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World Heritage fears raised over Vinoly's Battersea plans

Community group claims Rafael Vinoly's eco-tower at Battersea will ruin the historic views of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

Campaigners protesting about Rafael Vinoly’s plans for Battersea Power Station have warned that the scheme could have a ‘devastating impact’ on the Houses of Parliament and Westminster World Heritage site.

The Battersea Power Station Community Group (BPSCG) has even drawn up an image (see below) showing how the development’s 300m-high chimney would ‘loom’ over the UNESCO-protected Palace of Westminster when seen from Hungerford Bridge on London’s South Bank.

The tower, which sits over an ‘eco dome’ covering 250,000m2 of offices, is a keystone of the £4 billion overhaul of Giles Gilbert Scott’s abandoned Grade II*-listed power station.

A spokesman for the group said: ‘Our contention is that the impact of the tower on the Palace of Westminster and the Westminster World Heritage Site would be catastrophic.

‘It seems highly unlikely that the tower would ever receive planning permission.’

However, a spokesman for developer Real Estate Opportunities (REO), which is managed by Irish-based developer Treasury Holdings, has played down the claims, saying the group's artist impressions do not show the real picture.

He said: ‘This is not an accurate representation of how the development will look... the group has pasted a view of the chimney from the north bank of the Embankment opposite the power station, which was included as part of our launch material in June this year, into a completely different and longer view of the Houses of Parliament.

'The building does not look like that from this more distant view and the location, size and height of the chimney is completely wrong. This is exactly the sort of irresponsible behaviour by the community action group that has caused so many delays to the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station.

'The scheme continues to evolve and will be submitted for planning in spring 2009. Over the summer we have widely consulted on the proposals and have addressed a number of concerns and responded to constructive criticism.

He continued: 'We are looking at everything including the strategic views, in line with the London View Management Framework.'

The developer is the latest in a long line of hopefuls who have tried to revamp the closed power station over the last 25 years. However, it has maintained it is committed to delivering the massive mixed-use scheme despite the current economic downturn.

A spokesman added: 'The scheme is fully funded through to the next stage, namely planning which could take one to two years.

'Then the market could be a very different place.’

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