Chimneys standing firm

REO continue to shoot themselves in the – what by now must be, given their perilously brittle financial circumstances, bare – feet. Their persistent corporate prostitution of the inner sanctuary of the Battersea Power Station (for yous philistines who don’t know is now renamed THE BOILER ROOM) rips away any last layer of credibility from the assertion that the iconic chimneys of Battersea Power Station should be demolished for safety reasons.

Photo taken from beyond the danger zone

This declaration is a major part of REO’s planning application, stating that the chimneys are monstrously dangerous actually, given that they could fall down imminently. This is the reason, according to Planning Director of REO and Treasury Holdings Jeremy Castle, that there is a strict thirty metre exclusion zone around each of the chimneys at each event. Quite how they maintain this INSIDE the structure of the power station is a mystery.

What undermines these claims is that there have been a slew of conferences, dinners and even large scale events in and around the power station throughout the year; from the recent Red Bull X-Fighter Motorcross event to the upcoming SHINE benefit dinner in November (where a canopy and walkway to access The Boiler Room will be constructed for guests). These events, inclusive of the Paul McCartney gig inside the station back in July, would not be permitted to take place if there was any truth to these safety concerns, so this fallacy of collapsing chimneys is but a clever marketing shoehorn to strengthen the application process. Which ironically of course, will be slowed down to increase the value of the land if the application is accepted.

This flagrant contradiction only adds to the  controversy surrounding REO, given that they are over a billion in debt, unable to pay interest to creditors, heavily criticised by heritage institutions such as the Victorian Society, Kew Bridge Engine Trust and the Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society, and planning an unwanted underground line extension. The current plans for the station, which you can read more about on our Spectacle Battersea Blog, also include planning requests for an office and leisure complex, riverside access, a hotel, and 3,700 luxury flats.

To send in a written objection to the plans to demolish the station and its neighbouring Grade II* listed sister pumping house, address it to Bob Leuty at Wandsworth Council, planning applications@wandsworth.gov.uk . The deadline for written objections is 5pm tomorrow (30th September), and you can also contact your Wandsworth Councillor and ask them what their view is on this before deciding how to vote.

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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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National Treasure kills Beatle?

Battersea Power Station

You couldn’t make it up.

Former Wings frontman Paul McCartney is holding a bring-me-back-my-youth gig in the belly of the roofless Battersea Power Station in order to fund raise for a new roof for the Old Vic Theatre.

Multi-millionaire Macca is dusting off his guitar in a bid to raise money for the theatre, but for him to play inside a structure which REO, the owner, claim is so fragile and so dangerous that the chimneys must be removed for safety reasons, begs the post-ironic question: when will the power station have an honorary gig at the Old VIc to provide it with a roof of its own?

Despite Macca’s considerable fall from grace since his hey-day (his Bromance with Vlad the Impaler Putain in Red Square, receiving guided tours of the Kremlin and playing a personal concert for the Russian dictator), presumably Battersea Power Station has been chosen for the venue as a silent homage to its rock’n’roll image, most notably gracing the cover of the 1976 Pink Floyd album, Animals. The fact that Macca is being granted permission to perform there must mean that the disused power station is not as much of a threat to life and limb as developers, politicians, and pen-pushers (all with vested interests) would have the public believe.

Surely such a National Treasure has more to give as a cultural icon? And Battersea Power Station isn’t in such bad shape bad either.

Hope Sir Moolah wears a hard hat.

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

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