The piece looks at the history of the building and the failed redevelopment schemes by John Broome and Victor Hwang.
Broome himself contributed to the article, justifying leaving the building derelict and without a roof in 1989: “I relinquished myself of all big projects before the recession struck in all its intensity. To get out of it without being rolled into the bottom of a 10m-degree volcano was an almighty success, certainly equal to the success of carrying on to a successful scheme.”
The article also discusses the employment of Dick Tracey by Parkview and subsequently by new owners REO. Dick Tracey is married to Wandsworth Councillor Kathy Tracey, although as the piece acknowledges: "... there is no suggestion that she or her husband has acted improperly". BPSCG members June Hautot, Brian Barnes, and Keith Garner are also quoted in the piece
21st June 2007
The picture of kidnapped BBC journalist, Alan Johnston, was projected onto the facade of Battersea Power Station yesterday. Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza on March 12th. The event took place this week to mark the 100th day of Alan Johnston's captivity.
20th May 2007
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERNEST!
BPSCG founder member Ernest Rodker celebrated his 70th birthday today with family and friends at The Conway Hall in central London. After a curry dinner, guests were entertained by Ian Saville, the socialist magician, turning blue silk handkerchiefs into red, and converting £20 notes into Euros. We then had an eloquent speech from Ernest's son Joel, and the presentation of a book of tributes written by Ernest's friends, followed by three cheers and a round of applause for Ernest and Soni.
The walls of Conway Hall were decorated with posters from Ernest's many campaigns over fifty years, from Aldermaston and "Stop Polaris", through the "Stop the 70 Tour" up the more recent campaign to free Mordecai Vanunu. We all look forward to many more years of campaigning with Ernest for a better and more just world.
10th May 2007
The government has issued a disappointing response to the 600 people who signed the petition on the 10 Downing Street web site, calling on the government to intervene to prevent demolition of the chimneys.
The response makes no attempt to comment on the engineering report that showed that the chimneys can be repaired. The government also seems to be under the impression that the building is still owned by Parkview.
The government's response can be seen by clicking here.
7th May 2007
Battersea Power Station played a leading role in New Tricks on BBC1 this evening. Review and detailed explanation of the plot line to follow from Brian.
26th April 2007
24th April 2007
The petition by Kaarina Miles posted on the No10 Downing St web site, calling on the Prime Minister to intervene to save the chimneys, closed today with a grand total of 600 signatures. The petition was open for six weeks. Signatories included actresses Susannah York and Miriam Margolyes and journalist Polly Toynbee. Click here to see the petition itself.
11th April 2007
The Wandsworth Borough News has today published an article by BPSCG member Keith Garner, in its "Be Our Guest" column, which outlines the proposal by the Battersea Power Station Company, to have the new Energy Technologies Institute located at Battersea Power Station.
5th April 2007
The Wandsworth Borough News has published this article about the appointment of Raphael Viñoly as masterplanner for the Battersea Power Station site.
4th April 2007
REO APPOINTS VINOLY AS MASTERPLANNER
Real Estate Opportunities has appointed Raphael Viñoly as masterplanner for Battersea Power Station. In a statement Ray Horney, chairman of REO, said: “Viñoly is an internationally acclaimed architect who has proven time after time that he is capable of devising creative and responsive architectural solutions that maximise the potential of challenging sites. We believe that his future masterplan for Battersea will ultimately result in a successful development for local residents, for Londoners and visitors to London which will complement the Power Station building itself while preserving its iconic status.”
1st April 2007
An article in the Sunday Times today by Ben Laurance, subtitled "two developers court controversy in Battersea", looks in detail at Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett, the men behind Treasury Holdings. Click here to read the article.
28th March 2007
Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, has given his backing to BPSCG's proposal that the Department for Trade and Industry's new Energy Technologies Institute to be sited at Battersea Power Station. The Mayor's support came in a written response to a question from Jenny Jones, leader of the Green Party at the GLA, and has been posted on the GLA web site.
BPSCG's proposal to the DTI can be downloaded by clicking here (pdf file).
22nd March 2007
The Guardian has today published a piece by David Leigh about the recent sale of Battersea Power Station by Parkview international to Real Estate Opportunities.
Click here to read the article.
21st March 2007
Jenny Jones of the Green Party has tabled a question to Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, asking him whether he supports the proposal by BPSCG for the Department for Trade and Industry's new Energy Technologies Institute to be sited at Battersea Power Station.
The question has been posted on the GLA web site, but as of today's date has not been answered by the Mayor.
17th March 2007
CELEBRITIES SIGN PETITION TO SAVE CHIMNEYS
16th March 2007
ENGLISH HERITAGE PRESS RELEASE
English Heritage has today released this press release following their first meeting with Treasury Holdings yesterday:
English Heritage had a first meeting
with Treasury Holdings, the new owners of Battersea
Power Station, yesterday. At that meeting
representatives of Treasury Holdings assured us of their
commitment to repair, refurbish and bring the site back
into beneficial use. They are currently in the process
of appointing a new masterplanning team for the whole
site and hope to start essential repair works to the
grade II listed Power Station within the next two
months. English Heritage stressed the need for these
works to begin at the earliest opportunity. We now
anticipate regular meetings with Treasury Holdings to
ensure that any new scheme is implemented without delay.
12th March 2007
BATTERSEA POWER STATION COMMUNITY FORUM: MEETING 13th MARCH 2007
We have received the agenda of the meeting of Battersea Power Station Community Forum, which takes place tomorrow at Battersea Power Station, at 6.00pm for a 6.30 pm start. Click here to read the agenda (pdf file).
We have also received the minutes of the last meeting on 5th December, which was attended by Victor and Vicky Hwang, in what was almost certainly their last ever visit to the building. Click here to read the minutes (pdf file).
BPSCG was previously banned from attending BPS Community Forum meetings on the instructions of Parkview International. However, following the departure of the Hwangs - and in a new spirit of cooperation and friendship - we have asked the Chair of the Forum, Mrs Ré Johnson, if we can attend tomorrow's and subsequent meetings.
2nd March 2007
REO MAKES 45 REDUNDANT AT BATTERSEA POWER STATION
Property Week reports today that Real Estate Opportunities, the new owners of Battersea Power Station, has made 45 people redundant including Parkview's former design director Steve Kennard. More to follow.
14th February 2007
The Wandsworth Borough News reports today on the aftermath of the recent announcement by Real Estate Opportunities (REO) to scrap Parkview's masterplan for Battersea Power Station and to appoint a new design team.
The report quotes BPSCG member Keith Garner: "The Parkview scheme was rubbish. It's good that its being dropped. The question is what goes in its place. Nothing should happen until they fix the power station. They need to do the whole thing in small achievable phases, starting with the A station turbine hall. REO need to prove themselves".
The report goes on to point out that the change of plan may have come as a surprise to Wandsworth Council, who just a few months ago were predicting that the change of ownership from Parkview to REO would bring a start of site. As Councillor Lister said at the time: "We are now moving towards the construction phase".
Perhaps for this reason, Wandsworth Council is saying very little at the present time. Hilariously, given that the first planning permission for the redevelopment of the building was given 25 years ago, all a Council spokesman would say was "it's early days".
12th February 2007
BPSCG supporter Kaarina Miles has posted a petition on the government's petitions web site, calling on the Prime Minister to: "prevent the proposed demolition of the chimneys of Battersea Power Station and to legally oblige the current owners to renovate the site, rather than sit on it and speculate as the previous owners did".
Please sign the petition at: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/battersea/
6th February 2007
Channel 4 News had a report this evening about the Grade 1 listed Apethorpe Hall in Northamptonshire. The Hall had been neglected by its offshore owners since 1982. It was compulsorily purchased in 2004 and £4m of public money is now being spent on a programme of repairs organised by English Heritage. The building will be sold on following completion of repairs, but the new owner must agree to public access.
2nd February 2007
Building Design reports today on the news that Treasury Holdings are set to dump Parkview's Arup-designed masterplan. Treasury has apparently refused to meet consultants who had worked for Parkview. English Heritage have also apparently requested a meeting from Treasury but have yet to hear from them. Treasury have apparently had meetings with new architects, but only after they have signed confidentiality agreements.
Commenting on Treasury's behaviour to date, the blog Rat and Mouse observes: Battersea Power Station's too important a London landmark for this kind of foolishness. Are Wandsworth Council and English Heritage really as powerless as they seem in the face of private sector muscle?
1st February 2007
New owner of Battersea Power Station, Real Estate Opportunities, has today issued a press release confirming that they will be appointing a new masterplanner for Battersea Power Station. Rob Davies, Development Director for Treasury Holdings, REO’s development manager, is quoted as saying:
“REO has concluded that the current masterplan for the site does not fully respond to today’s market conditions, nor optimise the potential of the site. We recognize that there is a widespread desire and interest to see progress happen on this site as soon as possible. We fully support and endorse that viewpoint and we are moving forward rapidly.”
The press release also confirms that discussions with key stakeholders are planned and that no further announcements will be made until these discussions have taken place and the new masterplanner is appointed.
The press release is in stark contrast to statements made at the time of the sale by Councillors Lister and Belton of Wandsworth Council and by Victor Hwang of Parkview, that the role of REO would be to implement the Parkview scheme.
Click here to read the press release (pdf file).
31st January 2007
WHAT ARE THEY DOING NOW?
Parkview's former "Community Liaison Officer" Dick Tracey showed up at the Local Strategic Partnership meeting yesterday evening representing Clapham Junction Town Centre for the first time. His daughter is the Clapham Junction Town Centre manager and his wife, Councillor Kathy Tracey, is also on the LSP. Nepotism reigns!
Local people concerned at the apparent conflict of interest on the part of Councillor Tracey may be interested to look at the web site of the Standards Board for England, which aims to promote high ethical standards for people in public life and has a complaints procedure for dealing with alleged breaches of standards.
30th January 2007
PARKVIEW SCHEME DROPPED
Reports are coming in that the Parkview's scheme for the redevelopment of Batteresa Power Station has been dropped by new owners Real Estate Opportunities. More to follow.
13th January 2007
The Blogger "Politahoic" discusses Ashley Seager's piece in last Monday's Economics Guardian which referred to the recent sale of Battersea Power Station. To read the blog, click here and scroll down to the entry entitled "Arguments for a Land Tax, dated Saturday 13th January 2007. Perhaps Gordon Brown should impose a one-off windfall tax on the recent sale?
8th January 2007
Writing in The Guardian today, Ashley Seager considers the advantages of a land tax. Referring to the recent sale of Battersea Power Station he says: "It was sold last year for £400 million by a developer who bought it for £10 million in 1993. A yearly tax on its value would have focused owners’ minds on making better use of it”. Click here to read the full article.
13th December 2006
BPSCG member Keith Garner has had this letter published in the Wandsworth Borough News, writing in response to news of the sale of the building by the Hwang family for £400m.
10th December 2006
Battersea Power Station became the focus for an intelligent global warming protest statement on November 1st, highlighting the threat of climate change relative to terrorism. Click here to read more and to see the video of the event.
8th December 2006
PRIVATE EYE No1173
It comes as no surprise that the Hong Kong-based owners of Battersea power station have suddenly sold the site to another developer for some £400m - 40 times what they paid for it 13 years ago.
As long ago as 1997 Eye 922 cast doubt on whether Parkview International and its president Victor Hwang ever had any intention of restoring the redundant and culpably neglected site, but English Heritage and Wandsworth council chose to believe them.
No doubt they will now ensure that the new Irish owners actually do something - and perhaps question whether the famous chimneys really must be replaced by replicas.
From Private Eye No1173 8-21 December 2006
5th December 2006
SECURITY GUARDS LASH OUT AT PARKVIEW'S SWAN SONG
Police were called to the Parkview compound in Kirtling St this evening after Parkview security guards launched an unprovoked attack on BPSCG members Brian Barnes and Ernest Rodker. The BPSCG members had been attempting to join what appears to be the final meeting of Parkview's Battersea Power Station Community Forum, which was addressed by Victor Hwang, to find out why Parkview had reneged on its promise to repair the listed building and redevelop the site, walking away instead with a £200m plus profit.
Without any warning, the guards grabbed Brian and Ernest as they walked through the gates into the compound. Brian was bundled back through the gate, sustaining a bruise on his arm. Ernest was held by Parkview staff within the compound until Brian called the Police.
The guards loutish behaviour seems to be because they are unhappy about being made redundant. Fortunately they will not have far to go to find new jobs. One of Parkview's few contributions to the area in 15 years was to pay for the redecoration of the Job Shop in the Cable and Wireless Building at the end of Kirtling Street.
Also redundant is Mrs Ré Johnson, Chair of the Battersea Power Station Community Forum, who declined to answer BPSCG questions when she arrived at the meeting.
At the end of the evening Victor and Vicky Hwang were driven away, taking their £200m plus profit with them. Will we ever see them in Battersea again? We hope not.
4th December 2006
WORLD MONUMENTS FUND ISSUES PRESS RELEASE FOLLOWING SALE OF POWER STATION
The Director of the World Monuments Fund in Britain, Colin Amery, has issued this press release, following the news that Parkview has sold Battersea Power Station for £400million:
The re-sale of Battersea Power Station changes the situation from dire to even worse - exposing the real intentions of Parkview whose plans for the Power Station itself have always lacked credibility, as we suspected. The Grade II listed building by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott is not just a magnificent London icon but of international significance as a landmark of 20th century architecture. It was easy for Parkview to make all the right noises to gain a planning permission that has enormously enhanced the value of the site. The new owners have no new ideas for the site - they should be aware that any further long delay will endanger the power station to a state where it can no longer be saved. World Monuments Fund in Britain deplores Parkview's cynical use of the site simply as a lever to produce cash and calls on London's planners to insist on revisions to the scheme including enhanced infrastructure to encourages new uses for the power station - perhaps the greatest indoor sports centre for the Olympics and the future use of the local population. World Monuments Fund placed Battersea Power Station on its Watch List of the world's 100 Most Endangered Sites in 2004 with good reason. Battersea Power Station is an icon not an albatross - Londoners love it and its recent opening as an arts venue revealed its glorious scale and great architecture - qualities to be valued not destroyed.
The World Monuments Fund included Battersea Power Station on its List of the World's 100 Most Endangered Monuments in 2004, following an application by BPSCG supported by Lord Dubs.
2nd December 2006
The Guardian has today included a piece "In Praise of Battersea Power Station". You can add your own comments in praise of the building by clicking here.
30th November 2006
BPSCG has issued this press release, following the sale of Battersea Power Station to Treasury Group, announced earlier today.
Irish public radio RTE has confirmed that Battersea Power Station has been sold for 595m Euros, approximately £400m. The new owner is Real Estate Opportunities. The Irish company, Treasury Holdings, has a 60% stake in Real Estate Opportunities.
REO development director Rob Davies, interviewed on Irish Radio RTE this morning, denied that the project had been disaster upto now, and said that delays during the ownership of the previous owner, Parkview, were due to the complexities of the project.
BPSCG member Keith Garner, also interviewed, said that the Parkview had in fact deliberately allowed the building to get into a very bad state. He hoped that the new owner would take a different approach and make an immediate start to the repairs, rather than continue Parkview's policy of neglect.
Rob Davies denied his company was a land speculator, but said that REO would be taking a long term approach to the project.
Parkvew International will pay off the £150m loaned to them by the banks and will walk away with £250 in profits, having done nothing for the area in 15 years. Parkview has issued this smug press release.
To contact BPSCG call: 020 7627 5821 or 07876 163638.
24th November 2006
The New York Times business section has today published an article about the recent changes at Battersea Power Station, and the role now being played in the project by Vicky Hwang, who took over as Head of Leasing this summer.
The article also reports further delays and questions over Parkview's ability to finance the project. Victor Hwang is reported as saying: "The project should be finished by the 2012 Olympics". This is a further two years delay on the previous completion date of 2010 given by Parkview's Ian Rumgay, which was itself ten years later than the original opening date of 2000 promised to Alf Dubs in 1995. The article also reports that the Hong Kong Parkview Group is made a loss of 22.6 million Hong Kong dollars in the year to 31st March.
BPSCG's Brian Barnes is reported as saying: "We’re looking to the next stage, when another speculator gets a hold of it”, adding: "The Hwang family says they've spent £200 million, but you can’t see where that’s been spent”.
Click here to read the article.
22nd November 2006
Stuart Holmes has sent BPSCG some photographs of Battersea Power Station, taken in the early 1980's. The photographs show parts of the building that are no longer there, having been demolished by John Broome or the Hwang family. Click here to see the photographs. The photographs of the building 25 years ago contrast markedly with the recent images of dereliction seen at the China Power Station exhibition.
15th November 2006
BPSCG ARE "HEROES OF THE WEEK" - TIME OUT
13th November 2006
BATTERSEA POWER STATION SHIRTS FROM YOU ON EARTH
BPSCG is pleased to announce the addition of a range of Battersea Power Station shirts to our range of merchandise. The shirts from You On Earth feature an image of the Power Station designed by Paul Agar.
10th November 2006
NOW THE CONTROL ROOM CEILING IS "BEYOND REPAIR"
Louis Hellman is spot on again in the cartoon published in the Architects' Journal today. Parkview representative tells a Council man: "Once we get rid of the chimneys and develop the site for luxury housing, it will be as good as new!"
Meanwhile in an adjacent article by Richard Vaughan, Parkview's Ian Rumgay attempts to justify the latest delays: "We are waiting for a definition of 'complete' from Wandsworth Council". This sounds to Vaughan "like a Monty Python sketch".
BPSCG's Brian Barnes said: "It's quite clear they have to sell the site and they never intended to build the leisure centre that the promised all those years ago".
"They just want to mothball the power station, make it wind and weather tight, the develop the surrouding site into flats, to make a more attractive prospect for whoever will buy it - be it Ballymore or Treasury Holdings".
Click to enlarge www.louishellman.co.uk
The developer behind plans to turn Battersea Power Station into an upmarket leisure, shopping and housing facility, wants to vary the Section 106 (s106) planning agreement already in place for the scheme, according to a local pressure group.
Details of Parkview International’s desired amendments to the s106 agreement, which states that the power station must be redeveloped in its entirety before anything else can be developed, remain unclear.
Brian Barnes, chairman of residents’ organisation the Battersea Power Station Community Group, claimed: ‘Parkview would like to start development on a residential scheme in part of a 6ha site attached to the power station, however, but has so far been refused.
‘It is now questioning what is meant by “in its entirety”, and whether it can simply put a roof on it, and leave it as a shell that is watertight.’
But Parkview is absolutely refuting this statement, saying instead that it would get the building ready for tenant fit-out, which would include the installation of new floors as well as a provision of a roof over the turbine hall.
‘[Parkview] was suggesting hotels, and shopping malls with fountains,’ said Barnes. ‘But since it has engaged in talks with Irish firm Treasury Holdings, it is happy just to get the site into shape, and start residential projects, which would be more attractive to Treasury.'
Barnes added: ‘Treasury is not interested in hotels and shopping malls, it just wants to turn the whole site into luxury apartments like the rest of Wandsworth riverside, and Parkview realises that.’
by Richard Vaughan Architects' Journal Online, 23rd October 2006
BPSCG members today tracked down a sculpture by Ian Walters which was thought to be lost. The abstract sculpture is located in the former branch library in Thessaly Road, at the junction of Condell Road. The sculpture stands in the central courtyard, although covered by ivy. The building is no longer open to the public but we were able to see the sculpture courtesy of the staff there.
The sculpture cannot be seen by the public except by special arrangement and so the the suggestion has been made that the sculpture should be moved to a public location elsewhere in the borough. A crane would be required to lift the sculpture out of the courtyard and funds raised to relocate it at a new site.
Present state of sculpture. Photo: Brian Barnes
BPSCG has posted a page about Ramport Studios, Thessaly Road. The studios were owned by The Who, and were the venue for a number of important recording sessions in the 1970's, including the making of The Who's Quadrophenia album in 1973. Although the studios are long closed, the building is probably worthy of a Blue Plaque. Click here to go to the page.
An article by Mira Bar-Hilel in The Standard today also reports that Parkview has applied to start building houses and offices adjacent to the site before the refurbishment of the listed Power Station.
BPSCG's Keith Garner, quoted in the article said: "Hwang should get off the site, because he is clearly not serious about doing the work to the power station".
An article by Robert Booth in The Sunday Times today reports today that Victor Hwang's plan to transform Battersea Power Station into a leisure complex has been abandoned in favour of a housing scheme.
The article reports that Hwang is attempting to go ahead with apartments and offices on the adjoining site. However the proposal for Battersea Power Station itself is simply to secure the "shell and core" of the building. Plans for a leisure centre, due to have been completed in 2000, have finally been abandoned.
The article also reports that the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has promised to investigate "conflict of interest" claims about former Borough Planner Ian Thompson, now Parkview's planning consultant. The article reports that Thompson went to work for Parkview "... on a part-time basis, for a reported salary of about £75,000 a year".
Click here to read the full article.
Stephen Hurles who was a Wandsworth council officer in Technical Services, expert in planning applications and licensing, retired in mid 2005 and went directly to Parkview as a consultant ensuring that their planning variations forms are correctly filled out.
As we previously reported, former Borough Planner Ian Thompson went to work for Parkview on his retirement in 2004, having recommended granting all planning applications made by Parkview since they took control of the Battersea Power Station site in 1993.
Battersea Power Station Community Group is to be given an award by Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network (WCEN). The award is for the successful launch of the web site of the Battersea Power Station Company www.batterseapowerstation.com , a registered charity established by members of BPSCG. The design of the web site was funded by a Community Chest grant from WCEN.
A certificate will be presented to the Company’s directors at a ceremony to take place before the AGM of WCEN at 5.00pm at Battersea Arts Centre (Lower Hall) on Friday 6th October. Click here for a map.
Parkview's Ian Rumgay
The Iraqi Information Minister
We have noticed a striking physical resemblance between Ian Rumgay, Parkview's Director of Communications and Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Information Minister at the time of the 2003 Gulf War.
The Iraqi Information Minister was famous in 2003 for his press briefings denying the truth of the American invasion in Iraq. If recent press reports turn out to be true, Rumgay's statements in recent weeks have been as detached from reality as those of the IIM.
Rumgay has yet to issue a response to the reports in the Estates Gazette of 23rd September, stating that Treasury Holdings is poised to take over Parkview's development.
The Estates Gazette has revealed today that Treasury Holdings, the Irish property group, has put in a bid to take over Parkview's project at Battersea. This report is as yet unconfirmed but appears to be credible.
The directors of Treasury Holdings John Ronan and Richard Barrett were previously involved in a bid to take over the Millennium Dome in London, via a company called Legacy Holdings.
Property Week had previously reported (Latest News 4th August) that Merchant Bridge, a middle eastern developer, was in discussions with Parkview. However it seems that Merchant Bridge has now lost interest.
Birthday greetings to Leo ("Hwang-ker") Hwang. The tearaway son of Victor Hwang is celebrating the occasion with a lavish party to be held at Battersea Power Station tonight. Is ths how the Hwang family goes about spending the £150m lent to it by the Bank of Scotland and Barclays?
Shouldn't this money in fact be spent on repairing the roof of the Power Station instead?
Time Out has today published a sceptical piece about Parkview's Power Station development, by Jessica Cargill Thompson. The article calls for greater public access to the site concluding: "... it's a scandal that such an important landmark has been out of bounds for so long. Battersea Power Station is not an international property speculator's plaything, it's an important part of London history, and a vast tract of the city centre riverside land that should be open to all. It's time to reclaim what's ours".
Click here to read the full article.
The Wandworth Borough News reports today that this month marks the 25th anniversary of the first planning permission to redevelop the Power Station. Outline planning permission was given to SAVE Britain's Heritage in September 1981 to turn the Power Station into sports and entertainment complex.
BPSCG's Keith Garner, quoted by the Borough News, describes the SAVE plan as: "very forward looking and bold for the time" adding: "it is shocking that it was so long ago".
Parkview's Ian Rumgay, also quoted in the article, repeats the claim that £200m has been spent on the project since Parkview took over in 1993, referring to relocation of gas mains and boiler house, and the recent completion of a new jetty on the river in support of this assertion.
However the article goes on to report BPSCG scepticism about these claims. Keith Garner said in response:
"What have they spent £200 million on? That is utterly ridiculous. Those works are all peripheral to the scheme and all relate to other agencies. Why don't they actually do something with the power station and get it into use? How many years do they need? It doesn't take 13."
The Pump House Gallery has invited German artist Thomas Kilpper to develop a new project in and outside the gallery. This will include the transformation of the gallery's outside space into an allotment that will grow organic vegetables, a giant pig sculpture made from trees cut down in Battersea Park and a new sound track fusing Pink Floyd with popular 1940s war time songs.
Kilpper's projects often respond to the socio-political context of a location, playfully weaving local histories and current global issues with his own personal political opinions. For this project he has taken a keen interest in the rich and complex history of Battersea Park and its surrounding environment. In particular he has looked at how the urban parkland was transformed into allotments and a pig farm during World War II, as well as the story behind the making of Pink Floyd's seminal album cover for "Animals", which involved a 30ft long inflatable pig floating over the Battersea Power Station.
Making reference to the wartime use of the park, an allotment has been created by the artist in collaboration with young people from Wandsworth Youth Offending Team. these young people are also involved in the gardening and maintenance of the plot - growing carrot, potatoes, cabbages, courgettes and pumpkins from seed.
During the exhibition the ground floor of the gallery will become a kitchen and dining area where food from the harvest will be prepared and served to visitors.
Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park, 29th September to 29th October 2006. Exhibition open 11am - 4pm (closed Mondays and Tuesdays) Admission FREE
A leafleting session at Battersea Power Station ended in disarray this evening after the notoriously publicity shy Victor Hwang attempted to prevent a BPSCG member taking his photograph.
BPSCG members had been handing out leaflets to people attending the meeting of Parkview's "Community Forum". Victor was leaving the site at the same time in a chauffer driven car and wound the window down to present BPSCG members with Parkview's latest publicity material.
At this point BPSCG member June Hautot attempted to take Victor's picture. However Victor snatched the camera , and June sustained a graze on her forearm attempting to retrieve it. The camera was eventually thrown from the vehicle by Victor himself. The car left the scene with Victor holding papers up to the car window to deter futher snappers.
Photos of the incident will appear here shortly, assuming the camera is undamaged.
The Guardian makes this claim today in a piece about about the failure of the UK government to clamp down on the use of offshore tax havens by companies operating in this country. Click here to read the article.
An investigation by The Guardian in 2002 found that the Parkview group has hundreds of offshore companies registered in the Caribbean and elsewhere. Battersea Power Station itself is owned by Halcyon Estates Ltd, registered in the British Virgin Islands.
Today it is the turn of Astragal in The Architects' Journal to pour scorn on Parkview's plans:
So according to the London Evening Standard last week, Serpentine Gallery bigwigs such as Julia Peyton-Jones are in talks with the Hwang family developers over the possibility of transforming a wing of Battersea Power Station into an art gallery. The inventiveness of the property industry at its very best - you can just imagine it can't you? There they all are, sitting around a boardroom table, and someone pipes up with: 'I've got an idea. We've got ourselves a wrecked old power station on the Thames that we've got to do something cultural with. Why don't we turn it into an art gallery!'. I must be honest, I think I've heard that one before. First the Guggenheim Effect, now let's have a bit of Tate Modern Effect instead.
Parkview has removed its press release concerning Ballymore's renewed interest in the development, posted on its web site on 22nd August. Readers seeking entertainment may still see it by clicking here.
Battersea Power Station featured in the film documentary “Betjeman and Me” by Dan Cruickshank, which was screened by the BBC this evening. Sir John Betjeman, the Poet Laureate and campaigner for the preservation of historic buildings, was born 100 years ago today.
The film looked at John Betjeman’s interest in architecture since his days on the Architectural Review in the 1930’s, when he championed the International Style, to his campaigns in the ‘sixties and ‘seventies to save historic areas and buildings from demolition, including Spitalfields, Bedford Park and Covent Garden.
There was a section about the current situation at Battersea, which Betjeman helped to get listed in 1980. Dan regards Battersea as “a sublime structure that defines London ”, but was horrified to discover that Wandsworth Council, with the support of English Heritage, had given permission to the owners, Parkview, to demolish the chimneys. The architectural historian Gavin Stamp, who also appeared in the film, expressed scepticism that the chimneys would be rebuilt.
For Dan Cruickshank , the loss of Battersea Power Station would result in“community identity and pride being fatally undermined”. As he observed: “If Betjeman were alive today, he would be deeply saddened by what is happening to Battersea Power Station and the conservation movement in general." But there is still reason for optimism as Dan concluded: "We have his example to inspire us” and campaigners can still make a difference.
BPSCG collaborated with the production team at Oxford Film and Television for the section of the film about Battersea, advising on filming locations and supplying background information. Parkview refused the production team access to the Power Station and declined to be interviewed.
Happy Birthday Sir John, from BPSCG
The Battersea & Clapham Guardian today reports that the Health & Safety Executive has objected to Parkview's latest planning application. The HSE is concerned about the proximity of the development to a gas holder on Prince of Wales Drive. In a letter to Wandsworth Council, the HSE said: "HSE's advice is that there are sufficient reasons, on safety grounds, for advising against the granting of planning permission".
BPSCG member Keith Garner is reported as saying that the news from the HSE could spell the end for the proposed development: "It seems to all be falling apart".
Parkview has issued a hilarious press release complaining about the accuracy of an article in the Estates Gazette of 19th August, which says that Ballymore properties is still seeking to take control of the Battersea project. The EG article says: "Any offer from Ballymore is expected to involve the Docklands developer taking overall control of the project".
In response, Parkview's press release of 22nd August states: "This latest report in Estate Gazette is one of several “news” stories and editorials in the trade publication this summer which have been at best misguided but mostly based on inaccurate rumour, conjecture, journalist’s creating their own version of events and snide comment".
The Estates Gazette article had also reported that Parkview's letting agent, Donaldsons, has resigned after five years on the project because of "uncertainty". Caroline Wilson of Donaldsons told EG: "We cannot commit any further resources to the project at this time". As of today's date, Donalsons name still appears on Parkview's web site as a member of their team. (It was finally removed on 31st August - Ed.)
Vicsor Hwang appears on the 2006 Times "Rich List" at No174, worth an estimated £350 million. Victor is up from No234 last year, when he was worth a modest £200 million. The Murdoch paper reports that Hwang has spent £200m on Battersea Power Station, although readers will be aware that no money has been spent on the repair of the listed buildng in the 13 years of Hwang family control.
The Rich List is described as Britain's 100 richest individuals, raising the question of whether Victor is actually domiciled in UK and paying tax here. Click here to read the full listing.
The Times has an article today by Tim Teeman about a forthcoming exhibition of Chinese art to be staged at Battersea Power Station. The Serpentine Gallery will be mounting an exhibition of "... contemporary Chinese video, sound and installation art".
It seems that that the dereliction visited on Battersea Power Station by the Hwang family over the past thirteen years is the perfect foil for an exhibition of contemporary art. As Teeman says: "The concrete columns supporting the structure are eroded... some windows retain their panes, others are blown out, the criss-crossing of iron girders is hypnotic. You feel Lilliputian amid the wrecked architecture".
Serpentine director, Julia Peyton-Jones also remarks on the building's parlous state. Pointing to the pigeon droppings on the girders she says: "It's not really a place where you could put paintings".
Victor Hwang previously bought Toyo Ito's Serpentine pavilion of 2002, which was reassembled at Battersea Power Station and is now used to display Parkview's alleged development proposals.
Click here to read the full Times article.
The Estates Gazette news page reports today that Lisa Welch, Parkview's "head of design management for tenants", has left the project as well. The EG also reports concerns of the Health & Safety Executive concerning the proximity of the gasometer to Parkview's development: "The risk of harm to people at the proposed development is such that there are sufficient reasons, on safety grounds, for advising against the granting of planning permission".
Also in Estates Gazette this week, "EG Eye" mocks Parkview's press announcement about Battersea Park Station, commenting: "Its a shame they will find nothing to visit". BPSCG's "Taking the Michael" leafleting campaign at the recent chimneys demonstration is also mentioned.
The sculptor Ian Walters has died. Despite his recent illness, Ian attended the chimneys demonstration on 26th June. BPSCG Chairman Brian Barnes has written this appreciation of Ian's life and work. The Guardian has this obituary by Tony Benn.
An article in Slate magazine casts doubt on the wisdom of appointing family members to top positions in firms. The article reports a Danish study of how firms underperform when the CEO appoints his relatives to top posts. Click here to read the article. Victor Hwang take note.
An article in Property Week today reveals that Parkview is now in discussion with Merchant Bridge, described by the company web site as: "... one of the leading corporate finance advisory house[s] in the Middle East". The company has offices in London, Riyadh, Bahrain, UAE and Baghdad.
Merchant Bridge is the last in a long line of potential backers for the project going back over a 10 year period, the most recent being Ballymore Properties who pulled out in March.
Merchant Bridge should be mindful of the fact that Victor Hwang's project for Battersea does not have an Environmental Impact Assessment and could be halted in the European Court. His planning permissions are about to expire and the Greater London Authority in particular is showing an interest in preventing his latest attempt to extend the permissions. The listed building has a backlog of repairs from 1993 and although English Heritage has so far turned a blind eye, it cannot be assumed this will continue.
The Standard has today published a further piece on the pandemonium at Parkview. In a piece written very much from Victor Hwang's perspective, the sacking of Michaels Roberts and Russell is said to be because they were planning a buy-out of Victor's Battersea venture and were fired when Victor found out.
Although entertaining, the piece fails to ask the more profound questions as to how Parkview could have failed to make any progress at all after 13 years in control of the site.
Instead, Parkview are portrayed being committed to rescuing the Power Station, when in fact they have systematically hostile towards the building, neglecting it since taking over in 1993.
The promotion of Hwang family members also raised the question as to whether it was Leo Hwang who was involved in the incident outside Parkview's offices on 28th July 2005, when a Mercedes driven at speed into the Parkview compound by a person of Chinese appearance narrowly missed BPSCG member June Hautot.
Parkview International has today confirmed the loss of its top executives. An article posted on the Property Week web site has full details and information on new appointments, including the announcement that Victor Hwang's son Leo will become vice president and his daughter Vicky will become leasing director. What will the banks make of this?
Further details of the implosion of Victor Hwang's scheme for Battersea Power Station have appeared in recent editions of Property Week.
Of particular interest is this article of 13th July 2006, about the site of the Guinness Brewery at Park Royal, which has just been sold for £48m after the owners Diageo secured immunity from listing for another of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott's great industrial buildings.
Today's Standard reports on the continuing implosion of Victor Hwang's scheme for Battersea Power Station. Readers of a nervous disposition may not wish to read the following extract:
"Chief executive Michael Roberts has gone on extended leave in the Middle East and is not expected to return. Chief financial officer Michael Russell has also left, according to Property Week magazine. They are said to have had a row with Hwang's daughter Vicky, an unknown quantity who was installed as commercial director after Mike Swinney left last month. The plans are now in deadlock as Parkview's banks, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, refuse to offer more debt unless more tenants are signed up on binding agreements."
Shine on You Crazy Diamond
Syd Barrett, 6th January 1946 to 7th July 2006. David Gilmore and Roger Walters wrote "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" as a respectful homage to their former collegue as part of the Album "Wish You Were Here" a title surely also signifying that they were missing their friend. Indeed, legend has it, that Syd did actually turn up at the recording studio, in 1975, and listened in on the playing of Wish You Were Here, unrecognised by the others, a portly bald man very unlike the tousled-haired, slim, young man of earlier days, only later did they realise it had been Syd watching from the shadows.
Remember when you were young you shone like the Sun.
Rumours that Parkview's project at Battersea Power Station is in financial difficulty received further support today when they were officially denied by Parkview's Ian Rumgay.
Speaking to the Battersea Guardian, in response to a piece in the Estates Gazette two weeks ago, Rumgay said: "The headline about our banks, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, particularly angered me. They have always been, and continue to be, highly supportive of our project".
Reports that Parkview might be selling Battersea Power Station were also dismissed: " We would consider a minority shareholder of perhaps as much as 20 per cent, but beyond that we are not selling. Parkview is going to be here for a very long time".
Famous last words? Watch this space.
Following the article in the Estates Gazette on 24th June, rumours are ciculating that Parkview has put Battersea Power Station up for sale owing to cashflow problems.
The Wandsworth Borough News has published a comprehensive article today on the Power Protest. Sarah Hall's piece is her last for the Borough News and we wish her well in Fleet Street!
Pigs fly as demonstrators braved the weather to protest against the proposed demolition of Battersea's iconic chimneys. Meanwhile, Parkview announces further delays whilst key players of their development team quit the project.
Click here for a full report.
The Estates Gazette reports today that Parkview's bankers, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, have become "increasingly frustrated" over Parkview's failure to find a development partner and are said to be "losing patience with the Taiwanese tycoon". The article also reports that Parkview's leasing director, Mike Swinney, has left the project.
BPSCG members this evening handed out leaflets to members of Parkview's "Battersea Power Station Community Forum" as they arrived for their quarterly meeting at the Power Station. The leaflets were to announce the forthcoming demonstration to protest against the unnecessary demolition of the chimneys.
The meeting seemed to be very poorly attended with no more than about 15 people seen entering Parkview's compound in Kirtling Street. The Chair of the Community Forum, Ré Johnson, arrived in a smart new jeep.
Parkview's Community Forum is said to be "an independent organisation that represents the local community’s views and interests in respect of the Battersea Power Station urban regeneration project". However, its members are selected by Parkview. People who are critical of Parkview's leisure centre project, or their general lack of progress, and neglect of the listed building are not allowed to attend.
BPSCG member Keith Garner rattles Ré Johnson's cage. Photo: Brian Barnes
BPSCG has called a demonstration to take place at the Battersea Power Station on 26th June from 5.00 to 7.00pm. The purpose of the demonstration is protest about the totally unnecessary demolition of the chimneys and to call on English Heritage to compulsorily purchase the building and transfer its ownership to a public interest trust. Click here for more details on the demonstration.
Supporters are asked to gather at the main gates in Kirtling Street from 5.00pm onwards.
English Heritage has recommended increasing the listing grade of Battersea Power Station from Grade II to Grade II*. The recommendation is in response to an application to upgrade the listing made by BPSCG in 2003. The increase, if accepted by the DCMS, will place Battersea in the top 6% of listed buildings.
BPSCG's application to increase the listing was supported by the Twentieth Century Society , World Monuments Fund and Battersea Society. BPSCG has since learned that Parkview is lobbying the DCMS against the upgrade, and will be submitting a dossier to them in early June. More soon.
Congratulations to BPSCG Chair Brian Barnes, who received 320 votes in yesterday's local elections, the highest for an independent candidate in the Borough. Brian's campaign in Queenstown Ward covered a range of issues including jobs, housing, transport and the environment.
Brian was accompanied to the election count at Wandsworth Civic Suite by BBC TV presenter Dan Cruickshank with a film crew. Dan's latest film will include a section on the current situation at Battersea. More to follow.
In a not unrelated development, Parkview's latest planning applications were made public on election day. The applications contain proposals for further destruction at Battersea Power Station, including the removal of the roofs of the turbine halls and switch houses.
And now, with the complacent acquiescence of English Heritage, the celebrated landmark chimneys of Battersea Power Station, the first great temple of power by, again, the great Sir Giles Scott, are to come down. Parkview International, the Hong Kong-based developer which has presided over the neglect of the listed building for a dozen years, has rejected expert advice that the reinforced concrete chimneys can be repaired in situ and insist they must be replaced. Is there any guarantee that, once demolished, they will be rebuilt in replica (rather than leaving the power station as a derelict brick lump, ripe for demolition)? Why, no.
'Piloti', Private Eye, 17th March 2006
The Wandworth Borough News has today published a major letter from Ernest Rodker of BPSCG, drawing attention to all of Parkview's neglect of the listed building down the years, culminating in the proposed demolition of the chimneys. Click here to read the letter.
A recent article in the Mail on Sunday confirms rumours that Parkview is the secret backer of controversial plans to build a theme park in unspoilt countryside in Suffolk. Click here to read the article (pdf file).
The article also records that Victor Hwang had said he would not demolish the buildings Iconic chimneys when he bought it in 1993, although he has recently won permission to replace them with replicas.
DEVELOPERS ARE 'LAND SPECULATING' SAYS COMMUNITY GROUP
The Battersea Guardian reports today:
A multi-million pound financier has pulled out of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment prompting critics to question whether the scheme will actually go ahead.
The £1 billion project's largest investor, Ballymore Properties, was expected to put up hundreds of millions of pounds. It is thought the Irish company wanted more flats, a change which would have meant going back to the drawing board.
Best despite suffering a series of false starts in the past, developers Parkview insists there is no problem, and the development, which will include hotels, retail space and housing on the 38 acre site, will still begin this summer.
A spokesman said: "It will have no material effect on the scheme at all. It has been mutually agreed not to progress matters on this occasion due to differences in view as to how the site might be best developed. This removes any uncertainty which may have been associated with a major equity partner wanting to alter the mix of components in the scheme. Plans for the development continue on schedule with construction due to start this summer."
A council spokesman agreed the project appeared in good health and that a renewed planning application asking for more residential space may have struggled due to the implications for local employment and transport.
Once completed in 2009, the development should create 9000 jobs.
Not everyone, however, is so positive about Parkview's prospects. Keith Garner, of the Battersea Power Station Community Group, said: "This is the pattern of Battersea Power Station over the years. Every few years they announce a big name, whether it be Warner Village Cinemas, Cirque du Soleil, Hyatt Hotels or Ballymore.
"They drop these names, these blue-chip companies, but after six months or a year there's an announcement that discussions have broken down.
"Its a repeating pattern, all these companies make their enquiries and then they make their excuses and go.
"Why is this?
"Parkview are not a serious developer, but a land speculator. They're stringing everyone along."
Andrew Westbrook, Battersea Guardian, 2nd March 2006
The Financial Times reports today:
"The £1.1 bn redevelopment of London's Battersea Power Station was under question last night after Ballymore Properties, the Irish group, walked away from the project.
Ballymore had been expected to make an equity stake of up to £400m in the iconic scheme and co-develop it with Parkview International, the Hong Kong Company that owns the 38-acre site.
It is understood that talks broke down because Ballymore wanted a larger amount of residential property than under the existing plan for the west London project.
Last night Parkview insisted that it would start construction this summer but questions remain over how it will finance the project."
John Murray Brown in Dublin and Jim Pickard in London, FT 21st February 2006
BPSCG has written an open letter to Parkview International London, following the presentation by Steve Kennard of Parkview at the Building Centre on 8th February. Click here to download the letter (pdf file).
Wright Reports published by the Wright Investors Service says that the Hong Kong Parkview Group only has 34 employees. The report lists the main activities of the group as: "decoration contractor, management consultancy and investment and financing". Click here for the full report.
Parview's Steve Kennard gave a breakfast talk today about Parkview's latest plans for Battersea Power Station, at the Building Centre in Store Street.
Much of the scheme presented by Steve Kennard had been seen before: for instance at the presentation by Steve Kennard and Ian Rumgay of Parkview at the meeting organised by BPSCG in June 2004. However the plans for Battersea Power Station itself have been revised again, with Kennard saying that the drawings and computer fly-through's were just ideas "at an early stage". The Power Station still seems to be a combination of shops and hotels with a viewing deck at the top called "the grazing plane". However Kennard was not specific about tenants or backers, although Hyatt Hotels was again mentioned.
Most of Kennard's talk was devoted to a describing the design of buildings surrounding Battersea Power Station, such as the already familiar "Weave" and "Twist" buildings. The only changes here seem to be that the West Hotel is now referred to as the "Great West Wall", an apt description given that it will block existing views of Battersea Power Station from the railway line into Victoria and from Battersea Park. Kennard also referred to the proposed refurbishment of Battersea Park Station, and showed images of a curving pedestrian bridge over the Thames.
Kennard only mentioned the forthcoming demolition of the chimneys briefly, saying that it was necessary for "health and safety reasons".
The talk was extraordinary for Kennard's statement that the lack of any progress to date was because Parkview had only obtained complete possession of all of the 'B' Station in 2004. This is the first time that Parkview have cited this particular reason for the lack of progress, although visitors to this site will be familiar with many over reasons for the lack of progress given over the years. Despite the delays, no revised date for a start or completion of the development was given. Nor was any estimate of costs given.
During the question and answer session, chaired by Peter Murray, BPSCG's Keith Garner asked why the audience should believe that the scheme shown was going to happen, given that Kennard and his colleagues had made made many other presentations over the last ten years, none of which had come to fruition: for instance in 1996 when Parkview first applied for planning permission. Wouldn't Parkview just find another excuse not to begin? Another member of the audience questioned the viability of the transportation proposals.
Earlier in the morning Steve Kennard and BPSCG's Keith Garner were both interviewed by LBC News Radio, about the latest revisions to the plans.
The Section 106 Agreement between Wandsworth Council and Halcyon Estates, the British Virgin Islands registered subsidiary of Parkview International, has been obtained by BPSCG. The agreement is dated 13th October, which was the day when the Planning Applications Committee met to approve the application to demolish the chimneys.
The legal agreement can be seen by clicking here (pdf file).
The Wandsworth Borough News today publishes a letter from Richard Jones of Clapham, questioning the wisdom of the decision to allow demolition of the chimneys. Click here to read the letter.
A press release on Parkview's web site announces that Parkview is in discussion with a number of prospective investors including Ballymore Properties, who are said to be: "in the process of developing proposals for Parkview to consider".
Ballymore joins a long line of prospective partners who have contemplated joining Parkview over the last ten years, but who failed to tie the knot. These have included: Warner Village Cinemas, Gordon Group, BAA, Really Useful Group, Cirque du Soleil and Hyatt Hotels.
The reason these companies failed to enter into a business partnership with Parkview is unclear, but may be connected with Parkview's business history, which an article in The Guardian described as being "linked to controversy". Or it may be because Parkview's project does not have an Environmental Impact Assessment, contrary to EU law, and could be halted in the European Court.
Councillors approved the demolition of the chimneys the meeting of the full Council last night. The application had been previously approved by the Planning Applications Committee on 13th October. BPSCG members in the public gallery listened in disbelief as deputy Labour leader Tony Belton, dismissed the engineering report that had found that the chimneys can be repaired, and supported the developer's case that new chimneys are beyond repair and must be rebuilt with a 60 year design life. Councillor Belton received a round of applause from Conservative members at the end of his contribution.
No members of Parkview International were present to listen to the discussion, although at the start of the meeting, Councillor Kathy Tracey declared an interest, in that her husband Dick Tracey, works for Parkview.
The South China Morning Post (English language Hong Kong newspaper) today reports Parkview's latest excuses for failing to make a start on the development. Parkview's ubiquitous Ian Rumgay cites: asbestos, structural issues, the London Electricity Board, the railway companies and red tape. Even BPSCG's 2003 legal challenge is even given as a reason for the delays, although as readers will know the challenge in the High Court was unsuccessful. The only person Mr Rumgay doesn't blame is himself.
It is interesting to compare the article with a previous article in the SCMP in 2003. In that article Ian Rumgay claimed that work had started in 2002. Very little seems to have been completed since then.
The proposed demolition and rebuilding of the chimneys makes the front page of the Wandsworth Borough News today. The decision was made last week, despite objections received from as far away as Ohio, Sweden and Holland.
WBN notes that BPSCG has a report by engineers that states the chimneys could be refurbished and did not need to be demolished. WBN goes on: "BPSCG said the legal agreement Parkview had signed to ensure it did rebuild the 160 fit chimneys, was 'not worth the paper it was written on '... Brian Barnes, chairman of BPSCG, said that because Parkview is registered in the British Virgin Islands, the council would not be able to enforce the legal agreement.. Mr Barnes said in 1989, John Broome [the previous developer] demolished the west wall and roof - and the council was powerless to enforce a rebuild. He added: 'We are convinced demolishing the chimneys is a prelude to complete demolition'".
"Letter of the Week" in Time Out also protests about the proposed demolition.
The application by Parkview/Halcyon (British Virgin Islands based owners of Battersea Power Station) to demolish and rebuild the chimneys was approved at the meeting of Wandsworth Council's planning applications committee on 13th October. The approval was given despite the fact that the Borough Solicitor, when questioned by committee members, was not able to give and assurance that a watertight legal agreement to rebuild the chimneys could be made with an offshore company.
BPSCG members outnumbered Parkview representatives at the meeting by two to one. Parkview's representatives included Dick Tracey (husband of Wandsworth Councillor Kathy Tracey) and Ian Thompson, Wandsworth Borough Planner until January 2004.
Special thanks to all Pink Floyd fans who have signed our Guest Book in recent days. Be assured that our campaign to save the building from uncaring developers and ineffective protection agencies will continue in the coming months.
Wandsworth Council are deciding the fate of the Power Station at a committee meeting at Wandsworth Town Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday 13th October.
They are going to approve a plan by Parkview to demolish the 4 chimneys which we are convinced is a prelude to complete demolition so that Victor Hwang can build luxury flats all along the river frontage.
Our suspicions are founded on the refusal of the Council and Parkview to even consider an alternative report by a team of three companies of concrete experts brought together by the Twentieth Century Society and World Monuments Fund who have revealed that the chimneys can be repaired for half the cost of demolition and rebuilding.
Parkview are desperate to demolish, which continues their actions to date - demolition and no construction over the past 12 years.
We need as many people to object to this as soon as possible. Relay your fears to Bob Leuty planning officer at Wandsworth Council firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Chief Planner Mr Robert Erskine email@example.com.
You can also write to The Government Office for London to ask for the planning application to be "called in" and decided at a public inquiry. The person to write to is Chris Bedford, Senior Planning Officer, Riverwalk House, 157-161 Millbank, London SW1P 4RR. Tel 7217 3421 Fax 7217 3517 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Battersea Power Station has been voted into the Top 10 Architectural Icons in the UK. Channel 4 have polled the public, through the Internet, for the best buildings and Battersea Power Station is in the Top 10. The rest of the list:
St Paul's Cathedral; Iron Bridge; Royal Crescent, Bath; Millennium Bridge, Gateshead; St Mary's Axe (Gherkin); London Eye Big Wheel; Brighton Pavilion; Canary Wharf Tube; Selfridges "spaceship"
At a meeting of the Battersea Forum today, David Welch of Job Centre Plus gave details of how many people the Power Station job shop has managed to place since opening on 5th July. David Welch's staff have dealt with some 1300 job seekers, and have succeeded in placing over 100. Unfortunately only three of these are at Battersea Power Station, and these are security staff.
Nevertheless, Parkview's Dick Tracey claimed that there are now 250 staff working on site (total of office and construction site) and told BPSCG's Keith Garner that he must be blind if he can't see that from his bicycle. However it also emerged that this figure includes staff from Bovis Lend Lease who are working on other projects unconnected with Parkview or Battersea.
Dick Tracey also told the meeting that London Mayor Ken Livingstone had turned down Parkview's offer to stage an Olympic event at Battersea Power Station, saying that the Mayor was only interested in East London venues.
A report commissioned by the Battersea Power Station Company Ltd, with the Twentieth Century Society and World Monuments Fund, has found that the chimneys of Battersea Power Station are structurally sound.
Piloti, writing in the current edition of Private Eye, reports on the current application by Parkview to demolish the chimneys of Battersea Power Station.
Piloti observes that despite various ambitious schemes put forward by Parkview, "... nothing has ever happened and the giant ruin has just continued to decay". Parkview's announcement that the chimneys must be demolished and replaced by replicas is hardly surprising given their continued procrastination. The necessity of demolition is also highly questionable.
Piloti concludes, without its chimneys, Battersea Power Station will loose its special character which might as well be demolished: "... leaving Parkview with the cleared site which, the Battersea Power Station Community Group has long insisted, it has wanted all along".
Private Eye No1141 16-29 September 2005
SIR. Concerning the letter (Letters, August 3) from Ré Johnson - the chairman of the Battersea Power Station Community Forum.
The accompanying letter with the planning application states that "the proposed programme will see two chimneys being demolished and reconstruction commencing prior to the start of demolition of the other two". This is as submitted on July 11 by David Stand of Reid Architecture. Therefore your front page photo without chimneys will be correct for the foreseeable future. Parkview knew full well that it was buying a Grade II listed building in 1993 and it is strange that Ré Johnson now thinks they are only just realising their responsibilities toward a great London icon.
English Heritage can't have been properly inspecting the building over the last 22 years if the problem with the chimneys only came to their attention two years ago.
There must be an independent survey carried out, a £10 million bond paid by Parkview to a bank for completion on the chimneys, and a chimney replaced one at a time as Ré Johnson thought was going to happen.
Letter from BPSCG Chair published in the Wandsworth Borough News, 17th August 2005
Parkview International ’s claim that chimneys at Battersea Power Station are "beyond repair" (AJ 28.07.05) should be treated with the greatest scepticism. A second opinion, from an independent engineer working to a proper conservation brief, should be obtained.
On a wider note, according to government Planning Policy Guidance PPG 15, “substantial demolition of the listed building, or any significant part of it” requires alternative ownership to be considered.
Letter by BPSCG member Keith Garner, published in The Architects' Journal, 11th August 2005.
In the light of recent news from Parkview that the chimneys are said to be "beyond repair", readers might be interested to see this extract of a letter from English Heritage to Charles Madden of Parkview International dated 19th November 1996. The letter concludes:
The recommencement of work to the Power Station is anxiously awaited and although it was encouraging to see that the remarkable control room is secure and watertight, it is also essential that the main structure should not deteriorate any further. My colleague will be in touch with you shortly to arrange another inspection of the building and I would be grateful if you could let us have a programme for essential remedial work in due course.
How is it that nothing has been done in the nine years since, with Parkview now conveniently claiming that it is necessary to demolish the chimneys? Further extracts of letters from English Heritage in the BPSCG archive will appear shortly.
BPSCG member June Hautot narrowly escaped injury this evening whilst handing out copies of the Battersea Bulletin outside the Parkview compound at Battersea Power Station. Parkview were holding their summer drinks party inside and BPSCG members, including June, were handing out copies of the Bulletin to arriving guests.
The good-natured leafleting session was marred when a Parkview employee in a black Mercedes (Reg: KP02 FMD) drove at speed into the Parkview compound, narrowly missing June Hautot,. When June complained to the employee after he parked, he advanced up to June and snatched a Battersea Bulletin, which he screwed up and threw in her face.
The identity of the Parkview employee remains unknown, but the incident was witnessed and recorded by BPSCG, who are considering whether to take the matter further.
Attendance at the drinks party was extremely disappointing, with no more than about 30 guests in attendance. Particularly noticeable was the absence of developers and financiers, casting further doubt on the viability of Parkview's redevelopment project.
June confronts the Hwang-ker outside the Parkview compound
Edition No 25 of the Battersea Bulletin is published today. The Bulletin concentrates on the news that Parkview International has applied to demolish the chimneys of Battersea Power Station and is particularly critical of English Heritage, whose neglectful role has done so much to bring Battersea Power Station to its current parlous state.
The Bulletin also has pieces about Ian Thompson, the former Wandsworth Borough Planner, now working for Parkview, and reports on BPSCG Chair Brian Barnes' recent trip to Buckingham Palace to collect his MBE.
The Bulletin is being mailed out to BPSCG members. Click here to join BPSCG and receive your copy of the Battersea Bulletin.
The Wandsworth Borough News today publishes this picture of Battersea Power Station as it will appear if Parkview's application to demolish the chimneys is granted. The accompanying article reports that Parkview have offered a "legally binding undertaking" to rebuild the chimneys, but BPSCG Chair Brian Barnes is not convinced: "That is not worth the paper it is written on because if they don't do it, who is going to do anything about it?. No one did anything when the previous owner, John Broome, knocked down the roof and west wall under an agreement to rebuild them and never did. The whole place is gradually being whittled away".
BPSCG member Keith Garner is equally sceptical about the technical reasons Parkview are giving to demolish the chimneys. Parkview are saying they can't locate the reinforcing bars in the chimneys to repair them, but have only used radar from the outside. Keith Garner said:" If they had used radar from the inside of the chimneys as well as the outside, they would have been able to find the steel bars."
Keith Garner also pointed out that Parkview have set an unrealistic lifespan for repairs to the chimneys, wanting a 60 year guarantee: "Parkview has said it wants a guarantee of 50 to 60 years on whatever it does to the chimneys and it can only get that by demolishing them and building new ones. But they have to be flexible. They should not be imposing an unrealistic target for repairs. I expect these repairs could last 25 to 30 years and then they would have to repair them again, which would be fine".
The EDIE News web site has reported BPSCG's doubts over the planned regeneration of Battersea Power Station.
to see the full article.
The Guardian published a piece by Jonathan Glancey on 11th July describing the latest planning application by Parkview. The application is for full planning permission for various buildings on the site, such as the so-called "Twist" building, first unveiled over a year ago, and only now being submitted to Wandsworth Council. It seems that Parkview also wish to dismantle and rebuild the chimneys which is claimed to be necessary for "health & safety" reasons.
BPSCG chair Brian Barnes wrote to the Guardian, to complain about Glancey's uncharacteristically uncritical piece. The letter was published today and can be seen by clicking here. The full text of the letter is as follows:
It is a shame to see your distinguished architecture critic Jonathan Glancey taken in by Parkview's PR (The power and the glory, July 11). Of course everybody in this part of London wants to see Battersea power station rescued and the site brought back into productive use. But this is just the last in a long line of planning applications from Parkview going back over 10 years that have gone nowhere. We fear that Parkview is merely proposing unrealisable projects while the value of the land increases and the power station crumbles. The proposed dismantling of the chimneys is unnecessary, while the building has been neglected over the past 12 years and valuable industrial archaeology lost.
We believe Parkview does not have the money to carry out this scheme, which is also lacking an environmental impact assessment. No UK development partner is going to enter a partnership on these terms.
If Glancey had looked beyond the hype and overblown
architecture, he would find a deeply unattractive
project that has no affordable housing anywhere on the
38-acre site, no decent jobs for local people and no
credible public transport strategy, relying instead on
3,000 private car parking spaces and an Arup-designed
Battersea Power Station Community Group
Well done Roger Walters and Dave Gilmore for coming together to play at Live 8, in a memorable set including Wish You Were Here and Comfortably Numb. Undoubtedly they were the best of all the acts. The zoom to pick out Battersea Power Station in the dark from Hyde Park was an inspired piece of direction. Film of the 1976 event, with the inflated pig, was a great backdrop for the band.
Photo to follow shortly. This photo was taken by Brian Barnes. On the wall at the right hand edge of the photo can be seen "AN" which is the start of the word ANIMALS also used in a photo on the album cover.
Click here to go to the BPSCG's Pink Floyd page.
After repeated postponements, and contradictory messages from Wandsworth Council, the Job Shop at Battersea Power Station finally opened yesterday. The launch was attended by the Work and Pensions Minister, David Blunkett.
Wandsworth Council has invested £100,000 on the project, which is intended to see that local people benefit from the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station.
The reporting team from ITV Carlton's London Tonight news programme was particularly sceptical, contrasting the wizzy models in Parview's exhibition space to the absence of workmen on site. Carlton's reporter had to pursue Parkview's Victor Hwang, who was slinking away, to press him on when the leisure centre would open, and whether the their true intention was simply to sell on.
The Job Shop seems to offer no more than existing high street Job Centres. BPSCG Chair Brian Barnes said: "Why spend 100K of public money on this?"
The BBC has published images of Battersea Power Station. Click here to see them.
Plans for the opening of the job shop appear to have descended into confusion. Invitations have been sent out for an opening on Tuesday 5th July, with a government minister apparently due to officially open the new centre. However a Wandsworth spokesman today informed BPSCG that a lot of work still needs to be done to have the Job Shop in a fit state to be opened. Apparently there are serious problems with the IT system to be resolved. Also a risk assessment has drawn attention to the lack of baby change facilities. The Cable & Wireless Building still has no sign on the outside saying that the Job Shop is inside. The spokesman would not rule out the possibility that the launch will have to be called off, but remained cautiously optimistic. "I'm not saying its not opening next week", he said.
Parkview's Ré Johnson however seems unaware of the chaos in the Cable & Wireless Building, announcing to the meeting of the Battersea Forum on 30th June that the Job Shop will open next week.
Meanwhile Parkview's Dick Tracey is maintaining that work is still proceeding at Battersea Power Station itself. At the Battersea Forum meeting, Dick Tracey said that that 150 workmen were on site. When challenged that that there did not appear to be 150 people working on site to the casual observer, Parkview's community relations officer said that they were all working inside.
The Economic Development Office at Wandsworth Council reports that the opening of the new Job Shop is now "imminent". A spokesman for Wandsworth told BPSCG today that the lease is signed and everything is now in place.
The Job Shop was previously reported in Brightside (Issue 81, May 2004) to be opening in late 2004. According to Brightside, purpose of the Job Shop will be: " to draw in local people interested in applying for any of the 9,000 new jobs planned for the development".
JOB SHOP LATEST
The Economic Development Office at Wandsworth Council reports that the new "Job Shop" will open in 4-6 weeks. The building will be housed in the Cable and Wireless Building in Battersea Park Road. (Click here for a map.) An announcement concerning the opening of the new facility will be made shortly.
The Job Shop is a joint venture between Wandsworth Council, Parkview International, Job Centre Plus, and Business Link for London. Wandsworth Council have donated approximately £100,000 to the project. Parkview have paid for the refurbishment of the space within the C&W Building.
At a Battersea Forum meeting on 5th May at South Thames College Annex in Battersea organised by Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network there was confusion over the names of groups attending.
Brian Barnes of Battersea Power Station Community Group introduced himself, only to be followed soon after by Ré Johnson of Battersea Power Station Community Forum both announcing that they are chairs of these similarly named groups.
Two other attendees also identified themselves as colleagues of Ré Johnson. The Community Liaison Officer for Parkview, Richard Tracey, also attended.
In the previous minutes of the Battersea Forum meeting, dated February, there had been an attempt to correct any confusion as well as a description of the number of job for local people, 3000 in construction, and a Job Shop to recruit locals to be opened in Nine Elms lane by Parkview.
When Brian Barnes asked under "Matters Arising" if, in the last 2 months since last meeting, the job shop was now operational and if jobs had been filled Richard Tracey began an angry exchange about Brian not representing the Power Station and then never answered these questions.
Three people claimed to be there as the BPSC Forum (and Dick Tracey represents Parkview) yet there was no discussion permitted by the Chair about Battersea Power Station in a two hour meeting.
When the subject was brought up anyway Dick Tracey skipped over the question "What impact will the Power Station development have on the environment" referring instead to a problem he had in Balham with a water leak that he reported to Thames Water!
Brian Barnes wasn't thanked for pointing out that Balham is not in Battersea.
There was some disquiet about the suppression of discussion about the Power Station and a suggestion that it should in future be a specific agenda item.
Battersea Community Forum is 2 years old and is an open meeting for community groups and residents facilitated by WCEFN.
Battersea Power Station Community Group has been constituted for 22 years
Battersea Power Station Community Forum was set up a year ago
A meeting of the Battersea Riverside Churches Together Group took place All Saints Church, Prince of Wales Drive on 30 th March. The meeting followed a previous meeting when the church group was addressed by Dick Tracey of Parkview. The meeting was addressed by Councillor Govindia, Chair of Wandsworth Council’s Planning Committee, Councillor Belton, leader of the Labour group and Brian Barnes, Chair of BPSCG. The meeting was chaired by Rev Dr Alan Gadd.
Each speaker was given ten minutes to speak about the Power Station, after which members of the audience asked questions. Councillor Govindia talked about the relatively peripheral matters of transport provision health care provision, but didn’t think there was anything new that the Council could do to assist the redevelopment. Council Belton said he was generally in agreement with Councillor Govindia saying, “there isn’t a cigarette paper’s thickness between us”.
Questions focused on the lack of affordable housing along the riverside in general and as proposed for the Battersea Power Station site. Members of the audience were frustrated that, with all the luxury housing built on the river, very little has been provided for the poor and this will continue at the Power Station. Councillor Govindia justified this state of affairs by saying that that the permission was given in 1997 prior to new housing guidelines coming into effect.
Much of the discussion also centred on the forthcoming judicial review, brought by BPSCG member June Hautot. The judicial review is being brought because the 1997 scheme lacks an Environmental Impact Assessment, contrary to EU law. Brian Barnes pointed out that, contrary to statements by Councillor Govindia, if the legal challenge is successful, and the 1997 permission quashed, any new planning application will have to be in accordance to current standards for affordable housing.
The meeting ended on an optimistic note with the realisation that a successful legal challenge is likely to open the way for a new plan for the Batersea Power Station site, with affordable housing and other social provision of benefit to local people.
The Battersea Riverside Churches Together Group is holding a public meeting to discuss the Battersea Power Station site on Wednesday 30th March at All Saints Church , Prince of Wales Drives, London SW11, starting at 6.00pm. Click here for a location map.
Speakers include Councillor Ravi Govindia, Chair of Wandsworth Council Planning Committee and Councillor Tony Belton, leader of the Labour Group. Followed by an open discussion, chaired by Rev Dr Alan Gadd.
Contact Nick Davies for further details. All welcome
Architects Bennoy claim in the Architects' Journal today that Parkview's retail proposals for Battersea Power Station simply don't stack up. Click here for more details
HE'S GOT THE POWER
The Evening Standard Magazine has today published a sceptical piece by Charlotte Eagar about Victor Hwang and Battersea Power Station, including this exchange between Brian Barnes and Parkview's Ian Rumgay:
'Look at the figures,' says Brian Barnes of the Battersea Power Station Community Group, an independent local pressure group. 'I've got their accounts from Companies House. How can they say they can't afford to pay corporation tax and then say they've got enough money to build all this? If they were going to build something, then they'd have started by now. It's the only building site in the world that isn't full of blokes in hard hats. Tate Modern's been built in the time they've been mucking about. They are just waiting for property prices to go up, or the power station to fall down.'
... Parkview trenchantly denies such rumours. 'We've spent £100 million on plans for this place. Why would we have bothered?' asks Ian Rumgay. 'If it is a hoax, it's the most elaborate hoax of all time. We are a private company. We are not under any obligation to show our accounts to Brian Barnes. Twenty per cent of the power station space is pre-let already. We're aiming at 30 per cent by the end of the year. We've got 700 apartments to sell, 72,000 sp m of office space. I don't know what it will be worth in 2008, but a lot. The banks think our figures stack up. We'll make a fortune from the merchandising alone.'
The Guardian today reports that Battersea MP, and sometime Parkview lobbyist, Martin Linton has received a "Top Toady" award. As the Diary section of the paper says:
And so to the next of our Top Toadies, the madly loyal Blairites we are assembling into a deck of cards along the lines of Top Trumps. Say hello then, gamers, to Battersea's Martin Linton, latterly of the Guardian, now ensconced at an unlisted address in the prime ministerial colon. He's a real keeper!
BPSCG has posted some information about Elm Farm, Battersea, and the court case brought by local people to prevent its closure. Click here for further information and to make a donation.
BPSCG Chair Brian Barnes has been awarded an MBE in the
New Year's Honours List, for services to the community in
Battersea. Click here for
The annual report and accounts of Parkview International (London) to 31st March 2004 are now available. Click here to download the Annual Report and Financial Statements (PDF file) and here to download the Annual Return (PDF file).
Among other interesting facts, the Annual Report reveals that Parkview spent £240,280 on legal fees, but only £9,181 on security costs for Battersea Power Station. 51 employees (including directors) received £1,206,576, an average salary of £23,658.
Mary Bowman of Gustafson-Porter has today contacted BPSCG to say that press reports that they have been fired by Parkview International are untrue. It seems that Michael Roberts of Parkview had been misquoted in a press interview, and has now written to Gustafston-Porter to apologise for any misunderstanding caused. As Bowman said, they are still "happy to be working with Parkview".
The Company behind Kathryn Gustafson, designer of the Diana memorial fountain, has denied press claims that she has been dropped as landscaper for the Battersea Power Station site.
Reports in the press said the Seattle-based designer no longer had the job of masterminding the landscaping of the 38-acre riverside development. The news, if confirmed, would have been another blow to Ms Gustafson, whose Hyde Park tribute to the late Diana, Princess of Wales has been plagued by embarrassing design problems, including slippery stone, floods, leaks and injuries sustained by visitors.
Michael Roberts, chief executive of Parkview, which owns the former power station, was even quoted as confirming that Ms Gustafson had been let go, explaining that "it would be difficult to get the result we want working with someone based in Seattle". No one from Parkview was available to confirm whether or not the designer was still employed to stamp her vision on the power station redevelopment.
Wandsworth Borough News 15/12/2004
The Government Office for London has lifted the Article 14 Direction imposed on the current planning applications relating to Battersea Power Station. The applications can now be approved by Wandsworth Council.
Whether the development will go ahead now is another matter. Legal advice to BPSCG is clear that the main application is contrary to the the European Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. The UK could be prosecuted in the European Court for disregarding the EIA Directive, with the possibility of fines being imposed.
The use of the Section 106 agreement by Parkveiw in the current application in provide environmental mitigation measures is not a substitute for a proper Environmental Impact Assessment.
Eclipse Films of Arizona has released a film about Battersea Power Station: "Battersea: Its Past, Its Future". The film was made by Kevin Murphy and narrated by Beverley Lane and features Brian Barnes and Keith Garner of BPSCG as well as Ian Rumgay of Parkview International.
BPSCG has issued a press release to coincide with the launch.
The South London Press and Wandsworth Borough News have both reported on the imposition of the Article 14 Direction imposed by the Government Office for London last week.
The South London Press (19th October) quotes Ravi Govindia, chair of Wandsworth's Planning Applications Committee as saying: "It is really no way to run a planning system - particularly when £1 billion of investment and 9000 jobs are involved". However a spokesman for the Government Office for London said: "The GoL will now review the application and decide whether it is to be called in or not".
Meanwhile, the Wandsworth Borough News (20th October) reports Brian Barnes of BPSCG saying the scheme should be rejected because it has no provision for affordable housing. However a new proposal would involve London mayor Ken Livingstone, who would call for affordable housing and improve local infrastructure.
BPSCG has issued a press release concerning the decision by the Government Office for London to issue an Article 14 Direction for the current applications for Battersea Power Station. The decision was announced by Councillor Govindia at last night's committee meeting, preventing Wandsworth Council from approving the plans. The Government Office for London will now review the plans to decide whether to formally call in the application. Legal advice to BPSCG suggests that the current applications are contrary to European Law and could lead to the UK being taken to European Court of Justice by the European Commission, with the possibility of fines being imposed.
Ian Thompson, Wandsworth Borough Planner until last Christmas, is now working for Parkview International London, owner of Battersea Power Station. Ian Thompson was seen accompanying Parkview directors at the meeting of Wandsworth's planning applications committee last night. When approached by BPSCG committee member Ernest Rodker, Thompson confirmed that he was acting as a consultant to Parkview.
Ian Thompson was Borough Planner for the entire time that Parkview have been in control of Battersea Power Station. In that time, all planning applications made by Parkview have been approved. In going to work for a developer active in the Borough, Thompson is following in the footsteps of his predecessor Peter Pendleton, who went to work for the developer of the Marco Polo building in Queenstown Road.
The planning applications committee met last night to consider Parkview's latest application for Battersea Power Station. However the Government Office for London had faxed the Council at 6.50 pm to issue an Article 14 Direction preventing the issue of the planning permission.
More on the current planning situation to follow shortly.
The Diary section of the South London Press has today published a piece about former MP Dick Tracey's new role as Parkview's Community Liaison Officer. Click here for full details.
The piece had another excellent cartoon by Simon Kewer.
Dick Tracey, former MP for Kingston & Surbiton, has been appointed as Parkview's Community Liaison Officer, responsible for promoting the leisure complex to local people. Dick Tracey is husband of Wandsworth councillor Kathy Tracey, who recently spoke at a public meeting to promote the Parkview scheme. Click here for a cartoon by Simon Kewer.
BPSCG is to hold a public meeting to discuss Parkview's latest planning application and revised proposals.
Brian Barnes and Keith Garner today visited Parkview International's offices to deliver a cheque for £1,250. The cheque, approximate size 4ft by 2 ft, was in settlement of costs awarded against BPSCG following a recent hearing of the Trade Marks Office when we unsuccessfully tried to prevent Parkview International from trademarking the name "Battersea Power Station". Click here for the full story.
22nd April 2004
A subsidiary of Parkview called Corwood Enterprises was recently involved in a court case in New York concerning concerning taxes due following the sale of Corwood's share of the Four Seasons Hotel. Corwood and four other co-owners of the hotel were appealing against the imposition of sales tax by the state of New York, on the grounds that they were foreign companies. The appeal was denied.
Corwood Enterprises is an International Business Company (IBC) based in the British Virgin Islands, as are numerous other Parkview subsidiaries, including Halcyon Estates, owners of Battersea Power Station.
Click this link to download a PDF of the court case published on March 11th 2004.
6th April 2004
BPSCG is proposing that Battersea Power Station should be the location of a new UK Energy Centre, carrying out research into climate change and alternative sources of energy. Click here for more information.
1st April 2004
BPSCG chairperson, Brian Barnes, was excluded from a Wandsworth Council orginised Business Event at the request of Parkview International. Click here for a full report.
BPSCG has learned that the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong published a report on the custodial sentences imposed on Choy Wai Zak and Yuen, Cyril Sze Ning in 2002, following insider dealing in shares in the Hong Kong Parkview Group in 1999.
The Commission published a further report when the appeal against the custodial sentences was dismissed. The Securities and Futures Commission also published a detailed report in 1997 on previous insider dealing in shares in the Hong Kong Parkview Group in 1993. On that occasion the court disqualifed Mr C S Hwang as a director of Parkview for six months and imposed heavy fines.
The Guardian has previously reported that a Barclays banker was jailed in 1988 under Hong Kong bribery laws after accepting a payment of £25,000 from Victor Hwang.
Also in the news, the 2002 annual report of the Hong Kong Parkview Group is now available. Interestingly, the report refers to Parkview companies operating in Britain, Allhead Holdings and Outshine Holdings, which are not listed at Companies House.
A date has been set by the Trade Marks Registry to hear our case concerning Parkview's attempt to trademark the name "Battersea Power Station". BPSCG believes that the name "Battersea Power Station" is a part of the common heritage of Londoners, and should not be owned by a private company. More to follow shortly.
BPSCG has written to Wandsworth Council to object to Parkview's planning application to erect a 55m high lattice tower on the site. The stated purpose of the tower is to provide an alternative home for a pair of peregrine falcons currently nesting on one of the chimney pedestals. In our letter we point out that it will be very difficult to encourage the birds to use the tower, and they would be just as likely to go to another building nearby. We also suggest that if Parkview were to repair the chimney bases straight away, incorporating specially designed nesting boxes, there would be no need to move the falcons at all. This would be a more sensible use of the money in our view.
Herbert Muschamp, architecture critic of the New York Times, has published a very interesting article about the 2004 list of the 100 Most Endandangered Monuments, announced recently by the World Monuments Fund. The article refers to Battersea Power Station, which Mr Muschamp was very fond of when he lived in London. Click here to download the article (pdf file).
The Architects' Journal has published a letter from BPSCG member Keith Garner. The letter is in response to a letter from Parkview's Ian Rumgay. Click here to see the full text of the letter.
BPSCG's legal challenge against Wandsworth Council's handling of the various planning permissions for Battersea Power Station (Hautot vs. Wandsworth) was heard in the Royal Courts of Justice on 9th October by Justice Collins.
The challenge succeeded in having Parkview's September 2002 planning permission quashed. This permission related to an extension of time for details to be submitted. It is highly unusual for a planning permission relating to a development of this size to be quashed.
The challenge was unsuccessful on the other main ground, which concerned Wandsworth's handling of variations of conditions attached to the planning permission. BPSCG's lawyers argued that the variations were not valid and that the 1997 planning permission had expired. Justice Collins took the view that the variations themselves should be regarded as renewed planning permissions, with all conditions renewed, although he acknowledged that it was not Wandsworth Council's intention to do this.
In fact, Justice Collins was extremely critical of Wandsworth Council's handling of the planning permissions. He said: "Wandsworth should not be proud of the way they have dealt with these matters". The planning permissions, he went on, were full of errors. Justice Collins also said that he could foresee difficulties for the developer in the future, as there are effectively now three planning permissions for Battersea Power Station which all have different conditions.
BPSCG is now awaiting the full transcript of the case, which we will consider with our legal team, before deciding how to continue. An initial assessment of the ruling suggests that Parkview will find it extremely difficult to proceed, given the fact that the three extant planning permissions are contradictory. This in turn casts doubt on the validity of statements put out by Wandsworth Council this week to the effect that the scheme will now go ahead, creating 9000 jobs in the process.
In a related development, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has written to the World Monuments Fund concerning the WMF's recent inclusion of Battersea Power Station on its list of the 100 Most Endangered Sites. In his letter, Ken Livingstone said:
"Battersea Power Station presents a unique opportunity for heritage-lead regeneration that would provide a sustainable and socially inclusive new urban quarter for the Capital".
Elsewhere, the Financial
Times has also reported the WMF listing and our
legal challenge, although more sympathetically to Parkview
than other recent newspaper reports.
The Independent has published this in depth report about the current state of affairs at Battersea Power Station. The report coincides with the UK launch of the World Monuments Funds's biennial list of the Worlds 100 most endangered monuments, which took place today at St. George's Bloomsbury. Follow this link for a full report on the launch.
In his speech, Lord Dubs praised Battersea Power Station Community Group for their 20 year campaign to keep the building on the public agenda. Lord Dubs also called on Parkview to agree to a lease back arrangement, in which they would surrender the freehold of the Power Station to a trust, and carry out development on the remainder of the site.
Battersea Power Station has been included on the World Monuments Fund's List of 100 of the World's Most Endangered Sites for 2004, following an application by Battersea Power Station Community Group, sponsored by Lord Dubs.
BPSCG has issued a press release in advance of the official launch of the 2004 list, to take place on Thursday at St George's Bloomsbury, which the WMF has previously helped to repair.
The South China Morning Post has published a major article on Parkview's Battersea Power Station development proposals. The article, by SCMP London correspondent Richard Warren, assesses the viability of Parkview's proposal, in particular the light of the judicial review recently launched by BPSCG against Wandsworth Council.
Local campaigners have won the right to take Grimshaw's
£500 million plans for the redevelopment of Battersea
Power Station to judicial review.
At the High Court in May, Battersea Power Station Community Group (BPSCG) persuaded the presiding judge that Wandsworth council had failed to carry out a sufficient Environmental Impact Report before giving the project planning permission.
Chair Brian Barnes said the BPSCG was delighted to make further legal objections, declaring that the decision could be the beginning of the end for the redevelopment. 'If the planning permission is reversed at the Judicial Review then there are any number of issues that will have to be reassessed by the council,' he said. 'These include the environment, transport amenities and social housing provision.'
But the developer behind Grimshaw's scheme, Parkview, refuted the group's claims. 'The court case will not have any impact,' the firm's Ian Rumgay said. This is nothing more than a technicality and there is no way it will kill off the scheme.'
The full judicial review will take place in October
From The Architect' Journal 12th June 2003
BPSCG has issued a press release about the legal challenge we have brought against Wandsworth Council. See Press for details.
The owners of Battersea Power Station have submitted
plans for a new aerial walkway that would link Battersea
Park BR Station with the soon to be redeveloped power
station site. The proposals, as part of a comprehensive
modernisation of the station, would involve the
construction of a new concourse above the existing
platforms. Applicants Parkview International estimate that
the rebuilt station would provide access to the power
station for around half of all visitors. Bringing the
Victorian station up to modern standards and providing a
covered link to the heart of the new development is
expected to cost around £25 million.
From SW magazine, February 2003
OLD NEWS: LIVINGSTONE LEFT 'FUMING' OVER
GRIMSHAW'S BATTERSEA WIN
The Greater London Authority (GLA) has attacked Wandsworth council for granting planning permission to Grimshaw's £500 million Battersea Power Station redevelopment.
London mayor Ken Livingstone is said to be 'extremely frustrated' with the council after it gave the scheme the go-ahead without a Section 106 agreement of any provision for affordable housing. His spokesman attacked the decision as 'irresponsible' and 'very dissappointing', saying: 'A scheme of that size should be in a position to provide a substantial amount for the local community'.
Livingstone was reportedly livid. His spokesman said: 'Wandsworth's decision-makers have made a dreadful mistake. No developer has ever dropped out of a scheme of this size because of the planning gains enforced by a council.'
However, the GLA holds no legal right to call a halt to the scheme because the planning application was submitted prior to its inception.
Wandsworth's head of public affairs, Steve Maynor, rubbished the criticism, saying the decision to support the original planning application was justified. 'No other developers have managed to stand up a scheme on the power station site,' he said. 'We didn't want to do anything that might put this one off.
'Ken's approach is nonsense. We achieve the fourth highest level of affordable housing in London without insisting that every development has to contribute. We only use the Section 106 agreements where they will work. The mayor hates this realistic approach,' Maynor added.
From The Architects' Journal 20th February 2003
The idea that the new plans for the development of
Battersea power station should fill us with excitement is
ridiculous. What do they amount to? Yes, there will be
luxury flats (yawn); high street shops (double yawn); and
offices (zzzzz). And yes, they will all be beneath a giant
roof designed by the architect who did the Eden Project.
But what does it amount to, save for a hill of the same old beans? It will be an atrium like any other. Instead of doing something vital and original with this important London monument, the planners are going to render it just like any other prestige development the capital has seen in the past 30 years, from the Barbican to Canary Wharf and back again.
I've long been of the opinion that the best thing to do
with the elegantly wasted masterpiece of Sir Giles Gilbert
Scott is to leave it to continue its now decades-long
decay. If only some eccentric billionaire woudl buy the
site and abandon it to become a kind of inner-city nature
reserve, that would be truly exciting - but then the only
flying pigs I've ever seen in the vicinity of the power
station were on a Pink Floyd album cover.
Will Self writing in The Evening Standard, Friday 29th November 2002
The developer behind Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners' £500million plans for Battersea Power Station has denied reports that the project has stalled.
Ian Rumgay from Parkview insisted that essential and lengthy enabling work was going ahead to prepare the 15ha site, 'It is a massive undertaking but I promise it is going to happen this side of 2010,' he said. There are also plans for a pedestrian bridge and moving elevated walkway to replace a failed bid for a rail link to Victoria, he added.
However, the local Battersea Power Station Community Group remained unconvinced that Parkview was intending to see the project through. 'The leisure centre has never been viable,' spokesman Keith Garner said.
From The Architects' Journal 14th November 2002
Photographs taken by BPSCG member Angela Parkinson in December 2002
The Guardian newspaper has today published a major piece on Battersea Power Station. The article can be seen on the Guardian Unlimited web site.
The article confirms what we have long suspected about the so-called development plans. There has been regular hype about the development at Battersea Power Station over the past 20 years but nothing, apart from further damage, ever happens.
Parkview have recently demolished half of Battersea Water Pumping Station but, due to our opposition, the 1840 engine house has had a temporary reprieve. Wandsworth Council have given permission to demolish the building when a new building is commissioned. We are seeking a Judicial Review into the legality of the decision by the Council.
David Hencke and Rob Evans's report is very interesting. None of the previous backers will be involved and there is no backing for a £ billion redevelopment. Parkview are relying on a consortium of backers to start the work.
Even staunch supporters - The Gordon Group and Warner Village Cinemas -have departed, and BAA, the Really Useful Group, and Cirque de Soleil went a year ago and more.
There will no longer be a rail link to the building; Railtrack withdrew that offer before going into liquidation.
Lord Alf Dubs of Battersea is very angry having been told by Parkview in 1997 about starting within six months and guaranteeing thousands of local jobs. Ken Livingston is on their case because there are zero affordable homes in the 650 flats proposed.
The only working on site in the coming months will be: Thames Water upgrading the water mains, London Electricity relocating junction box from the Power Station and Dalkia moving a water heating generator to the riverside to allow a rail station to be built even though no trains will run! Parkview also say they are building offices on a site in Kirtling Street, outside the Power Station site perimeter, to move their offices from expensive Mayfair.
Parkview are predicting 2006 as the start of development (In 1998 they said 2000.) Nothing will happen in or to the Power Station itself for years to come
Brian Barnes Chair BPSCG
8th November 2002
For previous news, click here