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London mayor gives go-ahead to Battersea project

LONDON: Mayor of London Boris Johnson has gave the go-ahead on Wednesday, Dec 22 for the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station and its surrounding area.

Battersea's imposing white brick chimneys have been a feature of London's skyline for almost 80 years but has suffered a succession of failures to redevelop the site since it ceased power production nearly three decades ago.

The new scheme is part of a wider £5.5 billion (RM26.42 billion) development that involves an extension to the Northern Line underground railway, and the construction of thousands of homes, retail and office space.

The Battersea Power Station proposal, submitted by Real Estate Opportunities Plc (REO), was approved by the local borough council, Wandsworth, in November and referred to the Mayor as an application of strategic importance.

It will now go before the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

REO is still seeking a financial partner for the 10.1 million square-foot development and has embarked on a worldwide roadshow, a spokesman said.

It hopes to sign up a partner, either an individual or a consortium, early in the new year.

REO has spoken to a number of parties, including sovereign wealth funds, private equity firms, wealthy families and property companies.

"Battersea Power Station has long been an iconic feature of the capital's skyline, and these plans will make sure that status is retained for years to come," the mayor said in a statement.

"The building was once a vital motor helping to power the capital. With its future secured through this regeneration it will once again play a part in driving London's economy."

The project includes a commitment from the developers of more than £200 million to help fund a two-station extension of the Underground line, the mayor's statement added.

The project is one of the largest regeneration proposals being considered in the capital, and is expected to provide up to 25,000 jobs, with about 15,000 people working within the station.

REO director Rob Tincknell said he was "delighted" at the mayor's decision.

Construction is due to start in early 2012 and be completed in 2024. — Reuters
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