Farrell hails ‘affordable’ proposed scheme that would involve knocking down all but the north and south facades of the power station

Sir Terry Farrell’s architecture practice has submitted plans to rescue London’s iconic Battersea Power Station.

Under the proposals only the power station’s crumbling north and south facades and its art deco control rooms will be retained – which Farrell described as an affordable alternative to other bids to rescue the building.

Terry Farrell & Partners submitted the listed building application to Wandsworth Council, but has not yet found a willing developer or financial backers.

The rest of the building would be demolished and a landscaped park would be developed in and around the retained elements.

Farrell said the plan was preferable to “meaninglessly and mindlessly subsum[ing]” the iconic building in a shopping mall, conference centre or football stadium development – all of which have been proposed.

The practice is already actively involved in the wider area and is masterplanning the site around the new US Embassy at Nine Elms for developer Ballymore.

In an interview with the Evening Standard Farrell explained he felt so passionately about the project that he was willing to foot the £25m restoration costs himself.

The team includes Alan Baxter, who has had various roles within English Heritage and specialises in conservation issues as well as being a structural engineer.

Farrell said: “Giles Gilbert Scott is one of the greatest architects of the 20th Century and to bring this monumental temple alive again would be incredibly exciting. I believe that submitting a listed building application is the only way forward now, in order to preserve the iconic parts of the power station and unblock the ‘bigness’ that has thwarted all previous attempts to redevelop it. 

“The most important thing is the relationship of the mass overall to the great void inside and I find all attempts to fill it up and to make money – whether shopping, leisure, conferencing or a football stadium - deeply upsetting.

“The cost of repairs will be confined solely to the end towers and chimneys (which will be kept and not demolished or replaced). This cost will be in the order of £25m against the estimated cost of repairing the entire building which for previous schemes would have been in the order of £90m.

“The cost of the new park, water features and new elements is estimated at £18m which is significantly different to the cost of new uses and development as proposed by the consented scheme which would have been in the order of £600m.

“The value of the park must also been considered in terms of the increase on surrounding residential property prices which one would expect to be at least 10% higher.

“This is a very sensible alternative to providing lots of new internal uses at great cost to any developer which by some estimates could be over £300m. A park would also dramatically accelerate the development programme – reducing interest rates, consultants fees and radically bringing forward sales income which could all add up to an extra £250m.”