Archived on 6/5/2022

Bell Green Development - Rejected
23 Nov '17

Continuing the discussion from Bell Green gasholders - Proposed retail development:

The result (shared by @Michael on

24 Nov '17

Postby Pat Trembath » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:27 am
Reasons given were (my words - we will have to wait till the refusal letter is sent out):

  1. Diminution of an important Heritage Asset site which contains 3 Grade 2 listed ‘buildings’ (Livesey Hall, the War Memorial and the brick wall fronting Perry Hill), if the gasholders were demolished to be replaced by a supermarket.

  2. Disregard of Lewisham’s own Core Strategy if further retail of the size planned was to be built on this site.

  3. increased traffic. It was acknowledged that there had been a considerable increase of traffic in the area since the previous 2011 permission was granted and subsequently built. This has resulted in rat runs. Further retail will exacerbate this especially as nowadays satnavs assist in finding these rat runs.

  4. Air Quality.

24 Nov '17

@pattrembath I think air quality is really the important one here. Bell Green is near a school and its just not fair on children to build so much around them. London has so little space as it is.

24 Nov '17

Aside from the factors mentioned by @pattrembath, all of which are important, an Aldi supermarket is probably not what local people wanted in Bell Green (lots of us would rather have a premium supermarket instead, and more would prefer it used for transport if possible):

[ poll]

24 Nov '17

I have elected to join this august forum - to ensure that the realities of what this rejection means to those who are impacted directly by it.

These are copies of commentaries on SE23,life

"Interesting position Robin.

The majority of residents affected by this decision and subsequent outcomes are based in neither SE23 nor Sydenham.

Get your tanks off our lawn - the majority of us who are impacted by this decision are Bellingham ward residents. Both proximity and boundary wise this development on this site has more bearing on our ward than any other putative interest.

Both Forest Hill and Sydenham residents have nothing like the degree of impact that is relevant compared with our Bellingham Ward residents and their proximity to this proposal.

I would invite both Sydenham Society and Forest Hill Society to comment here on why they feel they are “best fit” to comment on potential impact on areas where they have minimal representation. Neither can claim any significant membership or notional representation in Bellingham ward."

24 Nov '17

From 3 November:

"Very helpful link Michael.

So there we have it. Nothing to worry about - procedures have been observed and decisions made albeit with one dissenting voice at least.

As a (near) neighbour I can confirm that I did not receive any notification from the authority about this local listing issue. We habitually receive planning notices about Bell Green. I would ask if anyone on here did receive such notification.

A rushed decision initiated by a local councillor (see extract of letter to Agent dated 18 October)

"The consideration to include this the Bell Green Gasholders (No.7 & No.8) within the
Council’s local list has arisen at this late stage as a result of the recent local list
nomination from a local councillor during the consultation period of the application
(on 29.09.2017), as well as a large amount of public interest in the architectural and
historic importance of the Bell Green Gasholders (No.7 & No.8) to the Borough of
Lewisham. This forms part of the Councils statutory duty to consider this in line with
our local and national planning policies.
As this nomination was made at such a late stage (on 29.09.2017) and the current
planning application is due to be reported to one of the Council’s planning
committees on 14.11.2017, the Council have had to consider this proposed local
listing under Urgency Procedures, and therefore we have not gone through our
standard consultation process by notifying neighbours, local amenity groups, national
amenity groups and owners. "

The minutes of the Cabinet Meeting on 25 October contain this:

“Annabelle McLaren of the Sydenham Society addressed the Cabinet and said
a petition to save the gasholders had attracted 650 signatures. She outlined
the historical and architectural significance of the gasholders and urged that
they be listed. She was supported by Councillor Chris Best …”.

We should be grateful this decision has no statutory bearing.

One question tickles at the back of my mind - how many of the 650 signatories to the petition are current residents of the Bellingham ward - I think we should be told."

24 Nov '17

An extract from Lewishams’s officers in which they say the existing desolate site is detrimental to the historic setting

"@Michael - three points:

3.5 Ten dedicated parking bays for Livesey Hall would be provided to the western side of the
Aldi store. A new garden area would also be formed for Livesey Hall directly to the south
of the Hall.

I recall there being twenty plus spaces allocated in the proposal at the consultation phase. This reduction is significant.

4.11 The Forest Hill Society object to the proposal on grounds including historic context; traffic management; and impact on local high streets.

So FHS did object on historic context grounds.

6.28 The current condition of the application site is neither welcoming or conducive to the public use of the already developed areas of the gasworks site. The site is desolate, characterised by a scaffolding yard; a hardstand area for motorcycle training; an overgrown bowling green that has been unused for many years, unsightly galvanised steel fencing around the gasholders; and overgrown hardstand areas for which their only function is to provide access for SGN workers. It may therefore be argued that the site itself is detrimental to the eastern setting of Livesey Hall, and that the redevelopment as proposed would provide an opportunity to enhance the appearance of the site, and its relationship with Livesey Hall as a listed building.

A more precise and realistic definition of the detrimental impact on the historic setting."