The new development in Battersea “is not” only for the rich

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The redevelopment of Battersea Power station has started and as we have written many times before, we are very concerned what the impact of the new neighborhood might have on the existing community.

30-40 percent of the flats have been sold to foreign investors, said the CEO of the new Battersea Power Station Development Company, Robert Tincknell to the Evening Standard last week. He did also mentioned that even if they were bought up by foreign investors, most of the investors will probably rent the flats to londoners. Something that would contribute to the vibrant community they hope to build. He also believes that the new development will be good for local business and that they are trying to be a part of the existing community.

The question still remains, would not a new development with expensive flats make the rent for existing houses higher? Tincknell says that he does not want Battersea Power Station to only be a place for the rich, but with the building plans they got, does it really sound like a place that is not only for the rich?

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New playground in Battersea Park

Demolished adventure playground

The adventure playground in Battersea park has now been demolished for three month. Before the demolition Wandsworth council claimed that the One O Clock club had to be closed because of the protesters, but is now going to be opened as a cafe instead.

The rebuilding of the playground has started and the main part is for younger children. There will be a part aimed for older children, but to access this part you need to pay.

So is this new playground really going to be better and safer then the last one? It will probably be safer in the sense that less people are going to be able to enjoy themselves at the playground. And is it really okay to put an age limit on having fun and play and excluding older kids by forcing them to pay? Should it not be free for all or is this part, made for older children, really going to be such a magical place that is worth paying for?

Of course it is just another depressing aspect of the gentrification, privatisation and commodification of the Battersea / Nine Elms area.

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Is the new Power Station scheme to change people’s quality of life?

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Rob Tincknell was interviewed in The Standard, Hong Kong’s biggest circulation English daily, about the plans for Battersea Power Station earlier this month. The power station was bought by three Malaysian companies, SP Setia, Sime Darby and Employee’s Provident Fund, in June last year. Tincknell said that the Malaysian’s vision for the site is better and different from the previous schemes, since this one is bigger and it is going to influence people’s quality of life.

Tincknell failed to mention that people’s quality of life is not only going to change for the better. Like we have mentioned before, many in the nearby communities are people on low incomes, and with a luxury estate just across the road from their homes the rents will rise and their quality of life will get worse.

Developers who want to attract really wealthy buyers have to build super-size apartment buildings with flats bigger then 6,000 square feet. The new penthouses in Battersea are planned to be 8,000 square feet, a size aimed to appeal more to the rich rather then the members of the Battersea community.

Tincknell also mentioned that no other plans have had a good solution to the public transport, but this scheme is planning to extend the Northern Line with public money, a 1 billion loan from UK government to Transport for London.

Two things are interesting with this statement. First of all, the previous owners of Battersea Power Station, who Tincknell also worked for, were the one’s who planned the extension of the Northern Line. Second, the owners were also suppose to pay for the extension as a contribution towards section 106- planning gain. Somewhere down the line the private-funding of the underground extension has turned in to a public-funding.

In the end Tincknell said that tourists want to come and see things that are authentic, and he means that the Power Station surrounded by ugly new buildings will give “authenticity” to the place. The only question is, will Battersea Power Station survive after its chimneys have been taken down to be rebuild, and how much of its authenticity will it be able to keep?

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Battersea Power Station only a place for the rich?

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Supposedly, Battersea Power Station is getting a new life. The vision is of a lively community where people can contact each other through their own social networks,  meet their neighbours in memberships clubs, small children  splash in a pool while their mums chat, shoppers cruise cafes and exclusive shops unique to the area- for some a nice vision.

A marketing person’s image of the perfect place to live, why would you ever want to move from one of the top five places in London? What can possibly be wrong with a community like this?

One problem can be that the first 800 flats are being sold off plan to rich people in Asia. Even if the plan is to build 3,500 new homes, when a forth of the houses are being sold to people who probably will not live there most of the time, will that really contribute to a lively neighbourhood?

An other question that needs to be raised is what is going to happen to the existing communities in Battersea? With luxury estates being built in the area, bringing expensive shops with them, the rents of the properties in the surrounding areas will probably be rise substantially. Especially if they succeed in building this community for rich people, the demand for apartments will rise and once again the rents will get higher.

With many people in the neighbouring estates, such as the Patmore estate, being low-income, a rent increase would be devastating. This would lead to most of the people being forced to move, but the question is to where? And is it really fair to force people who served and have been a part of a community to leave it just because of the effects from the luxury buildings across the road. Especially since almost a forth of the flats will not be sold to people in London who needs a place to live.

So one person’s idea of the perfect community is a nightmare for others.  Is it really worth the price? And do we really want to live in a world where some people are worth more than other just based on money?

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The Demolition of the Adventure Playground in Battersea Park

We wrote on the blog yesterday that the Adventure Playground in Battersea Park has now been demolished. Wandsworth council took the decision to destroy the playground despite protests from members of the community.

The council claims that the old playground must close on health and safety ground and that a new and more safe playground will be built soon. The new playground will no longer have staff around to make sure that all children are safe, and it is supposed to be much cheaper than the old one. If the new playground is ever built is still in question, but we are sure that the demolition of the old playground is a part of a gentrification ripple effect starting from Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms developments.

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The Adventure Playground in Battersea Park has been demolished

Despite protest from members of the community the popular Adventure Playground of Battersea has been demolished by Wandsworth council. The demolition can been seen as a part of the gentrification that are being preformed in the area of Battersea power station and nine elms-area.

Members of the community and the organisation Occupy London had since the 5th of January occupied the playground in protest of the planned demolition in hope that the council would change their mind and let them open the playground again. This didn’t stop the council and with arguments that “the old playground had safety and health issues” they decided to ignore the will of the community.

What is even more interesting is that a smaller playground in Wandsworth, Kimber road, was planned to be demolished before the one in Battersea, but the council has yet started the demolition. Why they chosen to postpone this demolition is still unclear, but it might be that they are just waiting for the bad publicity after the demolition of the other playgrounds are over.

The community are now planning to fight for the last standing playground in the council and stop this gentrification to go any further.

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The Wandsworth Council’s propaganda against protesters

Wandsworth Council posted an article claiming that “squatters who were yesterday (Wednesday) evicted from their illegal camp at Battersea Park’s adventure playground have left behind a squalid and disgusting mess”. This is part of their propaganda. More than 4000 signatures were gathered by members of the community who wish to preserve the Battersea Park Adventure Playground, yet their voices are being silenced.

Do not fall for this propaganda. The protesters are members of the public, parents and residents of the area who have spent some of the coldest nights of this winter in a locked site. They fight for their children’s right to enjoy what the Battersea Adventure Playground has offered for them and their generation. Whereas the Council’s intentions are highly arbitrary. They have not offered a valid justification for their actions and they keep ignoring the public’s wishes.

This video was filmed in the very early hours of Wednesday 23 January 2013. It was taken by peaceful protesters occupying the building adjacent to the Battersea Adventure Playground – under Section 6 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 – and catches the moment when the police potentially illegally enter the occupied building. You can hear a crow bar being used and the smashing up of the window/building.

In our opinion this destruction of public property is not the result of “squatters” but a staged attempt to validate bureaucratic, arbitrary decisions, that have zero consideration for the community’s children.

Sign the petition to save the Battersea Adventure Playground and support the “Wandsworth Against Cuts” organisation.

Also, visit Save Kimber Road and Battersea adventure playgrounds to read about other adventure playgrounds that have been demolished.

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Battersea Park adventure playground occupied to stop demolition

The Battersea Adventure Playground has been the jewel of Battersea Park for more than fifty years. It is located at the South West corner, not far from Battersea Power Station.

Adventure playgrounds offer a unique experience for children and teenagers, as they provide much more than just swings. This type of playgrounds are specifically designed to encourage children to take initiative, use their imagination and be more active during playtime. Staff, volunteers and carers are always present to provide assistance, keep the children safe and organize activities.

In October, Wandsworth Council decided to demolish the popular adventure playground based on various spurious claims regarding health, safety and funds. The community strongly objected and founded the Wandsworth Against Cuts organisation as an answer to the Council’s general attitude. The playground has been occupied since the 5th of January by members of the community as well as activists from the Occupy London organisation:

Battersea Park adventure playground occupied to stop demolition

Yesterday, the police succeeded in evicting some of the occupants, but not all of them. The protest against the Council’s decisions has not been silenced yet and you can show your support by signing the petition. This demolition of the adventure playground for “safety” reasons seems to be part of a gentrification ripple effect starting from Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms area.

Wandsworth Council insist cuts are necessary but claims it is spending £200,000 replacing the demolished adventure playground with standard play equipment.

Visit Save Kimber Road and Battersea adventure playgrounds to read about other adventure playgrounds that have been demolished.

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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Battersea Redevelopment Scheme

Wandsworth Borough Council recently acknowledged the dedicated hard work of six volunteers. See this article from the Council to read about these people. Their commitment is a shining example of the potential to locally promote the concept of opportunity.

That is in stark contrast to the proposed redevelopment scheme around Battersea Power Station. If the scheme is to go ahead the lowest sale price will be in the region of £700,000. It is not designed for local growth; for one, the average London resident cannot come close to affording the prices, and, secondly, the primary purpose is to attract eastern investors. Have a read of this article from the Architect’s Journal. Battersea is a borough proud of its heritage, including of course a long-standing association with the world famous power station. As the AJ article also highlights, local residents’ view of the power station will be severely disrupted. The redevelopment scheme, apart from damaging the view of the power station, will impose a mono-culture of gentrification resembling Canary Wharf.

London Mayor Boris Johnson hailed the scheme as the greatest source of growth in London since Canary Wharf. Indeed attracting foreign investment, as the scheme will likely do, would be of huge benefit to the financial district. However, it is difficult to see the economic benefits on a local level. Johnson stated his target of creating 25,000 jobs but any involvement in the development’s construction appears unlikely or low key since the corporate firms involved will bring in employees from exterior regions and any local work would merely be temporary. Ultimately, the scheme will work to spread the social divide that has been so horribly exposed in post-2008 Britain.

Anyhow, the scheme cannot progress in the first place without the long-planned extension of the Northern line to the Battersea power station. There is no doubt of the necessity to improve Battersea’s transport links and in recent days the matter has made headlines following Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement of a £1billion loan for the extension to happen. This, as we see it, is questionable. If the government had full confidence in the extension, would they not have made a direct investment, expressing their belief in the economic benefits that it should guarantee?

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Vauxhall transformation plan photograph released

The first image of complete plans for the transformation of Vauxhall in south London has been released.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More than 20 developments will turn brownfield land along the River Thames at Nine Elms into parks, homes, and shopping areas.

Construction work on the £8bn revamp of nearby Battersea Power Station is due to start in the middle of next year.

A spokeswoman said the power station revamp is just one of the developments in the area.

Programme director Helen Fisher, said the scheme would be centred around One Nine Elms, which she described as the tallest residential tower in western Europe.

New stations

A spokeswoman for the scheme said construction of more than 1,000 homes had already started and the St George Wharf residential tower would be completed in the next 12 to 18 months.

She said work on the new US Embassy was due to begin soon and the entire programme of works was expected to be completed in the next five to 10 years.

A public consultation into plans by Transport for London (TfL) to build new underground stations at Nine Elms and Battersea is currently under way.

The Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership was set up in 2010 to oversee the development.

The partnership includes developers and landowners in the area, the Mayor of London, TfL and the Greater London Authority, and is chaired by the leaders of Wandsworth and Lambeth councils.

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