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Sunday, December 7, 1997 Published at 13:04 GMT


Jump-starting Battersea with pop festival
image: [ Battersea will be generating music, fun and games for 18 days ]
Battersea will be generating music, fun and games for 18 days

Six thousand people will be attending a Concert of Hope in London in tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales.

The line up on Sunday includes former Take That members Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow.

The concert is being held at one of London's most famous landmarks, Battersea power station, which has stood deserted for 14 years.

The power station is undergoing a renaissance, staging an 18-day pop concert and entertainment festival featuring Boyzone, Peter André, Jamiroquai, Cast and Paul Weller.

These will be the last events to be held in the world's biggest brick building before it is redeveloped early next year.

[ image: The world's largest
The world's largest "instant building"
The festival is being sponsored by Midland Bank as part of a £1m project that is taking place in a huge temporary building on the Thames riverside.

The building contains a 6000 seat auditorium and an "entertainment village" which is housing activities ranging from a game zone, with the latest in computer games, to celebrity cooking sessions and basket ball coaching.

[ image: Battersea is the site of breathtaking bungee jumping]
Battersea is the site of breathtaking bungee jumping
In keeping with Battersea tradition, there is also a chance to take part in a bungee jump.

The event hopes to attract about 170,000 people to different shows.

There are plans to turn the station into a Las-Vegas style leisure complex next year which will include hotels, restaurants, a shopping centre and provide a home for a world-renowned circus.

The site covers 35 acres including the wasteland which currently surrounds it.

The history of the power station

[ image: Bizarre riverside activities are burgeoning at Battersea]
Bizarre riverside activities are burgeoning at Battersea
When the power station was conceived in 1927 it was expected to have a life of only 30 years. But in 1980 the empty shell was recognised as an important part of London's heritage, and it became a listed building.

In 1984 the Central London Electricity Board organised a competition to determine the future of much-admired four chimney building.

The winner of the competition was John Broom, with his suggestion of a theme park complete with restaurant, shopping and leisure facilities. But after gutting the building his company went into liquidation in 1989.

[ image: The famous chimneys will be home to adventure rides and glass elevators]
The famous chimneys will be home to adventure rides and glass elevators
Since then many developers have wracked their brains for plans to resurrect it but with little success until earlier this year Warner Brothers agreed to build the world's biggest cinema complex at the site.

The idea is the brainchild of Parkview International, the Hong Kong-based company that bought the power station in 1993.

The 32-screen cinema complex will be open 24 hours a day and will seat more than 8,000 people. At least one cinema will be used to beam in international events like boxing matches and pop concerts.

The famous Battersea chimneys will have adventure rides on the inside and glass lifts on the outside.

[ image: Computer simulation of Millennium dome]
Computer simulation of Millennium dome
The plans for the power staition could make it a rival, as a tourist attraction for the Millennium Dome, the controversial goverment-funded project, dogged by delays and rows over rising costs.

Parkview International estimate that the Battersea leisure complex will attract a million visitors a year. The project is valued at £700m, and could create about 7,000 jobs.

Before the plans for the cinema complex were announced, the power station had served as the backdrop for various films including Superman, Monty Python's Flying Circus and Ian McKellan's Richard III.


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