Chimney sequence alteration approved

Battersea Power Station’s chimneys are to be taken down and rebuilt in a faster sequence after Wandsworth Council agreed the change at their planning committee.

In 2011 Wandsworth and English Heritage approved plans for each of the decayed chimneys to be rebuilt after engineering studies showed all four were beyond repair. The approved plan included a legal agreement stipulating they must be rebuilt one at a time.

Tonight’s committee has approved a ‘deed of variation’ to that legal agreement which means a different sequence will be used. The revised approach will see one chimney taken down and then rebuilt to a height of 25 metres. At this point work can also start on all the other three chimneys.

No changes are being made to the design of the chimneys, all four of which will be constructed according to the original architecture plans so that they match the appearance of the originals.

The developer estimates that working on three chimneys in tandem will mean the power station restoration will be completed two years earlier.

Works on the listed building are expected to start in October 2013. The first chimney is scheduled to come down in early 2014 and all four could be fully rebuilt in 2017.

A new safeguard has also been added to the legal agreement which requires the developer to provide a bond for the full value of the chimney works contract before the project can get underway. The council will be able to use this bond to pay for the completion of the project if for any reason the developer failed to finish the chimney works.

Nick Cuff, Wandsworth Council’s planning chairman, said: “This is a commonsense change which gives us greater certainly over the scheme’s completion and means the building’s restoration can be finished earlier. It’s win, win.

“When the first chimney starts to come down it will send another signal to London that the site’s revival is powering ahead. We are all looking forward to the moment when all four have been fully rebuilt and this magnificent building is safe from collapse.

“The owners have agreed to provide a financial guarantee for the project so there is no reason for the council to insist on such a slow process. We want to let them crack on with the restoration and bring thousands of new jobs to Nine Elms.”

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