Dannii Minogue, a mysterious hermit and highly desirable homes…welcome to Battersea’s Plantation Wharf
It isn't beyond the realms of possibility that if you'd taken a stroll near Plantation Wharf up until a few months ago you'd have bumped into Dannii Minogue going about her hectic showbiz life.
Indeed, the Australian singer could easily have been sashaying towards a waiting limo to whisk her off to a glitzy engagement, just as celebrity chef Nigella Lawson was dashing to, or from, her TV studio kitchen, which is also nearby.
Bubbly Dannii, she of X-Factor judge fame (amongst other notable roles) and younger sister of pop icon Kylie Minogue, sold up her pad earlier this year but her residence serves to illustrate the appeal of living at Plantation Wharf, which is (for the uninitiated) a complex on the river at Battersea of around 160 flats and 94 commercial premises that was built in 1995.
This made it among one of the first riverside warehouse conversions completed along the Thames. Now, as well as homes, it boasts a thriving business community and riverside office complex.
And although Dannii decided to head for pastures new, another public figure confirmed just how enticing the complex is in the shape of John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, who bought a leasehold house for £935,000 back in 2013.
But the living habits of the great and the good are a far cry from the former site of the homes, which are set on a prime stretch of Battersea Embankment, and which benefit from superb river views from some of the most sought-after residences on this stretch of the River Thames.
Plantation Wharf buildings are finished in brick and have expansive glazed sections as well as glazed balconies. Trade Tower, which is said by many to resemble a water tower, is perched in the middle of the spread, surrounded by light and airy apartments, with open-plan living areas and modern kitchens and bathrooms – and a few have mezzanine levels and balconies with river views.
Some residents recall the Battersea waterfront in a far different light, of course. Before the development sprung up, it is said, there resided nearby a harmless chap of anomalous habits who had made his home on what was living on a dilapidated barge. The story goes that one night, with plans afoot for gentrification, a mystery blaze destroyed the eyesore vessel and the eccentric inhabitant was never heard of or seen ever again.
It is but a tiny episode in the rich history of the river and the waterfront, of course, and part of that chronicle continues in the name Plantation Wharf, a nod to busier times on the Thames that saw a roaring trade in everything from molasses to ivory.
On a celebrity resident footnote, we note with interest that Fleetwood Mac star Christine McVie has put her luxury Battersea apartment on the market – with a £3.6million price tag.
The singer-songwriter bought the property, at Riverside One, around a mile from our Battersea HQ, in 1992 and used it as her base in the capital. She said that the fifth-floor flat, with its three double bedrooms, two en-suite bathrooms and large open-plan reception room, was "especially captivating at night-time".