Wandsworth Council has approved plans to almost halve the number of affordable homes in the Battersea Power Station development.
The overall number will reduce from 636 (15%) to 386 (9%) under the revised plans, although they will be delivered earlier in the overall programme than previously proposed. The developer says higher costs involved in refurbishing the Grade II listed building have made the earlier level of affordable housing uneconomic.
Following the decision, planning committee chairman Cllr Richard Field said: “The escalating cost of restoring the power station building means this development project is facing significant challenges and the committee had a very difficult choice between accepting a potentially lower number of affordable homes, or refusing the application and risk losing all of them.
“This development also directly funds the Tube extension which is bringing 25,000 jobs to Battersea, so the stakes are extremely high.
“I believe we made the right choice and in doing so have safeguarded the delivery of thousands of other affordable homes across the Nine Elms regeneration area which are dependent on the Northern Line Extension being delivered. This change also means that 386 affordable homes will now be built by the power station developer in 2020, two years earlier than previously planned”.
Responding to reports that Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was “furious” at the reduction, Cllr Field said: “The Mayor of London was asked to engage in this decision-making process several weeks ago but remained completely silent until the day before the committee met when we learned he had commented on this matter via social media rather than contact the council. Mr Khan of course very recently approved a vast housing development in neighbouring Merton with only nine per cent affordable housing.”