Battersea Power Station Site – Worth Nearly Half a Billion More without the Chimneys – what nonsense


The 38-acre site is in administration after £5.5bn proposals to build homes and offices by Irish-backed vehicles collapsed under a debt mountain.

The power station has been dormant since 1983 and various attempts to redevelop it have failed.

According to property consultancy EC Harris, the West London site is more likely to be revitalised if a developer is allowed to start from scratch by knocking down the power station.

The power station is Grade-II listed and there would likely be strong opposition to the demolition of the structure from politicians and English Heritage.

However, in research conducted for Reuters, EC Harris says that the demolition of the structure would allow 1,200 extra apartments to be built and the developer to bank £470m from sales.


Flattening Europe’s largest brick structure and its four chimneys would save estimated renovation costs of about 500 million, roughly equivalent to the cost of demolition and apartment construction combined.

That would leave the 470 million pound proceeds as an extra “cushion” of profit for any developer running the numbers on the site, according to EC Harris numbers.

“The site has been through four economic cycles and development after development has failed,” said Mark Farmer, head of private residential property at the consultancy, which is part of Dutch company Arcadis.

“You have to ask yourself at what point concerns about its heritage are outweighed by what is truly economically viable.”…

English Heritage, which advises the government on which buildings to protect, declined to comment on the proposal, but said planning restrictions were not behind the redevelopment failures and that removal of Battersea’s Grade-II listed status was unlikely.

“The presence of the power station makes it more viable because it gives the sense of magic that makes people want to live there,” said Helen Bowman, a spokeswoman for government advisory body English Heritage.

The storey is of course nonsense, London might well be worth more if you built on Hyde Park and knocked down the Houses of Parliament and built flat there.  Terry Farrels compromise scheme has renovation costs of only 25-50 million and provides 180 homes inside the pwer station itself, im sure many more could be provided in the shall.


A Chance for Some Coherent Town Centre Planning in Greenwich as Sainsburys Ditches Award Winning Store and ‘Charlton Garden City’ Launches

It was opened in 1999 by Jamie Oliver, received an RIBA sustainability Award in 1999 and last year for some unfathomable reason was visited by Jacob Zuma president of South Africa.  Yet this store with its Green Roof and two (rarely turning) turbines is due to close – in large part due to a key design problems.  According to local blog Charlton Champion – and I am a local myself

Ironically one of its greatest technological advances is believed to be its downfall. A large underfloor radiator heats the store using waste heat from its own refrigerators. But this technology is said to have caused problems with flooding and has led to the store being closed on numerous occasions.

The Store is proposed to move 400m south – from Greenwich Penninsula to Charlton, to just south of the Greenwich Retail Park and ASDA.  It will be three times bigger.  As you can see the old site was boxed in and incapable of expansion. It will be leased to a non-food retailer.


The news was greeted with dismay by the building’s architect Paul Hinkin, now of Black Architecture, who said the store should be used for food retailing as originally intended and disputed that its sustainability features had been superseded.

“Bearing in mind this building was designed in 1999, the sector hasn’t really made significant improvements on that model. We enhanced the customer experience and reduced the environmental impact.”

But another architect who worked on the project conceded that a building more able to adapt to changing retail demands would have been more sustainable.

Russell Curtis, now of RCKa, said: “You wonder whether it was flexible enough in terms of its size. In hindsight it might have been more flexible.”

The history of retailing in the Greenwich Penninsula and Charlton Riverside has been episodic and uncoordinated but this now presents a real opportunity.

The Greenwich retail park was originally permitted away from the main centre of regeneration at the Peninsula.  The retailing at the Peninsular was set at its far southern end, best for easy car access but worst for those walking on the Peninsula, the retailing core at the Millenium Village is tiny and has been hindered by the slow pace of housing construction and the area around the O” and north Greenwich station is a 4th centre desperately lacking in shops that until recently you couldn’t buy a pint of milk at after getting off the tube.

Planning at Greenwich has always been very opportunistic, a virtue but its has lacked the punch of driving forward a real coherent vision over the long term.  Woolwich Town Centre for example despite massive Tesco and Crossrail driven regeneration lacks a proper masterplan and large parts of it have long since gone to the dogs and sadly been targets for rioters and arson.

The opportunity at Charlton is to create a proper ‘core’ town centre close to Charlton Station and on the main bus routes to North Greenwich Station.  But the real opportunity is to link it to the regeneration of Charlton Riverside to the immeadiate East off Busgys way.  Here there is an opportunity to relocate low grade industry and create a high value mixed use community around the Thames Barrier Riverside.  It is an opportunity area in the London Plan.

The draft Core Strategy says about the area

  • Charlton Riverside is a key regeneration area that provides a significant opportunity for new high quality river front development. The area will be transformed into an attractive and vibrant mixed use urban quarter providing around 6,000 new homes. The area has the potential to offer new community and education facilities, space for small businesses particularly within the creative industries, new employment opportunities and accessible open spaces.
  • The Strategic Development Location will exclude the current Aggregate Zone and the safeguarded Angerstein’s and Murphy’s Wharves. The total area for the site is over 100 hectares.
  • An Area Action Plan will be prepared to guide development at the site. It is envisaged at this stage that the large site could provide for a significant residential led mixed use development plus improved commercial space, retail and community facilities as well as improvements to the existing open space.
  • It is considered that the housing component at the site will commence around 2016 and could take up to 20 years to be completed. It is therefore anticipated that just over 70% of the 6000 dwellings will be delivered in this area during the plan period, with the remainder coming post 2026/27. Development of the site is dependent on the provision of increased public transport infrastructure in the waterfront area.

Hopefully the Sainsbury’s scheme should provide an opportunity to gain funding to further develop these ideas, and also look at the potential to relocate industries, aggregates and wharfs to much more suitable sites in Erith that have become available.   What is needed is the kind of framework that is at an advanced stage for other major London projects such as at Vauxhall, Earls Court and White City (just realised I worked on the early ideas on all three of those sites).

GLC planners 40 years ago had a vision when the Thames Barrier was conceived of a Park next to it on the North and South Banks, we now have the opportunity to complete the Southern part.

The first step towards this was launched this Monday, a mastrplan by Allies and Morrison and Urban Practitioners. .

“Charlton Garden City: The area will draw on the principles of a garden city with a strong landscape theme. The Thames Barrier Park will double in size and new development will take the form of a contemporary version of a traditional Georgian terraced development, for example as shown in the Olympic Legacy Masterplan with some mews style development. The area will be new build with a new secondary school.”

Ideas include a revived riverside transport scheme (a successor to the axed Greenwich Waterfront Transit), a creative quarter around the Westminster Industrial Estate (“along the lines of Fish Island [in Bow] and Hackney Wick”), keeping industry around the wharves at Lombard Wall, a new primary school and “rationalising” the retail parks

There an exhibition at The Valley on Monday 20 February (3pm-8pm) as well as at Woolwich Library on Saturday 3 March (10am-2pm). You can download the plans via the council’s website.

The plans are interesting but I think they can be bolder.

The aggregates and wharfs areas provide a breach between the Penninsula and Charlton Riverside.  Greenwich needs to work with what was the LDA to relocate these essential facilities further east to more suitable riverside areas in Bexley as until they are gone they are blighting the area.

Also it prevents a logical disposition of land uses.  The correct area for high density housing is clustered around the town centre, which the Sainsburys would make along Bugsbys Way.  The masterplan retains the industry here which is wrong.  It also prevents a dedicated public transport busway alongside the river, connecting to Greenwich Peninsula.  The masterplan also doesnt deal with the retail opportunities/town centre issues in a coherent way.  A ‘Garden City’ concept requires a ‘fan’ treatment focussed on the new town centre – and linking to the Station and the riverbus –  not the rigid rectilinear street forms of Georgian Squares – though the density and treatment of the residential buildings in the draft masterplan is excellent.

The masterplan also doesnt give transport issues, and the need to reduce pedestrian severance on the key routes such as to Charlton Station, the importance they deserve.  How exactly will the masterplan better link Woolwich and Greenwich Peninsula, an aim of the plan but nowhere shown?  Also the green space treatment is uneven, nothing part from the Barrier Park and too many inward focussed private perimeter block gardens.  The masterplan also fails to build density and value around the key riverside sites that will make it all happen.

Almost wants me to get my pens out.

Liverpool Leader Slams Design Council CABE over Liverpool Waters Criticism

Nothing should be more worrying than a chicago boss style council leader who is a crony to property developers becoming Mayor of a major city.  Yet Greg Clark naively welcomes the prospect, like Margaret Thatcher creating a platform for Derek Hatton.

On an entirely unrelated thought Joe Anderson, leader of Liverpool Council was speaking after a Design Council report into proposals for the £5.5 billion Liverpool Waters regeneration of docklands in the city said the scheme was hindered by a ‘weakly expressed’ masterplan.

Hitting out at ‘arrogant’ design bodies which he believes are hindering the Liverpool Waters £5.5 billion regeneration scheme.

Inside Housing

Mr Anderson said he was frustrated with continual interference with the project and that the area was in great need of regeneration.

He said: ‘It seems everyone outside is saying what the city wants and they don’t have the courtesy to talk to the city about what it needs.

‘I think it smacks of a form of arrogance and a “we know best” attitude.’

There is a good reason why Unescxo, English Heritage and Uncle Tom Codley and all criticise this scheme – it is total crap and Jow Anderson by ignoring all the valid criticisms of it shows how unfitted he is to lead.   He is a figure from the 1960s, like T Dan Smith, reincarnated.

‘Chinese tourists can save the high street’ – Give Them Visas – Head of Fashion Council


Visa rules for Chinese tourists visiting the UK should be relaxed to boost profits at British shops, the retail boss and chairman of the British Fashion Council, Harold Tillman, has said.

In an interview with The Independent ahead of London Fashion Week, which starts on Friday, Tillman, owner of the clothing labels Jaeger and Aquascutum, said current visa restrictions were causing shops to lose billions of pounds in potential profits. Changing the rules for Chinese tourists could boost growth and bolster grim employment figures, he argued.

“We’re not giving them enough in this country,” he said. “It’s only a matter of changing the system and getting the Government to understand we’re losing billions.”

Tillman, who owns a chain of restaurants as well as his fashion brands, also sits on the strategic board of the New West End Company, a firm redeveloping the shopping district around London’s Oxford Street.

“In my view, the billions we’re losing could be helping employment, because of all the business we could do,” he said.

“It’s not just about retail and fashion: it’s about hotels, restaurants, theatre. And it’s not just London – tourists want to travel.” After heavy discounting before Christmas, some stores reported a 60 per cent increase in custom from abroad, with Chinese shoppers topping the list.

Some department stores are tailoring their services to Mandarin-speaking shoppers. By playing to such overseas markets, Tillman has boosted the profile of London as one of the four fashion capitals. It has been on his watch that the Council has arranged for young British designers to show their wares to trade and press in Paris, New York, Los Angeles and China. Tillman prides himself on having wooed some of the more lucrative American buyers and persuading US Vogue’s Anna Wintour to jet in. But one of his most canny moves since he took on the role in 2008 was to instigate the Value of Fashion report, the findings of which served to cement his faith and confidence in the sector. “We are worth more than £21bn to the GDP of the UK,” he said. “That’s a lot. And that’s fashion – plus associated industry, from printing to deliveries, another £10bn. You probably don’t know this, but the chemical industry is £10bn; the motorcar industry is £10bn. We’re double the size of both of those.”…

Chinese tourism boom: What they spend

* In total, 141,000 Chinese people visited the UK in 2010, an increase of 9.8 per cent from the 128,000 who came in 2009. Visit Britain predicts this figure could rise to 300,000 by 2020.

* The average Chinese visitor to Britain spends around £1,700 – three times more than the average overseas tourist to the UK spends (£567).

* Spending in the UK by Chinese tourists has risen from £150m in 2006 to £249m in 2010.

* According to Global Blue, the amount of tax-free spending by Chinese tourists also grew by 64 per cent between January and December 2011.

He might be right – but we simply dont have enough Runway space in the South East to take a significant increase in Chinese Tourism, unless we force all short hall flights to move from Heathrow to Stansted.