Monday, 14 July 2008

Battersea Power Station

I've always been a big fan of Battersea Power Station, but have never been able to put my finger on the precise reason why. It's just such a formidable building, and somehow to me represents everything good about London - strong, imposing and resolute, yet stylish and practical.

I suppose I also like the fact that it's such an impressive building and yet it attracts almost no tourists, at least partly because you usually can't get close to it...

But all that might change soon. There are plans a-foot to redevelop Battersea Power Station and the surrounding area. Many others have tried and failed, usually because they underestimate the cost, effort and restrictions involved (it's a Grade II listed building). So it's no surprise that the latest owners need to get public opinion on their side with regard to their current plans. And when I heard that they were opening up the Power Station to the public to support these plans, I jumped at the chance to go for a wander round.

I wasn't disappointed! The building looks even more epic close up than from a distance. After seeing the power station on my daily commute since I moved to South West London in 1992, it was a boost to see it up close. I took a bunch of photos and you can see them here.

As for the planned changes...if it was up to me, I'd insist that the surrounding area be turned into a large park, and for the building itself to be restored to its original state. But we have to be practical. No-one's going to invest in the building or the area unless they can make money somehow. So my practical desire is that they don't build anything higher than the bottom of the chimneys. Also, give the building plenty of space around the outside, so it can be appreciated (there is a park planned, but it isn't big enough). Restore the exterior so it looks the same as it did when it closed in 1983 (no need for retail logos, or roof top gardens!). And, within this confine, do what you like with the inside.

If you're interested in finding out more, or having your say, check out the official regeneration website.

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