We went down to see what is happening around Battersea Power Station last night. I’m old enough to remember the whole saga of grandiose plans to put the Power Station to use, all of which came to nothing except the further decay of the building. So it is good to see its refurbishment finally making progress. The iconic chimneys have been taken down and are now rebuilt and are now illuminated as a new feature of the London skyline. The price of that renovation is that the power station is surrounded by new apartment blocks, few of which look like they might be defined as ‘affordable’. It was encouraging though to see lights on and people about, so hopefully they have not all gone to overseas buyers. If it takes off it will be yet another adjustment to the centre of gravity in London.
I’m proud to be a trustee of SAVE Britain’s Heritage which has campaigned for the protection of Battersea amongst many other buildings where all hope for successful restoration seemed to have been lost. It’s a reminder both that these fights can be one, and that the key to success is some, but not too much, compromise with development interests. In reality, Battersea would not have been saved without the surrounding developments.