Battersea Power Station: Malaysian company beats Chelsea bid

Artist's impression of the revamped Battersea Power Station
Image caption Plans include extending the Northern Line under the station

Chelsea Football Club has said it is disappointed after a Malaysian company was chosen as the preferred bidder for Battersea Power Station.

In a statement, joint administrators from Ernst and Young said it had entered into an exclusivity agreement with SP Setia and Sime Darby.

There were 15 bidders for the 39-acre (15 hectare) site on the south bank of the River Thames in London.

Chelsea had wanted to turn the site into an "iconic" stadium.

As it is a private sale, it has not been revealed what the Malaysian company plans to do with the site beyond the description of a "multi-use real estate regeneration project".

However, planning permission to restore the power station, build new homes and create a London Underground station on the Northern Line already exists.

'Understands our vision'

Chelsea is looking at moving away from its Stamford Bridge home as it said its capacity of 42,000 was preventing the club from bringing in the kind of match day revenue other top league teams were making.

In a statement, the football club said it believed it could have created an "iconic and architecturally significant stadium" on the site which would have been of "great benefit" to the local community.

"We have been clear throughout this process that Battersea is one of a limited number of options the club is considering," the statement added.

Local planning authority Wandsworth Council said the deal with SP Setia and Sime Darby was "potentially very good news".

Council leader Ravi Govindia said: "We're making tremendous progress towards transforming this old industrial stretch of the South Bank which will provide up to 25,000 new jobs for London.

"It's important that this site and its iconic building are not left behind and that a developer is brought in who understands our vision for the new Nine Elms."

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, welcomed the decision. He said: "I believe we see light at the end of the tunnel in the sorry saga that has dogged this great landmark for decades and the surrounding area.

"There is still detailed work to do but this is an encouraging step forward.

"In particular the firm commitment on the table to invest in the vital new transport link will drive the regeneration of this important corner of the capital that has been neglected for so long."

Battersea, a Grade II listed building, opened in 1933 and generated power until 1983.

It was acquired by Real Estate Opportunities, the majority owner of the holding company, in 2006, but last year creditors were called in following its £502m debt.

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