Contractor P. Elloitt starts on 13-building development on site of former Chelsea power station

Construction work has finally started on the £500m Lots Road luxury flats scheme in west London , one of the capital’s biggest residential developments.

Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa has hired Ireland ’s biggest contractor, P. Elliott, to start minor building work ahead of the major building programme next year. The Independent on Sunday reported that planning consent was due to run out next month if at least some construction work had not started.

The Sir Terry Farrell-designed 800 apartment scheme, which is on the site of a disused power station in upmarket Chelsea , has been subject to planning protests from local aristocrats.

In March 2007, Lady Dido Berkeley failed in her legal challenge to overturn then deputy prime minister John Prescott’s decision to approve the project.

Lady Berkeley argued that the project would be a blight on the River Thames, the setting of which is defended by a policy known as Blue Ribbon.

Hutchison Whampoa bought the site in 2000, but has still not set a completion date for the project. It is an ambitious scheme comprising 13 buildings, with the tallest tower reaching 37 storeys.

Lots Road is one of six Hutchison Whampoa property development investments in London .