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Delay to Gehry and Foster’s Battersea Power Station affordable homes

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Battersea Power Station has submitted plans to postpone more than 100 affordable homes by Frank Gehry and Foster + Partners to a later phase to ‘ease challenges’ of delivering the project’s £1 billion third phase

The AJ’s sister-title Construction News understands that ‘wider economic changes’ have led Battersea Power Station Development Corporation (BPSDC) to alter its affordable housing programme, as well as allowing greater flexibility to tackle the delivery of a new tube station at the development.

Phase three will deliver around 1,300 homes within two residential blocks to the south of the Grade II*-listed former power station together with a new high street serving as the development’s main gateway.

Under a deed of variation to the section 106 agreement submitted to Wandsworth Council in March, 103 affordable homes will now be moved from phase 3b to a later phase alongside the 147 units currently located in phase five. The 103 homes represent around a sixth of the project’s total affordable housing.

To compensate for the move, 386 affordable homes within phase 4a will be brought forward from the current delivery requirement so that the site will be delivered ‘as soon as vacant possession is achieved’.

According to a BPSDC spokesperson, designs for the new tube station as part of the Northern line extension were ‘still evolving’, and the logistics of delivering the station meant there were fewer access problems in delivering the homes in phase 4a than in the earlier 3b phase.

The planning document for the amendment notes that: ‘The proposed modifications will reflect the specific circumstances of the site, reducing restraint and encouraging the continued development of Battersea Power Station.

‘However, as a result of its uniqueness, the project faces a number of challenges, which include both site-specific and wider economic changes, which are placing increasing pressure on its continued successful delivery. As a result, the delivery priorities for the project have been reconsidered.’

A spokesperson for BPSDC said: ‘This application relates to a proposal whereby roughly a sixth of the total anticipated provision of affordable homes are relocated back to another part of the site so that we can press ahead with bringing forward nearly 400 affordable homes earlier than originally planned.

‘In addition the application brings us into line with revised area-wide policy which requires a review mechanism closer to completion of the entire project so that everyone can be certain the quantum of affordable housing is still broadly in line with the financial performance of the project.’

Sitting behind the power station, Gehry and Foster’s residential-led proposals are being billed as London’s first new high street for more than 100 years, and are part of Rafael Viñoly’s wider 3,400-home masterplan for the site.

The competition-winning project features five blocks of apartments, including a titanium-clad building called The Flower. It will be Gehry’s first permanent development in London.

Last month Bouygues, which had been contracted to deliver phase three, declared it would exit the scheme under mutual agreement with BPSDC.

In a statement at the time BPSDC said: ‘Battersea Power Station and Bouygues UK have mutually agreed not to extend Bouygues UK’s involvement in the project beyond the current scope of preconstruction services which Bouygues UK had been appointed to perform on phase three of the development.’ 

It has launched a search for a new contractor for the site.

The scheme follows on from the 800-flat first phase development, designed by dRMM and Ian Simpson, which started on site last summer. Wilkinson Eyre and Purcell were selected to take forward the second phase, which included the refurbishment of the main power station structure, in May 2013.

Previous story (AJ 23.10.13)

Gehry and Foster snap up Battersea Power Station jobs

Frank Gehry and Norman Foster have been chosen to design the latest phase of Battersea Power Station’s £8 billion overhaul

The high-profile architects are the latest to be appointed to work up detailed designs for Rafael Viñoly’s 3,400-home masterplan for the ageing south London landmark.

The 800-flat first phase designed by dRMM and Ian Simpson started on site this summer and Wilkinson Eyre and Purcell were selected to refurbish iconic Grade II*-listed structure in May.

Gehry and Foster have been chosen to design the project’s residential ‘High Street’ comprising two buildings which form the southern approach to Giles Gilbert Scott’s brick masterpiece from the planned Northern Line Extension.

Foster – whose studio has been based at nearby Ransome’s Dock in Battersea for the past 25 years – will design the High Street’s west building. Along with dRMM and Ian Simpson’s first phase, the structure will be one of the 15 hectare development’s most visible elements from passing commuter trains.

Meanwhile Gehry – who has yet to complete a permanent building in London – has been chosen to work up designs for the High Street’s east building. The development will feature a ‘strikingly sculptural form’ at its centre, reported The Financial Times, however images have yet to be revealed.

Both structures will be mostly residential and together feature 1,200 residential units, a 200 room hotel, 32,500m² of retail, a 1,400m² library and additional leisure space.

Gehry said: ‘Our goal is to help create a neighbourhood and a place for people to live that respects the iconic Battersea Power Station while connecting it into the broader fabric of the city.  We hope to create a design that is uniquely London, that respects and celebrates the historical vernacular of the city.’

Foster + Partners’ design director Grant Brooker said: ‘We moved our own office to Wandsworth almost twenty five years ago – the Borough is very important to us, so we were absolutely delighted to be chosen to be part of this inspiring regeneration project for the Battersea Power Station redevelopment.’

Rob Tincknell, Battersea Power Station Development Company chief executive, added: ‘We are thrilled to have two such well regarded architectural practices join the team and for Battersea Power Station to be the home to Gehry’s first building in London. 

‘This clearly demonstrates both the quality and the design aspirations which our shareholders are determined to achieve, as well as the extraordinary design solutions which the site deserves.’

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