Strong Reaction to Battersea Bridge Tower 'Monstrosity'

Developer wants to build 38-storey skyscraper

Visualisation of One Battersea Bridge Road schemeVisualisation of One Battersea Bridge Road scheme. Picture: Farrells

February 6, 2024

Plans to build a huge apartment block up to 38 storeys tall at the bottom of Battersea Bridge have been revealed. The Glassmill office building at the corner of the River Thames and Battersea Bridge Road would be demolished to make way for the proposed building.

The huge tower block at 1 Battersea Bridge Road would contain up to 170 homes, including affordable homes, offices and community space. The proposals have been published in a scoping opinion request submitted by company Promontoria Battersea Ltd to Wandsworth Council. The request outlines the scheme to determine the level of information which should be provided in the environmental statement as part of the formal planning application, which has not yet been submitted.

The request said the heights and massing of the proposed tower block had not been finalised, but it is expected the building would reach up to a maximum height of 38 storeys. It said the development would “also provide limited flexible commercial space, community and amenity spaces, landscaping and public realm works”.

A total of 338 residents have objected to the request on the council’s website, with particular concerns about the building’s proposed height. One resident wrote the “ridiculously tall building” would “stick out like the world’s largest sore thumb”. He said: “It would be a very quick way to ruin the feel of the whole place. It is entirely incongruous with its surroundings, with our Battersea, with the whole charming aesthetic of our neighbourhood.

“My family have lived in Battersea since the 1960s. Part of the distinctive charm of the area is the lack of vast glassy buildings, meaning that all the others have a congruity, a village feel, a neighbourhood of students and dog-walkers and families, of football teams and friendly local feeling – a feeling which keeps it distinct from a lot of the rest of London.”

Another resident described the proposed tower as a “monstrosity”. She commented: “Having lived in the area for 15 years I am very much in support of any progressive and positive development. This is not it. The proposed building takes from the residents of Battersea – the skyline, the beautiful view along the river – and all it gives in return is a hideous eyesore.”

The existing Glassmill building on the site on Battersea Bridge Road, Battersea. Picture: Google Streetview

A third objector argued “a large development of this kind, in an already tight spot with many flats, is entirely unsuitable”. She raised concerns local infrastructure would not be able to cope and disruption caused by the building works would “make life even more stressful and intolerable” for residents.

A website outlining initial proposals for the site from Rockwell Property, the developer behind the scheme, for early consultation last year said the Glassmill building is “energy inefficient, currently only at circa 50per cent occupancy and at the end of its lifecycle”.

The website added: “This underutilised building has the potential to create new homes that will help alleviate local housing pressures and ensure that a significant amount of truly affordable homes will be delivered for the local community.”

A spokesperson for Rockwell Property said, “We have not yet submitted detailed proposals for One Battersea Bridge. The environmental impact assessment scoping opinion request submitted in mid-December provides an overview of the plans and does not detail the significant public benefits that will be set out as part of the planning application.

“We are continuing to review feedback from our public consultation and engage with stakeholders, including officers, as we develop the details of the planning application. It is our ambition that One Battersea Bridge increases the amount of affordable housing locally, delivers affordable workspace for local businesses, improves the riverside public realm, and creates new spaces for the community.”

Wandsworth Council says it will respond to the scoping opinion request in due course.

Charlotte Lilywhite - Local Democracy Reporter