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Row over Battersea stacks heats up

Campaigners vying to save Battersea Power Station's iconic chimneys have produced a technical assessment that casts doubt over the developer's assertion that the stacks must be demolished.

The owner of Giles Gilbert Scott's extraordinary building, Parkview International, has recently produced a report by Buro Happold claiming the four structures are unsound and must be knocked down (AJ 28.07.05).

The property developer has vowed that it will rebuild exact replicas when the site is redeveloped as part of Grimshaw's masterplan to save the power station.

But the World Monuments Fund (WMF) and the Twentieth Century Society have now claimed that an assessment of the Buro Happold report by their own technical experts has proved that demolition is unnecessary.

This assessment also questions Parkview's conclusion that cathodic protection, a non-destructive repair technique, cannot be successfully applied.

In addition it claims a further inadequacy in Parkview's case is that their team has not had access to the inside of the chimneys in order to investigate the structures.

'If the chimneys are demolished a major proportion of the historic fabric would be lost and could never be replaced and Battersea would lose value as a historic building,' a spokesman for the Twentieth Century Society said. 'A decision about demolition should hence not be taken lightly.

'The Society and WMF hope that further investigation and analysis will result in successful negotiations with Parkview and agreement on a scheme of repair,' the spokesman added.

by Ed Dorrell

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