POWER STATION'S FUTURE IS BEST SERVED BY TRUST
You report the latest excuses by Parkview spin doctor Ian Rumgay for the lack of progress at Battersea Power Station, and also the prospect of a new developer taking over (AJ 26.10.06).
Parkview may well be on its way out, but all the signs are that a new developer will be just as hostile to the listed building, continuing Parkview's neglect and spoiling Battersea's monumental impact by building blocks of ats on the adjacent site.
Of course it doesn't have to be like this. Three years ago (AJ letters 16.10.03) I wrote to you about a proposal by Alf Dubs (Lord Dubs of Battersea) for a public-interest trust to take a role in resolving this long-standing issue.
Since then, members of Battersea Power Station Community Group have set up the Battersea Power Station Company, a not-for-pro-t organisation, the principal objective of which is the conservation and repair of the building.
Given that Parkview appears to be unwilling to repair the building (as evidenced by the appalling conditions that could be seen by visitors to the 'China Power Station' exhibition at the site), the involvement of a public-interest trust, such as the Battersea Power Station Company, should now be considered.
A trust would be able to carry out targeted repairs on the exterior fabric and open the famous 'A' Station interiors to the public, using Lottery cash and other funding. We advocate a UK Energy Centre as an apt use for the turbine hall.
Other parts of the building would be developed on a commercial basis, as would much of the remainder of the site; although with a proper affordable-housing provision hitherto left out. A phased development by a consortium of interests would have a far greater chance of success than the single-phase multi-billion pound project advocated by Parkview over the past 10 years.
The legal framework for involving a trust would need to be established. The building would also need to be independently surveyed. The team engaged last year by the World Monuments Fund and 20th Century Society, who showed that the chimneys can be repaired without dismantling, should be entrusted with this.
For more information about the Battersea Power Station Company, visit: www. batterseapowerstation. com Keith Garner, London SW11