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Home arrow Older News Archive arrow Campaign to save Battersea Power Station
Campaign to save Battersea Power Station Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Monday, 10 October 2005

A new campaign has started up to help save an iconic London landmark from the bulldozers. The landmark in question is the Battersea Power Station, which had its finest moment appearing on the cover of Pink Floyd's 1977 album, "Animals".

The building has had a long history, but in recent years has fallen into disrepair as the developers work on plans for the future of the edifice. Nevertheless, it still holds a certain magic to Floyd fans worldwide, who often make a pilgrimage to the boundaries of the site when they are in London. Not many derelict buildings have as many pictures taken of them, especially a utilitarian building such as a power station, as the Battersea Power Station still does.

We've been passed this message from Brian Barnes, Chairman of Battersea Power Station Community Group, by Laurette Leadon over at which we've been asked to pass along to you, along with a response by Parkview received at Brain Damage:

"OVERVIEW: Wandsworth Council are deciding the fate of the Power Station at a committee meeting at the Town Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday 13th October 2005. They are going to approve a plan by Parkview to demolish the 4 chimneys which we are convinced is a prelude to complete demolition so that Victor Hwang can build luxury flats all along the river frontage.

"Our suspicions are founded on the refusal of the council and Parkview to even consider an alternative report by a team of three companies of concrete experts brought together by the 20th Century Society and World Monuments Fund who have revealed that the chimneys can be repaired for half the cost of demolition and rebuilding. Parkview are desperate to demolish which continues their actions to date - demolition and no construction over the past 12 years.

"Take your photos soon as this is probably your last chance and come to listen to the justification the council give for this destruction on Thursday.

"TAKE ACTION: We need as many people to object to this as soon as possible. We have asked the government to hold a public inquiry to get a wider debate than is happening at present.

"Relay your fears to Bob Leuty, planning officer at Wandsworth Council: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Get the Latest News at:". We have also been urged to show the following:

Battersea Power Station Demolition of Chimneys - September 2005

The chimneys are made of reinforced concrete with a dense double helix of steel mesh with horizontal hoops and vertical rods and each chimney weighs 500 tonnes They are very strong and have stood from 72 years to 50 years as they were all built at different dates.

Parkview have applied to Wandsworth Council for permission to demolish all four chimneys at Battersea Power Station and to rebuild them.

We became suspicious that there was a different agenda to their stated intentions of conservation when there was no announcement locally of this planning application in the usual way, i.e. no notices around the site.

This seemed peculiar for such a serious change to the famous London land mark.

The 20th Century Society and World Monuments Fund (WMF) were also not consulted over these issues at any time.

We came to the conclusion that an independent report should be commissioned and joined with 20th C Soc and WMF to commission civil engineer Stuart Tappin ( Cameron Taylor ) and George Ballard ( G B Geotechnics ) concrete specialist. They were appointed by us to look into this issue.

They met with the Parkview team at Buro Happolds office, reviewed the reports from Taylor Woodrow and others and had a site visit to the building.

They conclude that: "On the basis of the information available we do not consider that there is no alternative to demolition and rebuilding of the four chimneys. There is no sign of structural distress in the chimneys. There is no evidence produced of general severe (>1%) levels of chloride throughout the structure, rather there is evidence of carbon marginally above acceptable. There is no evidence of sufficient deep carbonation to warrant concern. There is no evidence of general, distributed, expansive corrosion. There is no evidence to support the contention that only by introduction of an ICCP system will the structure be rendered safe. Many cracks date from the construction process.

"There is little evidence of spalling concrete to the majority of the shafts. There are no signs of significant cracks due to the levels of carbonation or chlorides that have been recorded.

"There are also alternative methods of discovering the location of the steel which were not explored.

"There therefore seems to be sound environmental reasons, as well as listed buildings/PPG 15 benefits, in repairing the chimneys" - Stuart Tappin.

Brian Barnes, Chairman of Battersea Power Station Community Group says: "Parkview have done nothing in 12 years except to demolish everything in sight, to enter ever more fanciful planning applications and make every excuse there is for not keeping to deadlines, one famously 'we will open in 2000'. We do not think the chimneys will ever be rebuilt and then more problems will be found so that the rest of the building needs to be demolished for spurious Health and Safety reasons. Mr Hwang told me at a meeting at the Power Station in 1996 'Let me knock the F***ing thing down and build 3 towers of 40 stories, one can be for affordable housing and I will still make plenty of profits'.

"Victor Hwangs long held plan will soon be accomplished, (except there will never be any affordable housing).

"We are furious at people at English Heritage who have promised us all along that they have inspected the building every 6 months and instructed Parkview to make necessary repairs but now find this not to have been true and they are agreeing to this penultimate act of destruction before complete demolition."

We've been asked by Ian Rumgay for Parkview International to put their site of the argument. Here's their comments:

The iconic structure that is Battersea Power Station is a major marketing asset for the developers Parkview International. There no plans for demolishing the building. It will be restored and preserved.

All four chimneys are cracked and there is extensive corrosion of the steel re-inforcements. The chimneys have been subject to exhaustive surveys trial repairs for the past two years in an effort to find a method of preserving them and avoiding demolition. This has involved some of the world's foremost experts in concrete corrosion and preservation who are unanimous in the opinion that the chimneys have to be re-built.

The assessment and report commissioned by Mr Barnes was completed in two months and cannot have been as thorough as those conducted by engineers Buro Happold. The chimneys will be rebuilt to create an exact replicas of the existing structures. The work will be guaranteed by putting in place irrevocable construction contract for the completion of the works prior to their commencement. The work cannot be halted even in the unlikely event that the Council did not want the chimneys re-built.

Invitations to tender for rebuilding the chimneys will be published in the world’s construction press next week. The Parkview scheme is the only hope there is of saving Battersea Power Station.

For the sake of balance and fairness we are happy to provide their viewpoint. As Floyd fans we are dismayed at the thought of losing one of the iconic buildings from their history, and hope that whatever happens, the building and the chimneys survive (even if in identical replica format) for many years.

Our thanks to Laurette for letting us know about this campaign.

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