First Battersea Power station residents try out local corner shop selling bread, milk and £800 bottles of St Emilion

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It is still one of London’s largest building sites but the pioneering first residents of Battersea Power Station are now at least able to pop out for a pint of milk.

The tills at the first shop at the £9 billion regeneration of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s masterpiece — a neighbourhood grocery store — began ringing today almost 34 years after the station generated its last watt of electricity.

Around 200 people have moved into apartments in the first phase of the scheme but until now had to make a 15-minute walk to a nearby petrol station if they ran out of basics.

The owner of the 6,500 sq ft shop, called the Battersea General Store, is local businessman Raj Bathia. He said he wanted to supply all of the everyday essentials but also the best of delicacies from around the world. There is also a deli counter.

The 39-year-old said: “I’ve lived in south-west and south-east London all my life and I’ve always had businesses here, this seemed like the perfect opportunity. As an entrepreneur I’ve been monitoring what’s been going on for many years, all the activity all along Nine Elms. But for me the only one I was interested in was Battersea Power Station, that was the jewel in the crown. I can’t think of any other developer who would take a risk with a company our size.” 

The store, opposite the vast western flank of the Grade II* listed “cathedral of power”, includes solid oak fittings and cost in the “low single millions”. It stocks about 5,000 lines from a 40p packet of salt and vinegar crisps to an £800 bottle of St Emilion Chateau Ausone.

He said pricing would be in line with high street chains because “otherwise people will just come in to buy some speciality stuff every now and again and it won’t be a success”. Rob Tincknell, chief executive of the Battersea Power Station Development Company, said he had first met Mr Bathia when they were chatting in his previous store almost a decade ago.

He added: “For years this site has lain dormant and empty. To see the first store open its doors to the public is a proud and special moment.”


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