The owner of Battersea Power Station has said it will submit a plan for redeveloping the power station by early 2009.

Irish-based Real Estate Opportunities (REO) bought the iconic building and the 38-and-a-half acre site in December 2006 for £400m from Hong Kong-based Parkview International.

Left derelict for a quarter of a century the former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, recently referred to the site as "the biggest disgrace in planning in the capital over the last 20 years".

Parkview International had planning permission to develop the historic site when it sold to REO for £400m - nearly 40 times the £10.5million it paid for it in 1993.

Accordingly this new announcement will be met with cautious optimism by residents and heritage campaigners.

In a statement REO chairman, Ray Horney, said: "Our timetable for the development of the Battersea site is to complete the masterplan design process by mid 2008 with a new planning application expected to be submitted in early 2009."

The development, which is expected to be a mixed residential and commercial venture, is being designed by renowned architect Rafael Vinoly - who designed the acclaimed Tokyo International Forum building.

REO said Mr Vinoly's brief was: "Drawing up a revised masterplan for the site with a view to maximising its development potential whilst preserving the integrity of the Giles Gilbert Scott power station.

Mr Horney said: "The intention is to produce a robust, deliverable scheme that combines best practice in policy terms with a sustainable, exemplary development for London. It is also envisaged that the development will become a catalyst for the wider redevelopment of the Nine Elms corridor."

Mr Horney added alterations to London planning laws - due to be implemented later this year - will "specifically identify Battersea as an area for intensification and higher density development with improved accessibility".

If Mr Horney is right the laws will effectively give developers the green-light to build high-rise residential blocks across the north-east tip of the borough.

Plans for three twin-towers sites - at sites in Wandsworth Town, Putney and Clapham Junction - are currently being considered by Wandsworth Council and developers.

In line with the REO announcement the owners of the 57-acre New Covent Garden Market in Nine Elms, announced it has appointed architects - URS and Foster & Partners - to produce a technical and design brief for the new market.

Covent Garden Market Authority said completion of the first stage of the brief was expected this summer.