East Greenwich gasholder owner plans to save parts of it, councillors told

East Greenwich gasholder
SGN’s decision to demolish the gasholder has caused dismay

The firm which is planning to knock down east Greenwich’s historic gasholder is planning to retain parts of the 130-year-old structure, Greenwich councillors were told last night.

SGN wants to dismantle the gasholder, which is the last remaining part of the old East Greenwich Gas Works, despite local opposition.

The issue was raised at last night’s full Greenwich Council meeting by Eltham South Conservatuve councillor Nigel Fletcher, who joined regeneration cabinet member Sizwe James on a visit to the site last month.

In a written answer, James said: “I am pleased to say that SGN has agreed to retain some of the structure for use in any future development/public realm scheme.

“A meeting has been organised in January with SGN, myself, officers and community representatives to take this forward.”

East Greenwich gasholder
A close-up view of the gasholder

Fletcher raised concerns that a few token remains would be left of the gasholder. (watch here)

“It was disappointing to hear from [SGN’s] head of demolition their timescales for demolition, and that they feel it can’t be disassembled and would be cut up, which I thought was disturbing,” he said.

“Can he give any more details on the discussions he’s had about retaining some of the structure? Are we talking about a substantial part of it? I got the impression they were talking about finding a few struts and putting them in the reception of a new building. That’s not in the spirit of what people are expecting.

“I think people are expecting there to be a visually recognisable representation of the gasholder.”

James responded by suggesting Fletcher speak to local historians who are lobbying to retain the structure: “I agree with you, we would like to see as much as possible with whatever come forward, but the easiest thing would be to speak to [former Peninsula ward councillor] Mary Mills or Peter Luck to have a seat at the table when the community representatives meet in January.”

The gasholder was one of a pair constructed for the old gas works. The other 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. Councillors reluctantly removed its designation as a place to store hazardous chemicals earlier this year after a tussle with their own planning officers.

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