'Heritage' versus 'economic viability' the battleground for iconic building
BATTERSEA POWER STATION could lose its trademark giant chimneys if new plans for the long-derelict site get the go ahead.
"You have to ask yourself at what point concerns about its heritage are outweighed by what is truly economically viable," Mark Farmer of property consultants EC Harris told Reuters.
EC Harris calculates that up to £470 million could be saved in any redevelopment if builders didn't have to work around the brick chimneys and walls that make Battersea Power Station such an iconic structure.
The most recent plans for redevelopment with the chimneys intact fell through at the tail end of last year and, as each year goes by, the power station structure grows weaker, which means progressively higher fix-up costs.
An alternative plan to knocking the chimneys down has been floated by leading architects Terry Farrell and Partners. This appears to involve surrounding the power station ruins with a new park - a far cheaper option than the series of mass housing schemes that have bitten the dust, if also less likely to generate income through property sales.
"Given it's been derelict for so long it's time for reality," said Neil Bennett, a Farrell architect.
"We are given to understand such a proposal would have the backing of English Heritage and the Wandsworth planners."