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Government holds up Battersea plans

A last-minute intervention by the Government Office for London has blocked Wandsworth Borough Council from approving final design changes to the £1.1bn Battersea Power Station development.

Just 90 minutes before the council was set to unanimously agree changes to Parkview International’s scheme – changes specifically made to meet the deputy prime minister’s call for the project to have greater ‘wow’ factor – a fax was received saying the application had been called in by the government body.

The application covered design enhancements to the conference hotel, office space, product showcase building and auditorium. It also included plans for the £25m redevelopment of Battersea Park railway station.

The delay will not hold up the development however as the original masterplan received planning permission in 2001. Construction has already begun on site to build the vast underground carpark and work on the restoration of the power station building itself will begin in February next year.

“The GOL now has four weeks in which to make a decision on whether to grant approval or prolong the process,” said Ian Rumgay, Parkview’s communications director.

“However, we can still get on with the advance work on the carpark, restoration of the power station and infrastructure as that is our priority for the next year or so.

He added that the company had been continually frustrated by the amount of red tape involved in the British planning process and said it did not send positive signals to other potential overseas investors.

Parkview bought the site back in 1993 and since then has spent in the region of £100m acquiring the freehold and developing the masterplan. The scheme includes the transformation of the power station into a leisure and retail destination and the creation of both a resort and a conference hotel, residential units, office space, a product showcase building and an underground auditorium as well as a multiplex cinema, health club and spa and exclusive one-table restaurant at the top of one of the chimneys.

The first phase of the project, the power station itself, is scheduled to open in 2008.

A last-minute intervention by the Government Office for London has blocked Wandsworth Borough Council from approving final design changes to the £1.1bn Battersea Power Station development. Just 90 minutes before the council was set to unanimously agree changes to Parkview International’s scheme – changes specifically made to meet the deputy prime minister’s call for the project to have greater ‘wow’ factor – a fax was received saying the application had
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