Leader’s Voice – London’s new urban quarter is poised to drive recovery
As 2022 gets underway, London is looking ahead to new opportunities emerging from the pandemic crisis. Here in Wandsworth we have worked tirelessly with partners and stakeholders over the last ten years to drive the regeneration of Battersea and Nine Elms as London rebuilt itself after the 2008 financial crisis. One decade in the making and one decade still to go, Nine Elms became Europe’s largest regeneration zone and with careful planning is on track to support a population of 30,000 by 2030.
At this key moment in history when London is called upon again to spearhead economic recovery, Nine Elms is in a great position to drive the recovery of the city’s Central Activities Zone (CAZ), bolstering the capital’s growth with thousands of jobs and a vibrant new town centre which brings together world-class architects, global organisations, strategic transport connections and new communities and culture.
Wandsworth Council has huge ambitions for this 227-hectare site, and the transformation so far of what was once a neglected, dilapidated stretch of central London has been remarkable. Right on the river, and within a stone’s throw of Westminster, this former industrial land had stood abandoned for long enough.
Last autumn we were proud to open London’s first major Tube extension for over 20 years, as the new Northern line extension plugged Battersea into the Underground network for the first time in history, connecting to the City and the West End within 15 minutes. Not only does this new Zone 1 connection help our residents, visitors and business people travel around more quickly, but it is the catalyst for transformation – opening up the borough to new markets and opportunities. And there’s more to come.
A £1.1bn dedicated infrastructure package is also ploughing investment into parks, roads, cycle and travel networks to improve key transport connections that benefit not just Wandsworth but London as a whole.
This new urban quarter is delivering 25,000 new jobs which will boost recovery of the CAZ and provide the biggest near-term job creation opportunity for central London as new retail, office, hospitality and creative occupiers open up at Battersea Power Station and across the opportunity area.
Over 100 retailers, restaurants and leisure providers will be housed in the Grade II* listed Power Station when it opens to the public this year for the first time, after careful restoration ensured it was removed from the Heritage at Risk Register and is now fit for the next century. Attracting so many businesses is another incredible example of confidence in the area’s development as the borough’s sixth town centre emerges.
Some of the world’s biggest companies, including Apple, are now making Battersea their home and we have plans to establish a new design and tech quarter to link up new businesses with those already established here to enable growth and further investment.
At the heart of the regeneration are approximately 20,000 new homes of all tenures, including affordable homes prioritised for Wandsworth residents and workers and supporting the council-led ‘Housing for All’ development programme of 1,000 new homes across the borough.
I’m immensely proud of what Wandsworth Council and its partners have achieved so far in Nine Elms – delivering on the vision of a new town centre to generate opportunities, homes and jobs. We have worked together with Government and local development partners to overcome many challenges and negotiate innovative solutions. This year the regeneration of Nine Elms is finally coming to fruition, unlocking opportunities for the people of Wandsworth as London is open for business once again.
Cllr Ravi Govindia is Leader of Wandsworth Council – 28.1.2022