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Report by engineering team finds that chimneys can be repaired


Parkview have applied to Wandsworth Council for permission to demolish all four chimneys at Battersea Power Station and to rebuild them.

The chimneys are made of reinforced concrete with a dense double helix of steel mesh with horizontal hoops and vertical rods and each chimney weighs 500 tonnes. They are very strong and have stood from 72 years to 50 years as they were all built at different dates.

We became suspicious that there was a different agenda to their stated intensions of conservation when there was no announcement locally of this planning application in the usual way, i.e. no notices around the site.

This seemed peculiar for such a serious change to the famous London landmark.

The Twentieth Century Society and World Monuments Fund in Britain (WMF) were also not consulted over these issues at any time.

We came to the conclusion that an independent report should be commissioned and joined with Twentieth Century Society and World Monuments Fund to commission civil engineers Cameron Taylor and Alan Conisbee Assocs, and concrete specialists GB Geotechnics, to look into this issue.

They met with the Parkview team at Buro Happold's office, reviewed the reports from Taylor Woodrow and others and had a site visit to the building.

Our engineering team concludes that:

"On the basis of the information available we do not consider that there is no alternative to demolition and rebuilding of the four chimneys.

There is no sign of structural distress in the chimneys.

There is no evidence produced of general severe (>1%) levels of chloride throughout the structure, rather there is evidence of chloride marginally above acceptable.

There is no evidence of sufficient deep carbonation to warrant concern.

There is no evidence of general, distributed, expansive corrosion.

There is no evidence to support the contention that only by introduction of an ICCP system will the structure be rendered safe.

Many cracks date from the construction process.

There is little evidence of spalling concrete to the majority of the shafts.

There are no signs of significant cracks due to the levels of carbonation or chlorides that have been recorded.

There are also alternative methods of discovering the location of the steel which were not explored.

There therefore seems to be sound environmental reasons, as well as listed buildings/PPG 15 benefits, in repairing the chimneys."

Brian Barnes Chair of BPSCG says:

" Parkview have done nothing in 12 years except to demolish everything in sight, to enter ever more fanciful planning applications and make every excuse there is for not keeping to deadlines, one famously ‘we will open in 2000’.

We do not think the chimneys will ever be rebuilt and then more problems will be found so that the rest of the building needs to be demolished for spurious H&S reasons.

Mr Hwang told me at a meeting at the Power Station in 1996 'Let me knock the f***ing thing down and build 3 towers of 40 storeys, one can be for affordable housing and I will still make plenty of profits'

Victor Hwang’s long held plan will soon be accomplished, except there will never be any affordable housing.

We are furious at people at English Heritage who have promised us all along that they have inspected the building every 6 months and instructed Parkview to make necessary repairs but now find this not to have been true and they are agreeing to this penultimate act of destruction before complete demolition"


Brian Barnes  Chair BPSCG  020 7672 5821

Keith Garner  Committee Member  07876 163638


Posted on 26th September 2005

© Battersea Power Station Community Group 2005



Click here to download a copy of the report (pdf file).


Battersea Power Station from Victoria Station (photo: Elaine Michel)