Battersea Power Station – “London Only” sales claim is Bogus

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALondon, in recent years, has seen a boom in foreign property investment. With various far Eastern economies generating a new class of super-rich, London’s property market bubble is seen as a safe cash haven for this elite. According to Savills, international premium property retailer, 50% of the capital’s prime central homeowners is now dominated by overseas investors, which is furiously contributing to property price inflation.

Naturally, with Battersea Power Station being such an historically renowned architectural and industrial, Grade II listed, British icon, many are wishing to get a slice of the 400ft riverside views. Malasyian developers, Sime Darby, aim to create 3,500 new homes in 15 years, and have already sold nearly all of the 866 luxury apartments of the initial Circus West (or Phase 1) project, generating $1 billion prior to even being built.

However, much contention surrounded the project when Sime Darby refused to release what percentage of their buyers were domestic or international. With property shows for the Battersea homes, which range from £365,000 per studio flat to £6million per penthouse, advertising in China, Russia and Malaysia it is now clear that around 55% of the homes, went to foreign money before even appearing in the pages of Property Week in Blighty.

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This flew in the face of London Mayor, Boris Johnson, who had previously pledged that all property developed within the Power Station would be offered to Londoners first. Slightly perversely, the lack of priortisation for local buyers has been marketed as an apparent strain on London’s unaffordable housing problems, despite some penthouse suites retailing for up to £30million. As a result, developers have recently made a big song and dance about the London Launch of the Phase 2 development. These properties are intended to be exclusively on offer to UK residents before they are made globally available. The Battersea Power Station website encourages visitors to “Register an Interest” and Rob Tincknell, CEO of Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC), recently claimed that:

“There has been a lot of comment recently about London’s housing problems and we believe the only way to try and solve this is to build great homes and create a community that people actually want to live in”

However, this PR stunt has recently been unearthed with a simple phone call to Battersea Power Station Development Company sales team. Upon being deciphered as an authentic potential buyer, the mole was told categorically that while there is a strict London-only launch of the Phase 2 properties on 1st May 2014, overseas investors are more than welcome to purchase the prospective homes if they are in the country or through their UK based agents. Therefore demonstrating that the press have once again been romanced into believing that developments of one of the greatest icons in British industrial history will be more than a juicy, international investment for oligarchs and millionaires. They have let this charade by developers go unchallenged and have reported it verbatim, letting our beloved Battersea Power Station slip further and further into flipping international hands.

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A Victory for Vito – The Chelsea Bridge Kiosk is Saved!

After a campaign by Keith Garner, Brian Barnes, and lease-holder Renato Di Paola to keep the Chelsea Bridge Coffee Stall on Queenstown Road from closure, their efforts have proven fruitful.

An online petition for the retention of the stall gathered nearly 1000 signatures from locals and “Ex-Bats” (people who were from Battersea, but have since emigrated as far away as Australia), all in support of the kiosk.

Original complaints and a request for the license (which still has a year left to run) to be revoked came from 27 members of the Chelsea Bridge Wharf Residents Association, whose apartments overlook the kiosk. The complaints described noise-pollution, litter and anti-social behaviour, such as urinating on stairs by the river and kicking balls. However, although residents submitted ‘photographic evidence’ of the litter in November and December, it was pointed out that the same photographs were repeated for each month. A trend that was also repeated in another 11 pages of images that were duplicated.

It was found that alleged complaints about noise were never made to the council. Therefore, the council proposed a litter cleaning every 1.5 hours, but otherwise supported general consensus that Roberto’s nighttime license should remain intact.

See our interview with Roberto in 2009 here.

 

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Licence to Chelsea Bridge Coffee Stall to be revoked?

Wandsworth Council are considering revoking the licence to the 70 year old Chelsea Bridge Tea Stall. Poor owner Vito is on the edge of losing his beloved shop. Watch our 2009 interview with Vito about his stall here. Another attempt to please the rich?

Chelsea Bridge Coffee Stall adjacent Chelsea Bridge, Queenstown Road, London

Chelsea Bridge Coffee Stall adjacent Chelsea Bridge, Queenstown Road, London

The ‘high class’ salesmen seem to look down on the simple and tasty snacks and warming drinks Vito is selling. Before we know it, we will find this stand being replaced by a Michelin star finger food stall.

Susan Ekins, a regular visitor who is fond of the Tea Stand, says:

As you may know, this stand has been there for at least 70 years, and is much appreciated. The residents of the new blocks did not like the biker gatherings, and as I understand it, these have, in general, being closed down and parking kept away from close proximity to the stand. I use that bridge at all hours, but have never noticed any litter or noise – which is not to say that it has not happened.

The application for review has been handed in on the 9th of January 2014. It has been made on the following grounds, according to Wandsworth Council:

”The current conditions on the licence have failed to uphold the licensing objectives of the prevention of public nuisance and the prevention of crime and disorder in the premises is giving rise to unacceptable levels of noise, litter and general anti-social behaviour.”

 

Chelsea Bridge Coffee Stall adjacent Chelsea Bridge, Queenstown Road, London

Chelsea Bridge Coffee Stall adjacent Chelsea Bridge, Queenstown Road, London

Surely the council is not just cooking up excuses to continue to socially cleanse the area around the so called Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea “Opportunity” Area. Seems one person’s opportunity is another’s loss of livelihood.

Find here another objection, from Keith Garner, architect and member of the Battersea Power Station Community Group.

Dear Sirs,

Chelsea Bridge Coffee Stall adjacent Chelsea Bridge, Queenstown Road, London, SW8 2R

I am writing to support the retention and renewal of the licence for the the Chelsea Bridge coffee stall which is a useful local facility for residents and people working in the area, as well as a local landmark and institution in its own right.

I have lived close to Battersea Park for 28 years. As a local resident I know of no grounds for revoking or otherwise refusing to renew or extend the licence. In my experience, the customers of the stall have always been well behaved.  This is not to say that there might not be occasional lapses.  But is it important in an urban situation that everyone goes that little bit further to be tolerant and understanding.

The stall has been there for as long as I can remember.  I went there when the old “Chelsea Cruise” used to happen on Saturday evenings in the seventies and eighties. It certainly pre-dates the riverside flats by many decades.  The owners of the flats would have been aware of the stall before the moved in, and had the option to go elsewhere.  In any case the flats are some distance from the kiosk which is on the bridge itself.

The management of the riverside flats are being too sensitive. I know from my own recent experience that it is not even possible to stop and look at the view from the riverside walk at night time, without their security guards coming out.  The loss of the kiosk would further contribute to the loss of life and vitality on the riverside that these recent luxury flats represent.

The coffee stall makes Battersea more interesting.  It should be retained and valued.

Yours faithfully,

Keith Garner

Hopefully the objections will be taken seriously. All we can do now is wait for a final decision.

Click Battersea Power Station for more blogs
See our Battersea Power Station project pages for more information and videos.
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.

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Residents Object to Planning Applications

Many residents of Chelsea Bridge Wharf Apartments have strongly objected to the new plans for Battersea Power Station.

Over twenty objection letters were sent from residents in relation to the applications. The most common complaints included:

  • Loss of view from the flats
  • Decrease of light in to accommodation
  • Very little privacy
  • Increase of noise and dust for the residents

These complaints from residents are amongst many objections to the new plans for Battersea Power Station, highlighting the public outcry at these proposals.

To read about the Planning Applications or to read the Objection Comments click here.

Find out more about Spectacle’s Battersea Power Station Project

For interviews and more visit Spectacle’s Archive

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Vito Interview

New to the Spectacle Archive

Interview with Vito.

With his family’s burger van in danger Vito talks to Spectacle about his worries.

WATCH Vito’s Interview.

For details on our Battersea Power Station Project visit Spectacle’s Project Page.

To watch interviews and more visit Spectacle’s Archive.

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Battersea Power Station-Privatising the river front

BATTERSEA POWER STATION and Berkeley Homes are blocking the river access. REO, current owners of Battersea Power Station, are planning to do nothing on the site until after 2012 and not completing construction until 2020. That is their planned schedule, of course there could be delays and it could slip into the mid or late 20s. Meanwhile Londoners are excluded from using the river front.

REO like to claim they are concerned to benefit local people and Londoners in general but actually do nothing to back this up. A quick and relatively cheap benefit REO could implement NOW to demonstrate their good intentions would be to open up access to the river.

The Thames Path, part of the National Trail, is unique, it’s the only long distance path to follow a river for most of its length. It should be possible to walk the entire length of the River Thames through the city centre.

Thames Path (section 14)

Thames Path (section 14)

Currently the Thames Path on the south bank going east runs along the embankment of  Battersea Park, extends to a new pedestrian bridge that goes under Chelsea Bridge towards the Power Station.

New pedestrian footbridge under Chelsea Bridge looking east

There is then a short riverside path running in front of the new Berkeley Homes flats that ends in a gate saying: “Private Property: No public Access Beyond this point. Site access only” and “Danger Construction Site”

Is this really "private property"?

Is this really "private property"?

There is no obvious reason why Berkeley Homes should be able to privatise this river front access for their exclusive use. Is it legal? There is no sign of any construction work being done beyond these gates. It cannot be because the Power Station is unsafe as REO, current owners of the site, have recently agreed to build a marquee inside the roofless turbine hall between the four chimneys for lucrative income generating public events.

View of Berkeley Home's office from north bank

View of Berkeley Home's office from the north bank. Why is this blocking the "Thames Path"?

The path could easily extend east in front of the power station and connect with the Thames Path at Kirtling St and Tideway Walk.
The only real obstacle is the Cringle Street Refuse Transfer Station. However at other points on the Thames were there are such riverside waste transfer stations the path continues inside a protective cage. On REO’s own model (below) they showed the path going out onto a jetty over the river.  The grey jetty already exists only the white jetty extensions at either end are needed to make the Thames Path continuous and by pass the Refuse Transfer Station.

REO's model showing extended jetty running in front of Waste Transfer Station

REO's model showing extended jetty running in front of Waste Transfer Station

REO’s own plans shows a riverside footbridge going around the waste transfer plant. A small extension of the jetty ( in white) provides a path that bypasses the Waste transfer plant.

There is no reason the Thames Path could not be opened up NOW, cheaply and immediately. If you want to let REO know how you feel about them blocking the Thames Path you can fill in their questionnaire.

Visit Spectacle’s on-going Battersea Power Station Project

Watch a video trailer here: Battersea Power Station – The Story So Far

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If you live in the neighbourhood and would like to get involved, contact us here putting Battersea Power Station in your message.

Click here to view more Battersea Power Station links

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If you would like to object to the planning applications for Battersea Power Station you have until January 31st 2010 click here for more details.

For more information about Spectacle’s Battersea Power Station project including video interviews.

To read more blogs about Battersea Power Station

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