We thought we should let signers of our petition on Change.org know the sad news that Battersea Water Pumping Station was demolished in the autumn. We had a very good response to the petition, which clearly struck a chord with Londoners and people much further afield. A group of us presented the petition to Councillor Mrs McDermott, chair of the planning committee, and Councillor Tony Belton, opposition spokesman, prior to the planning committee meeting on 17th June. Despite that, neither councillor referred to the petition at the meeting that followed, and the proposal to vary the planning permission to allow immediate demolition was approved with minimal discussion. Seasoned observers of Wandsworth Council will not be surprised by this decision from the Conservative majority, supported by the Labour so-called “opposition”. English Heritage is equally culpable; for entertaining the proposed demolition of such an important building, and then for agreeing to its early demolition. We must earnestly hope that English Heritage’s successor body does a better job of protecting London’s heritage. Bizarrely, English Heritage launched its 2014 “Buildings at Risk” register at an event at Battersea Power Station in October, whilst demolition of the Pumping Station was proceeding outside! Surely a new low point for them. No new building will replace the Pumping Station for many years, even if the current Malaysian owners carry out their scheme for Battersea Power Station and its environs. In the meantime the site of the Pumping Station will be unused other than to allow a route to transport spoil from the Northern Line Extension to barges on the river. (As if they couldn’t use their imagination to find a way around it!) It is a sorry tale, but one that is all too common in this part of London at present.
Thanks to everyone who signed the petition.
Sean Creighton and Keith Garner
31st December 2014
For further detail see https://www.change.org/p/councillor-mrs-sarah-mcdermott-councillor-tony-belton-we-the-undersigned-ask-wandsworth-council-to-refuse-listed-building-consent-application-2014-1236-for-the-demolition-of-battersea-water-pumping-station