Not So Fast, Chelsea!

I don’t normally celebrate the failures of others, but I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief when it was announced that Chelsea’s offer for the Battersea Power Station was rejected. Last month the Blues announced that they had bid to buy the station, but administrators revealed this morning that a joint bid by two Malaysian property groups, SP Setia and Sime Darby, had been chosen instead.

I believe this is a move in the right direction, at least for Battersea and south-west central London. SP Setia and Sime Darby have offered £400 million (£100 million under the initial asking price) to create new living and retail spaces on site while preserving the façade of the 79-year-old power station. There is obviously still some way to go but this is potentially very good news.

As the Guardian reports, on top of the £400 million, SP Setia and Sime Darby have also committed themselves to the construction of a new underground station as part of the proposed extension of the Northern Line. Sounds like a good plan to me! At least for now, we can be assured that the Battersea will remain one of London’s most notable and soon to be restored historical landmarks.

Bye Bye Battersea?

Earlier this month Chelsea FC bid to buy the Battersea power station with the aim of constructing, “one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world”.  Just reading about Battersea made me a tad nostalgic for my once frequent train rides from Guildford into the city. The power station isn’t exactly pretty, but it’s kind of beautiful in an ugly sort of way, and it was a nice reminder that we were nearing Waterloo Station.

I always thought it was a shame that one of London’s most notable historical landmarks just sat there, largely unused with nobody to care for it.  I remember around 2010 there were talks of refurbishing the station for public use and building homes across the site, but that plan fell through due to lack of funding.

Mock up: How Battersea Power Station might look — iconic, perhaps, but also garishly out of place.

I know the station can’t just sit there disused forever, but now that there is a possibility of Battersea being completely redone (though I still think it’s unlikely Chelsea will leave Stamford Bridge), I wish that they would leave it alone. I would much rather see plans for refurbishing the site and perhaps the development of homes and shops than an awkwardly placed football stadium.

Luckily, Boris Johnson is one of the people Chelsea will need to convince to allow them to redevelop the Grade II listed site but it would appear he is in opposition to the idea. So if you’re into history and architecture I’d definitely recommend making a point to go explore the site before they completely change the area. And hopefully we may not have to say goodbye to Battersea just yet, at least not for the use of a garishly out of place stadium.