Plans in to demolish Greenwich gasholder

Energy company SGN (Formerly Scotia Gas Networks) have submitted plans to demolish Greenwich Peninsula gasholder.

Greenwich Council ran a consultation on the site back in June with options to demolish the gasholder. In November Greenwich Council Councillors agreed to retain the gasholder.

Viewed from the Thames

This shows a real lack of imagination. SGN do not plan on retaining one of the last remaining examples of the areas industrial heritage. Many other places have converted gasholders into contemporary uses to great success. Housing, parks, exhibitions spaces and more.

It wasn’t listed by Historic England as it’s similar to one on Old Kent Road. Is that a good enough reason to demolish? Due to this the government have now granted an immunity from listing making it easier to demolish.

The gasholder suffered damage due to an IRA bomb in 1979. The repairs are another reason given by Historic England not to list the structure.

Local listing could offer slight help to the future of the site, though it offers far less protection than national listing.

Plans to demolish gasholders in Sydenham were rejected by Lewisham Council last month who have locally listed the site. Aldi wanted to build a retail shed and car parking in its place.

Much more information about the gasholder and the area’s history can be found at the Greenwich industrial History site here.

The planning reference is 17/4068/D1

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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

8 thoughts on “Plans in to demolish Greenwich gasholder

  • How middle class is this blog? Demolish it and build homes, even offices would are better than an empty metal structure.

    • You do realise there’s suggestions to retain the holder with homes as has happened around the world?

  • Yes, but very pricy ones as it costs more money.

  • There have been several attempts to persuade Historic England and their predecessors to list the gas holder, the first in the 1990s and the most recent my own this summer. None have succeeded as HE have adopted extremely high national standards in assessing the architectural and historic value of a holder. There are, nevertheless, inconsistencies in their argument but with a Certificate of Immunity (CoI) being issued it is now impossible to challenge the rejection without substantial new evidence. The CoI was issued after a request from parties un-named by HE but I think we can assume it was SGN. Their application to Greenwich council is for approval of the method of demolition. It is their contention that the demolition as such is a permitted development which does not require planning permission. This contention relies on the regulations imposed on planning authorities by the General Permitted Development Order 2015. The council has not unambiguously agreed to the retention of the holder but amended its Planning Brief for the area including the gas holder. A new clause was added which states: “Proposals should reflect and respond to the industrial character of the area as a means of relating new development to the local context. In particular, development should build on the heritage value of the gas holder to enhance the character and distinctiveness of the area. This could be achieved through a variety of means. For example, the retention of all or part of the structure within a public space or building, or reinterpretation of the structure and its industrial history through the design of building facade details, public realm/landscaping or the layout of the development. Prior to any work on the gas holder, heritage and structure surveys are required.” Whether this will be sufficient for Greenwich to demand an application for permission to demolish, I’m really not sure. Comments to Greenwich planners should be submitted by 11th January. The reference giving access to the SGN application on the Greenwich planning site is 17/4068/D1.

  • Couple of quick things – thanks Peter for that – at a level of planning erudition which I couldn”t match.
    Can I also point to the architectural mileu in which the holder was built. It could be described as an early modern movement industrial building – we have one small piece of research missing to give us confidence in that statement
    Emanuel – yes we need more housing, but east Greenwich and the Peninsula are already miles over their share in terms of numbers. We can’t live just by flats and flats and flats alone – that is how the slums of the late 19th century arose. We all need something more in our envuornent – there are lots of ideas out there for using holders frames – and people are learning lessons with new and cheaper, and more effective ideas. Don’t we all need something to make the place brighter, and more interesting – do we really want to leave a legacy which will look like what was pulled down in the 1960s;??

  • – and -ps – Emanuel – why should it be ‘middle class’ to talk about the historic environment along with what is being built now. Do you ever actually talk to any of the hundreds of people who worked in the factories down Blackwall Lane?? Can I suggest that you might just find out how unhappy many of them are at seeing everything so dramatically changed – and how vociferous they are about some remains and reminders being kept.

  • Please demolish it. I have a phobia to these constructions, want to buy in Morden Wharf but not with that ugly thing behind the apartments. I understand we need to keep some physical industrial history but only one in London would be sufficient. Can’t wait to hear it’s going!

  • Pingback: Work begins to dismantle Greenwich gasholder | Murky Depths

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