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Mayor predicts early start for Northern Line Extension tunnels

London mayor Boris Johnson renewed his commitment to the proposed £600M Northern Line Extension to Battersea as key part of his strategy to invest in infrastructure to drive London’s economy and creating jobs in the capital.

Speaking to transport professionals at the annual London Transport charity dinner last night Johnson challenged planners and tunnellers to press forward with the project before the current Malaysian developers start work on the Battersea power Station redevelopment.

“We will extend the Northern Line,” he said. “In fact, I predict that we will start that Northern Line tunnelling before they [the developers] begin work on the power station.”

The Malaysian consortium of SP Setia, Sime Darby and the Employees Provident Fund has acquired the power station and in a statement earlier this month said that “noticeable improvements” would be seen shortly at the derelict plot with preparatory work scheduled to begin later this year and first ground broken in the second half of 2013.

Preparatory work for the £8bn redevelopment of the 16ha site is expected to start in 2013. However, the full project to construct 3,500 homes, 160,000m2 of office space, shops and a park on the former power station site is dependent on the new transport link being in place.

Johnson paid tribute to the army of individuals and companies that ensured London’s transport system worked throughout the recent London 2012 Olympic Games. He said that the Games’ success demonstrated that investment in properly functioning transport infrastructure was crucial to boosting growth in the capital.

“The Olympics have helped us to once again make the case to invest in our transport infrastructure to make London an even more attractive place to live in and to work in,” he said. “We cannot rest on our laurels. We must continue to expand our transport networks.”

Battersea Power station

Phase One of the development will consist of multiple residential buildings containing a total of 800 apartments and standing above a commercial podium which will include retail, restaurants, gym, pool, spa, theatre and office studios. A new 2.4ha park, open to the public, adjacent to the river and directly linking to the 200 acre Battersea Park next-door, will form the setting for the new buildings. This phase will be self-contained and is designed by architects Ian Simpson Architects and de Rijke Marsh Morgan in accordance with the Rafael Vinoly masterplan.

The approved proposals to redevelop the around 16ha power station plot include the completed regeneration of the Power Station, the largest brick building in Europe and one of the most significant surviving examples of Art Deco architecture.

The site was acquired, following an open market tender, for £400M through a special purpose vehicle known as Battersea Project Holding Company Ltd (BPHC) in which SP Setia and Sime Darby have a 40% stake each with EPF holding the remaining 20%. The finished project is expected be worth £8bn.

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