Mick Jagger Voices Opposition to Battersea Bridge Skyscraper

Joins Felicity Kendal, Eric Clapton and Anthea Turner in objecting to plan

Visualisation of the latest design for the Battersea Bridge Road scheme. Picture: Farrells

June 14, 2024

Mick Jagger has thrown his support behind a growing campaign against plans to build a ‘horrendous’ 34-storey tower block at the bottom of Battersea Bridge. The Rolling Stones’ frontman has signed up to a campaign led by Rob McGibbon, 58, who is fighting to block the proposals from moving forward.

The looming tower, known as One Battersea Bridge, would replace an empty nine-storey office building at the corner of the River Thames and Battersea Bridge Road. It would have 142 flats, including 45 that would be classed as affordable, and offices. Developer Promonotoria Battersea Ltd submitted the plans to Wandsworth Council earlier this year and residents can still provide feedback, which will be considered by officers once the consultation has closed.

The plans have sparked widespread fury from residents on both sides of the river, with Mr McGibbon’s Change.org petition to launch his campaign gaining more than 1,950 signatures since June 2. The long-time Chelsea resident told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Felicity Kendal and Anthea Turner are among the celebrities to back his campaign so far.

Among objectors’ main concerns are the size of the proposed tower, that it would spoil the river view and cause traffic problems. Mr McGibbon said, “I think people are genuinely horrified that anyone can think that this design is a good idea. It does not warrant merit on any level at all.”

The journalist and activist wants his campaign to bring together residents in Chelsea and Battersea, on both sides of the river, to oppose the plans. He said, “This is not about Chelsea residents having a view spoilt – it is much, much bigger than that. The whole aim of my campaign is to unite two areas of London, Chelsea and Battersea, against one development.”

Mr McGibbon said the proposed tower would be too big and out of character in the area, which is ‘unscathed’ by high-rises. He added the ‘horrendous’ plans would destroy historic views of the river, fail to bring any benefits to the area and make traffic worse along Battersea Bridge.

Rob McGibbon by Battersea Bridge in 2023. Picture: Britt Steensland

He told the LDRS, “This development has absolutely no intention of bringing something worthwhile to the community, architecturally or in terms of building space. It is purely a monument to make money for foreign investors. It has no sense of community aspect to it… a fraction of what will be built there will go towards affordable homes.”

He continued, “It will cause utter chaos on Battersea Bridge, which is already massively busy. It will take probably three to five years to build so the traffic will be unbelievable – plus, even going forward, to have that number of residents right on Battersea Bridge will make it worse forever in terms of traffic and flow.”

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

Mr McGibbon raised further concerns the application would set a worrying precedent if approved as it does not follow council policy. The Local Plan, adopted last year, identifies buildings only up to six storeys tall as suitable for the site.

He said: “When you go from Chelsea Bridge up to Wandsworth Bridge it’s pretty unscathed, particularly around Battersea. This is a very precious, protected area. If we get one tower here like this, there will be other towers. It will set a precedent and, before we know it, it will end up looking like Nine Elms and Vauxhall… so we’ve got to fight this one as well as we can.”

Labour council leader Simon Hogg also stressed his objection to the plans after speaking to ‘rightly concerned’ residents. He wrote on X on Wednesday (12 June) that the tower ‘would inflict more harm than good on the local area’. The petition can be found here.

A spokesperson for the development said, “Our regeneration plans will replace an energy inefficient office building, which is no longer fit for purpose in modern London, with 142 much-needed new homes of which 45 will be affordable. Tackling the urgent need for new, high-quality housing in Wandsworth, this development will provide an affordable home for at least 160 local people.

“The proposal also includes 100 per cent affordable office space for Battersea SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] and startups to thrive, and a new community hub for local charities – with three charities already having expressed an interest in utilising the space. The whole community should benefit from the planned public realm improvements.”

Charlotte Lilywhite - Local Democracy Reporter