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Friday25 July 2014

Battersea Power Station upgraded to grade II*

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Revised listing status will open the door to English Heritage repair grants

Architecture minister Margaret Hodge has upgraded Battersea Power Station’s listed status in a move that could speed up the regeneration of the derelict London landmark.

The culture minister said she was acting on the advice of English Heritage to award the building grade II* status, placing the power station among the country’s top 6% of listed structures.

Current owner Real Estate Opportunities (REO) has appointed New York-based Rafael Viñoly to masterplan a mixed-use scheme for the site. The architect is expected to submit new proposals early next year.

The power station’s upgraded status means it will be eligible for English Heritage grants for repair works, unlike grade II buildings.

Hodge said: “It is an exceptional building… English Heritage has been very careful in its advice, they have taken full account of the interior losses and have weighed this properly against the remaining merits of the building. For this reason, I am satisfied with the recommendation of an upgrade to grade II*.”

Heritage groups praised the announcement, which Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, described as “exceptionally good news”.

He said: “This much deserved upgrading can only put extra emphasis on the importance of the regeneration process and help to speed it along.”

Catherine Croft of the Twentieth Century Society, which along with Save and the World Monument Fund, had pressed for the status upgrade, said she was “delighted”, adding that the society would be willing to accept an ambitious redevelopment.

“We’re not looking for a pious approach,” she said. “We’d back a design that was bold and imaginative. It’s a robust enough structure to take an interventionist scheme.”

Ray Horney, chairman of REO, which bought the site in December last year for £400 million, told BD the decision would be unlikely to make a real difference to the company’s plans.

“We intend to preserve the building as it is anyway,” he said.

Wandsworth Borough Council, the local authority that handles planning applications for the structure, said that its priority was getting the building and its surrounding land back into use.

Saga of Gilbert Scott’s landmark

1929-39 Giles Gilbert Scott’s design is built
1953-55 A second, mirror-image station B is built alongside the original A
1975 Station A is shut down
1980 Grade II heritage status conferred
1983 Station B shut down
1984 Alton Towers owner wins competition to redevelop site as indoor theme park
1986 Planning approval given for theme park
1989 Theme park idea axed
1996 Parkview International acquires freehold
2003 Parkview unveils mixed-use proposals
2005 Wandsworth Council approves plans to demolish and rebuild now unsafe chimneys
2006 REO buys the site for £400 million
2007 Rafael Viñoly appointed masterplanner for new mixed-use development

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Readers' comments (3)

  • You didnt mention that the application to have the building upgraded was made by Battersea Power Station Community Group. Perhaps you will rectify this? The appliication was made as far back as 2003 but was resisted by the previous owner Parkview, hence the delay. Still, its very good news. A somewhat grudging respose to the news from REO, but good to hear that they "intend to preserve the building as it is anyway". Does this mean that they won't be demolishing and rebuilding the chimneys, which and independent report has shown can be repaired? I think we should be told. Keith Garner London SW11

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  • Now Battersea Power Station has been awarded its star, could we hope for the same treatment for Newark Works, the old Stothert and Pitt building in Bath? I pressed for the listing to be upgraded after consulting with other historians, planning and architectural experts and a trustee of Bath Preservation Trust. On the importance of the architect alone, I was advised, it should be Grade 2*, but the way in which cast iron columns were individually cast for the place in which they stand, with the attachments for cranes an integral part of the column rather than just a bolt on, should, I was further advised, have clinched it. I was told by EH that they disagreed. Given the hot potato it was politically at the time, I suppose we should be grateful it got listed at all. Now Dyson has been kicked off the site - and although I dislike his plans, I think he has been treated very shabbily by B&NES - perhaps EH could have a rethink.

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  • Gold Star for Battersea Power Station The upgrade to Grade II* has been a struggle. Parkview the previous owners objected with help of high powered lawyers. English Heritage dragged their feet claiming not to be able to do inspection while works were being done and then, EH thought Parkview were serious about repairs! Wandsworth Council where nowhere to be heard . Keith Garner wrote the original application and we lobbied 20th Century Society and World Monuments Fund to get them to write a letter to support our initiative. Keith has lobbied the DCMS through 3 different ministers and the officers there. We lobbied Lord Alf Dubs and Martin Linton MP Finally after 2 years at English Heritage and 2 years with the DCMS legal department the upgrade has been approved. Regards Brian Barnes chair Battersea Power Station Community Group 020 7627 5821

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