Lyons O'Neill

Battersea Power Station; a long road to a wholesale regeneration

Battersea Power Station, which was fully decommissioned in 1983 and later given Grade II building status, has been subject to one of the country’s biggest redevelopment schemes over recent years – a seven-phase, £9bn project.

This redevelopment, which is still partly underway, covers 42 acres and has involved the wholesale transformation of the entire site. This includes the construction of over 3,000 new residential homes, transforming the former power station structure into a new living and retail destination, the recently opened tube line extension, and the creation of 2.5 million square feet of new office and retail space.

Needless to say, it has been and continues to be a mammoth task. Yet despite delays and hurdles, the project is now finally edging towards completion. With the power station structure itself achieving ‘practical completion’ status in July, it appears to be on track to officially open to the public within the next few months.

Construction work for the first phase of the project, Circus West, started in July 2013 and was completed in 2017. And the preliminary works for the second phase, which involves the aforementioned restoration of the power station, started in February 2014.

The design for the third phase, which involves the development of a new retail high street known as The Electric Boulevard, was unveiled in April 2014 by Gehry Partners and Foster + Partners, and is also set to open in September 2022.

In a nod to its past life, the revamped Battersea site will house its own sustainable power source to fuel the retail space, set beneath the riverside park.  There’ve also been careful efforts to preserve and boost the site’s biodiversity, including resident pairs of peregrine falcons and black redstarts.

The creation of ‘green roofs’, insect-friendly gardens planted on rooftops, is also designed to boost local birdlife and wildlife.

Much of the area is now open, with riverside bistros and slick wine bars set beneath the railway arches, but the crowning glory is the next phase; the opening of the power station unit  itself.

With the official opening now finally in sight, the pieces of the project look set to finally fall into place.