Council backs demolishing Greenwich’s historic gasholder

East Greenwich Gasholder
The gasholder was part of the former East Greenwich Gas Works

Greenwich Council planning officers have approved plans to demolish the 130-year-old gasholder that sits close to the entrance of the Blackwall Tunnel.

Onwer SGN plc, which says the gasometer is a “significant security and safety liability”, has been told it can dismantle the structure, which was one of a pair constructed for the old East Greenwich Gas Works. The other gasholder was taken down in 1985.

Despite its age and position as a local landmark, there are no legal protections in place to protect the East Greenwich gasholder on historic grounds, unlike in Sydenham where Lewisham Council has locally listed the remaining Bell Green gasholders.

The decision was made by planning officers rather than by councillors on a committee. 15 objections were received via the council website.

Last year a planning brief for the peninsula said development in the area “should build on the heritage value of the gas holder to enhance the character and distinctiveness of the area”.

It added: “This could be achieved through a variety of means. For example, the retention of all or part of the structure within a public open space or building, or reinterpretation of the structure and its industrial history through the design of building façade details, public realm/landscaping or the layout of the development.”

Redundant gasholders have been put to new uses in cities around Europe – most notably in Dublin’s docklands, where one now houses 240 flats. Apartments have also been built inside the old King’s Cross gasholders in central London, while one has been converted into a park.

  • Viewpoint: ‘Greenwich’s threatened gasholder is a local icon – it deserves to be saved
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