It's Battersea Poor Station: first-time buyers banished to former industrial estate half a mile from luxury homes

A proposal for the location of the affordable homes at Battersea Power Station is likely to ignite the "poor door" debate as new plans place them away from the luxury housing scheme.
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These exclusive images reveal how promised homes at Battersea Power Station reserved for first-time buyers and renters have been moved to a plot half a mile away from the luxury housing scheme.

More than 370 “affordable” homes, which were to be mixed among the multimillion-pound apartments next to the Grade II*-listed power station, are instead to be located on a former industrial estate between busy railway lines. 

Developers say the change is needed to make way for a giant sewer.

Wandsworth council is currently considering the proposal to place the cheaper homes in a collection of mansion blocks ready to move into in 2019.

However, with the homes being positioned at the furthest reaches of the site, the proposals are likely to reignite the “poor door” debate — a reference to developers’ practice of providing segregated entrances for private and affordable owners in upscale blocks. 


Rob Tincknell, head of the Battersea Power Station Development Company, defended the change, saying the affordable homes would be completed sooner under the new plan.

The affordable homes will be built on a three-acre plot in Sleaford Street, on the other side of Battersea Park Road and beside a tangle of railway tracks.

The proposal is a reversal of the original plan to sprinkle affordable housing out as part of the later phases of the scheme. Tincknell said that when it became clear the building of the new London super-sewer – the Thames Tideway Tunnel - and the Northern line extension would delay these phases, the plan was re-thought. 

“When it became apparent that construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel would delay delivery of affordable housing, we were immediately asked by our shareholders to develop an alternative strategy to deliver our committed affordable housing,” he said. 
The affordable homes are being designed by Patel Taylor Architects, the firm which created homes at the Athletes’ Village at Stratford for the 2012 Olympic Games. They will replace an industrial estate and former Dairy Crest depot. 

“We think the architecture is beautifully proportioned and the 374 homes are spacious and well-laid out, with the vast majority benefiting from double or even triple aspect,” said Tincknell. 

The properties will be within five mid-rise blocks, ranging from nine to 18 storeys. More than 250 homes will be rented out on long leases and at subsidised rates to people priced out of the local private rental sector. The average rent of a two-bedroom flat in Nine Elms is currently almost £3,000 per month, according to Zoopla. 

The rest of the properties will be sold to local first-time buyers earning from £40,000 a year, who will be able to purchase a 25 per cent share. A two-bedroom flat in the area currently costs just over £1.2 million.

The development will include a new piazza with space for market stalls, a ball court, outdoor gym equipment, children’s play areas, a fitness trail, a private residents garden and a “community growing garden”, featuring allotments and fruit trees.

There will also be a new NHS health centre and small business units, as well as shops and cafés around the piazza.

When it completes in 2025, the Battersea Power Station scheme will include 581 affordable homes – the rest are being provided in later phases – representing 15.2 per cent of the homes on the site. 

Mayor Boris Johnson was last year forced to defend affordable provision on the £8 billion site, pointing out that it would provide hundreds of Londoners with discounted homes.

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