Battersea Power Station Chimneys demolition- History repeating

URGENT NEWS ON BATTERSEA POWER STATION CHIMNEY DEMOLITION

Thursday 12th June representatives of the BPSCG (Battersea Power Station Community Group) met with Paul Landsberg of Wandsworth Borough Council Planning Department to discuss their concerns regarding the legal and financial protections in place ahead of the imminent demolition of the chimneys, in particular whether the bond is in force and whether it is large enough to cover the cost of rebuilding the chimneys should the developer fail to replace them.  What they discovered was deeply disturbing:

The bond money is held in a Malaysian bank, CIMB
The value of the bond for the reconstruction of three and a half chimneys is only £11million.
The value of the bond is based on an estimate supplied by Philip Gullet of the Battersea Power Station Development Company.
This estimate has not been independently checked by cost consultants employed by Wandsworth Council or English Heritage.
The contract sum for the demolition and rebuilding of the chimneys was redacted from the copy of the contract sent to Wandsworth. So it is not possible to compare demolition costs against rebuilding.
The Council does not know if the bond is signed and in force, although the reconstruction contract starts next Monday.

HISTORY REPEATING…

This is all the more alarming in light of what happened when John Broome, the first failed developer of the site, took down but never replaced the west wall and roof, as it remains to this day. The council’s own report in 1989 criticised the woeful lack of safeguards and- some would say- gullibility of the planning officers.

According to Battersea Power Station Community Group the bond money should be held in a British bank if Wandsworth and English Heritage are to have any chance of getting at it in the event of a default.  The total value of the bond also needs to be increased substantially if it is to be able to cover the reconstruction of three and a half chimneys, if a default occurs.

With the chimneys reconstruction contract about to start, it is clear that Wandsworth Council and English Heritage are not protecting our cultural heritage -either in checking the proposed value of the bond or making sure the contract is signed and enforceable before the demolition and reconstruction project starts.

With interest rates about to rise, the possibility of the project failing yet again is increasing by the day.  If this happens when the chimneys are down, and it turns out the bond money isn’t there (as was the case in 1989 after Broome went bust)  the chimneys will never be rebuilt.

We need to rescue Battersea Power Station from these shameless, grey, dozing men who will sell our industrial heritage for peanuts and the enrichment of foreign “investors”. Keep an eye on the revolving door!

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See our Battersea Power Station project pages for more information and videos.
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URGENT-Save Battersea Water Pumping Station from demolition

We, the undersigned, ask Wandsworth Council to refuse listed building consent application 2014/1236 for the demolition of Battersea Water Pumping Station.

Battersea Water Pumping Station is the oldest surviving water pumping station in London.

It was built in 1840 for the Southwark Water Company and extended in 1856.  It housed a series of Cornish engines used for pumping water from the Thames.  At one time the pumping station housed the largest Cornish engine ever built, with a 112″ diameter cylinder.

The building was listed Grade II in 1994.

The pumping station commemorates the rich industrial heritage of the Nine Elms and North Battersea.  It has great potential to encouraging young people to think of science, technology and engineering as important skills worth acquiring.

Retaining and preserving the pumping station would attract visitors to the site and therefore increase footfall for the new facilities that will be open to the public.  It is in everybody’s interest that it is preserved.

We ask Wandsworth Council to initiate discussions with the owner/developer so that the development can be reconfigured to incorporate the pumping station

We further ask Wandsworth Council to convene negotiations between the owner/developer and the Battersea Power Station Company Ltd (a local registered charity) to allow the pumping station to be passed into the latter’s ownership for £1, to allow them to renovate the pumping station with Lottery funding.

Sean Creighton & Keith Garner

June 2014

Stop this cultural vandalism for profit.

PLEASE Sign the petition

For more blogs on the Battersea Water Pumping Station

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Marketing carbuncle on Battersea Power Station

The new Battersea Power Station owners, like all the previous “flippers”, has barely spent a penny on taking care of the Grade II* listed building, which is in such a perilous state it is now listed as an endangered world monument, while gushing out PR about “restoration“.

What they have spent money on is clearing the site of any inconvenient obstacles to untrammeled profitable development – getting planning permission to demolish the listed Victorian Pump House, finding an excuse to remove and mothball the listed cranes, getting the gas holders a certificate of immunity from listing and removed.

They also like to spend money on themselves and their target customers- the rich foreign investor. So while the building rots and the cranes rust away the owners have put in a planning permission application to erect a “temporary” but very expensive and intrusive marketing suite on the corner of the roof of annex B- a decision will be made in January 2014.

Happily from this position prospective buyers will not able to see the adjacent Cringle Street waste transfer station. As we mentioned in a previous blog the Western Riverside Waste Authority’s second transfer station, Cringle Dock is situated next to Battersea Power Station and is capable handling over 5,000 tonnes of smelly refuse every week- all brought in by lorry.

Find below the planning application to erect a temporary marketing suite.

File created with CoreGraphics

Planning Application erect temp.-2597010

File created with CoreGraphics

Planning Application Lift -2597010

In the BPS Newsletter 13 – 12 the owners describe their planning applications as:

”In November 2013 a planning application was submitted to Wandsworth Council to erect a temporary marketing suite on the north-eastern corner of the roof of Annexe B of the Power Station. We expect a decision in January 2014 and hope to erect the structure soon after.”

So, there is plenty to object to the Battersea Power Station planning Applications

You can register your objections on-line now

Details of the planning applications can be found on the Planning pages of Wandsworth Council’s website by searching the applications database using reference numbers below or follow our links:

Ref: 2013/5757  Alter or Extend a Listed Building

Click here to object/comment on 5757

Ref: 2013/5690   Application for Full Permission

Click here to object/comment on 5690

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Battersea Power Station to Lose Chimneys During Renovation

Battersea Power Station could be temporarily left with just one solitary chimney after developers applied to change conditions of work on the listed building. Last week the Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC) applied for permission to change the sequence in which the listed building’s chimneys are rebuilt.

The new application, called a deed of variation, proposes a change to the original legal agreement, between Wandsworth Council and English Heritage, so that the first chimney could be rebuilt on its own.

The power station with one chimney

The remaining three would then be rebuilt at the same time. A safeguard will also be added to the legal agreement which will require the developer to provide a bond for the full value of the chimney works contract before the project can get under way. The council could use this bond to pay for the completion of the project if for any reason the developer failed to finish.

No changes are being proposed to the design of the chimneys which would be constructed according to the original architecture plans so that they match the appearance of the originals. The development company estimates that changing the sequence of the chimney works would mean the power station restoration project could be completed two years earlier.

In 2011 Wandsworth Council and English Heritage approved plans for each of the decayed chimneys to be rebuilt after successive engineering studies showed all four were beyond repair.

Last month the Wandsworth Guardian reported campaigner’s fears the power station could permanently lose its famous chimneys once they were taken down. and a final decision on whether to approve the proposals will be made by the council’s planning applications committee.

“It is entirely plausible the owners will take the chimneys down and then contrive some reason why they can’t be rebuilt. Council planners are now examining the application in detail.’ Keith Garner – Power station campaigner 

View the Wandsworth application and enter reference number 2013/3076.

 

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Save Kimber Road and Battersea adventure playgrounds

Wandsworth Against the Cuts has opened an online petititon to the Government to avoid the closure of Kimber Road and Battersea Park playgrounds. As York Gardens Playground has been recently flattened by builders they believe Kimber Road could be torn down as early as this Friday and Battersea soon after.

Campaigners claim that the closure of the adventure playgrounds will deprive children and young teenagers of things to do on these areas.

Visit Wandsworth Against the Cuts website for ways to try and prevent this happening.

It seems that Malaysian owners Sime Darby´s plans for the regeneration of the Battersea Power Station does not include any playground areas among these 3.400 homes, 2 hotels and dozens of shops and restaurants.

It would be a very good idea if part of (a publicly owned) Battersea Power Station were to be designated a huge public adventure playground for the joy of all the children of the area. But it is clear Wandsworth Council does not see providing for children as important as helping to enrich property developers by sanctioning the building of DINKy (Double Income No Kids- yet) Ghettos.

Check this video out for more information about this story.

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Kevin Murphy on Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station is the focus of other people’s work as well as ours; one notable example of this is Kevin Murphy, director of the 2004 film ‘Battersea: Its Past, Its Future’.

Kevin has been featured on IPINglobal discussing the history and potential future of Battersea Power Station. His personal connection to the building is something that resonates with many locals, as are his thoughts on the disrepair it has callously fallen into in the years since its decommission.

As a youngster traveling in and out of Victoria Station I was always amazed at the sight of the Battersea Power Station every time I passed by. Famous for not only its unique architecture it has also become a popular landmark with the help of movies and popular music, most notably on the cover art of Pink Floyds concept album ‘Animals’. I never thought that one day I would be creating film documentaries regarding its present condition and future…

To read the full article, click here.

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Keith Garner on Rob Tincknell

Keith Garner, local architect and member of the Battersea Power Station Community Group, has laid out a tyraid of questions to the chief executive of the Battersea Power Station Development Company, Rob Tincknell.

In an article described as ‘sycophantic and uncritical’ by Garner, Tincknell answered a series of questions about his involvement with the new plans for the regeneration of Battersea Power Station.

Garner responded strongly to the article, posing probing questions that still need answering. For example;

Why did Treasury Holdings not complete any substantive work in the five years they owned Battersea Power Station between 2006 and 2011, when you were in charge?

Why is the river walk connecting to Battersea Park still not built when your colleagues at Treasury Holdings promised at a meeting in 2011 that this would be done?

Why are you currently carrying out a “public consultation”, when it is clear that you have no intention of responding to any of the concerns raised?

The list ended with Garner asking, ‘Perhaps you would put some of these questions to Rob Tincknell as well?’

We can’t see the Architects Journal being so bold, but are keen to have these questions answered ourselves.

If you have any questions you want answering, let us know and we’ll try to pose them to the companies behind Battersea.

You can read the article itself, and Keith’s full response here, http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/daily-news/rob-tincknell-committed-to-battersea/8635755.article

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Brian Barnes Skeptical of Latest Battersea Plans

Brian Barnes has publicly said that he’s continually doubtful of the new plans set out by Sime Darby to regenerate Battersea Power Station.

Barnes, the driving force behind the Battersea Power Station Community Group that he begun 29 years ago, has seen many plans come and go in his time and is sure the recent proposal from the Malaysian giant will be just another in a long list of failed plans.

He has also criticised the plans for not having enough affordable housing, claiming that no-one from the local area will be able to afford to live there, especially young people looking to get onto the property ladder.

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Battersea Plans Unveiled

Sime Darby have released their plans for their regeneration of Battersea Power Station. This Friday (14th) 10:00am-6:00pm and Saturday (15th) 10:00am-4:00pm will see an exhibition of these plans at the Consultation Suite, Battersea Power Station (Gate 2).

These plans have been reported to involve the demolition of the chimneys, and replicas being constructed as the degredation of the current structures is said to be too much to allow a conservation effort.

Around 3,400 homes, including 500 classified as “affordable” will be built on the 29-acre site, as well as two hotels, 160,000 sq ft of offices and dozens of shops and restaurants in a new “high street”. This work is part of their 12-year development project, with a park and walkway projected for completion as early as next April.

Visit www.batterseapowerstation.co.uk for more information.
Email powerstation@batterseasociety.org.uk with your thoughts on the proposed plans.

Click Battersea Power Station for more blogs
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Battersea Power Station Estimated Construction Facts

The Malaysian consortium, the new owners of Battersea Power Station,  has announced in a press release that the regeneration of Battersea Power Station is estimated to cost £6-8bn. This news has spread across the media as the project is set to create 20,000 construction jobs as well as 13,000 permanent jobs. Also it is announced that the project will create 3,500 homes.

On the surface this announcement sounds like a good deal, but  how many of the homes will actually be ‘affordable’, the London plan requires 50%, and for how long will the 20,000 construction workers be employed? It is possible that some of these jobs will only last a few weeks.

Local people have heard this all before.

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