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Viñoly’s Battersea Power Station set for green light

The Rafael Viñoly-masterplanned project to redevelop the Grade II-listed Battersea Power Station in Nine Elms, south London, is recommended for approval by planning officers

On Thursday next week (11 November) Wandsworth Council’s planning committee will decide whether to follow its officers’ advice and back the £5.5 billion Thames-side scheme.

The authority has previously approved a number of failed attempts to restore and revamp the abandoned Giles Gilbert Scott-designed structure, including a scheme by Grimshaws which won detailed consents in 2000 and 2001.

English Heritage and CABE are backing developer Treasury Holdings’ plans to build 3,700 homes on the site. The project is understood to have gone before at least 13 CABE design review panels. Local conservation architect Keith Garner has however raised objections.

Infrastructure deemed ‘vital to the completion’ of the Battersea overhaul and other major schemes in the neighbouring Nine Elms development zone could cost up to £1 billion.

The GLA’s draft Nine Elms planning framework, which came out late last year, sets out the potential for up to 16,000 new homes and 25,000 new jobs.

High profile projects in this area include Kieran Timberlake’s new American Embassy and Foster + Partner’s New Covent Garden Flower Market towers.

A Greater London Authority (GLA) cost study revealed this week the requirement for £900 million worth of infrastructure improvements directly linked to the 227 hectare Nine Elms zone. New public transport links are vital due to the area’s poor public transport levels.

The proposed Northern Line extension project could cost £560 million while the cost of a proposed new pedestrian cycle crossing remains undisclosed. Studiodare is designing Battersea Power Station’s underground train station.

Major landowners and the local council have welcomed the study, suggesting developer contributions could pick up the bill. They might have to pay between £20,000 and £40,000 per new unit in the period to 2015 and £30,000 to £50,000 between 2016 and 2031.  

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners in September submitted a planning application for its £50 million ‘Tideway Wharf’ scheme. Sean Ellis, managing director of the project’s developer St James, said: ‘This study has given all the landowners confidence that they can press ahead with their plans for the largest regeneration area in central London.’

Edward Lister, leader of Wandsworth Council, said: ‘We are committed to bringing the tube to Battersea. It’s the single biggest ingredient in ensuring the success of Nine Elms as a vibrant place where people want to live and work.’

Simon Milton, deputy mayor of London for planning, said: ‘We’ve had a long hard look at figures in the study and they confirm that an extension should be viable. There’s still a lot of work to do in working up a final tariff for developers but this important project could be set to take another step forward.’

The cost study was commissioned by the GLA, TfL, Wandsworth and Lambeth councils and the landowners.

It also concluded the area would require two new primary schools, expansion of secondary schools, 11 new GPs, new police and fire facilities, community facilities, play space and green space.

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