Battersea Power Station to be added to the World Monuments Fund’s list of cultural heritage in danger for 2014
8th October 2013
We are very pleased indeed that the World Monuments Fund has decided to include Battersea Power Station in the “World Monuments Watch” for 2014.
We hope that inclusion in the World Monuments Watch will draw attention to the continuing failure of a succession of foreign-based private owners, together with Wandsworth Council and English Heritage, to see that the building is properly looked after and given appropriate new lease of life.
We also hope that inclusion in the World Monuments Watch 2014 will help to bring about a new and better approach to the preservation of this important building.
Inclusion in the World Monuments Watch for 2014 also marks the 10 th anniversary since the building was first included in the World Monuments Watch in 2004.
Ten years ago, we were told by then owner Parkview that inclusion in the World Monuments Watch was unnecessary and: ”….plans for the restoration of this landmark are already well underway” (AJ 02.10.03). But since 2004 there has been no progress at Battersea Power Station, which has been allowed to deteriorate even further.
In 2006 Parkview sold to Irish developers Treasury Holdings which also made no progress and went bankrupt in 2011. The current owners - a Malaysian consortium - propose to surround Battersea Power Station with blocks of flats up to 18 storeys high , obscuring views of the famous London landmark from most directions.
The consortium justify the excessive height of the towers by saying this is necessary to fund the restoration of the grade II* listed building.
We are calling for a different approach with ownership of Battersea Power Station transferred to a trust, to be repaired using funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and other sources. (There are precedents for this: the former Bankside Power Station became Tate Modern with £50m of lottery money and £60m of private money.)
The consortium can develop the flat land at the back (the former South Lambeth Goods Yard site) and develop the unlisted parts of Battersea Power Station itself on a leasehold basis. But key views of Battersea Power Station must be preserved and there should be free public access to the listed interiors.
The consortium also proposes to carry out Parkview’s plan to demolish the chimneys . This despite an authoritative engineering report jointly commissioned by the Twentieth Century Society, World Monuments Fund and ourselves in 2005 that showed that the case for demolition is not proved. We fear that the consortium will take the chimneys down and then invent a reason not to put them back up. They must be stopped.
38,000 people visited Battersea Power Station during London Open House weekend this September. It is bizarre and anomalous that this hugely popular building has not benefited from HLF funding since the National Lottery was established in 1995. We call on English Heritage to take the lead in rectifying this situation.
Battersea Power Station has been described as “… one of the supreme monuments of twentieth century Britain”. Foreign speculators can no longer be trusted with this important building which must be repatriated forthwith and repaired with public money.
We are holding an event to mark the inclusion of Battersea Power Station in the 2014 World Monuments Watch to take place at Battersea Power Station on Wednesday 9th October at 3.00pm. Meet at the Gate 2 in Kirtling Street at 2.45pm.
Brian Barnes MBE 020 7627 5821 / 07748 554866
Keith Garner 020 7585 0421 / 07876 163638
Ernest Rodker 020 8672 9698
Angela Parkinson 07931 814607
Kett Murphy (USA) 00 1 312 320 2471
For further information and news clips see:
Spectacle Productions : http://www.spectacle.co.uk/spectacleblog/category/battersea-power-station/ Mark Saunders: 07956 934548
The Battersea Files by Eclipse films: http://www.batterseafiles.co.uk/#!videos/c65q
Kevin Murphy : 00 1 520 836 8792
8th October 2013
© Battersea Power Station Community Group 2013