Battersea plans in turmoil

Niki May Young
Thursday 26 Feb 2009

Viñoly's iconic chimney erased from design

Plans by Rafael Viñoly for the redevelopment of a 38-acre site surrounding historic London landmark, Battersea Power Station, are facing strain following a series of objections, concluding in those received from the London Mayor in the run up to the introduction of a new Views Management Framework.

Real Estate Opportunities Limited launched the plans for Battersea Power Station in June last year, revealing a 300m glass chimney and ‘eco-dome’ which would provide natural ventilation for the structure and add ‘green’ credentials to the project. In December the firm were forced to reduce the height of the chimney by 50m amidst strong objections from community groups and other parties. Now, British publication Building Design reports Wandsworth Council sources have advised that the chimney will now be removed completely from the design following a warning issued by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, that he was opposed to the plans due to their interference with views to Westminster.

These rumours have been substantiated by a spokesperson at the London Mayor’s office who said: “We will shortly be publishing our proposed changes to the Views Management Framework and Vauxhall/9 Elms Opportunity Area Planning Framework, which will address the permissible heights of buildings in the Battersea area and their impact on the Westminster World Heritage Site,” adding: “The Mayor believes that there is a height limit at Battersea that the tower would have breached.” Rafael Viñoly Architects stated that, “Unfortunately we are not commenting on [the matter] at this time."

The removal of the tower would mean a complete revision of the design and would throw the project’s green credentials in the air.

Viñoly's concept, due to commence construction in 2012, was set to create 20,000 jobs, 3,200 homes and improved transport links, with discussions in place to extend the Northern Line to Battersea. The project is now thrown into turmoil with questions being raised as to whether the project can even continue.

Niki May Young
News Editor

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