Bell Green Gas Holder Demolition 2019/2020
They are kinda cute. But a bit of a waste of space. Depends what they put in their place as to wether I support.
Looks like it’s finally over for the gas holders:
DC_18_107607-Decision_Notice-703390 (2).pdf (105.2 KB)
The demolition plans have taken a few more twists and turns, with concerns over decontamination measures and nesting bird season… with the council applying strict conditions:
DC_18_107607-Decision_Notice-703390 (2).pdf (105.2 KB)
The most recent letter is dated 14th Nov (yesterday):
DC_18_108589-Decision_Notice-741954.pdf (79.0 KB)
The Council’s Environmental Protection Officers comments are non sequitor and are observations, NOT new conditions.
The conditions referred to in the July approval that are pre-commencement conditions have now been fulfilled.
The demolition works can commence.
The reports will be prepared during the currency of the works and will be submitted to the authority at the appropriate time.
I think the current issue is that while they have the right to demolish the gasholders, a large amount of land they plan to develop is being reassessed as potentially legally protected curtilage. The satelite structures of a listed building, in this case, bowling green pavilion, sports ground and tennis courts, all have the same protection as their parent listed building.
We are waiting for Historic England to rule on the extent of the Hall’s curtilage. It’s all incredibly complex and technical, but HE decide on all cases. If half the available land is ruled out of contention, then the costs of dismantling and cleaning up after the gasholders become less appealing, and the plans would in any case need a complete revision.
My favoured use of the gasholders is for a new sports centre, which would allow the Bridge to be redeveloped for housing. One could have swimming pool in the basement / well area, other sports on the next level, and an open air track on a roof terrace. The other could have a multi-purpose hall for sports, events and music performances, with other halls above. Both structures could start below ground and rise halfway up the frame, so we would still get the tracery of the ironwork against the sky. Ah, I can dream…
Will they… won’t they … for years, and finally it’s happening. Kinda surreal
Thanks for sharing @AidenH - I notice that brilliant photo is by @anon81602171je (James, are you okay with Aiden sharing it here?).
End of an era for those gas holders!
Rumbled!! My bad @anon81602171je I didn’t see the watermark when I grabbed the photo from the web. Apologies. If you don’t want me to use it I will edit it out.
How do people feel about the demolition?
Has there been any emergent evidence of progress or even any acknowledgement by HE that this is an issue that is being considered by them ?
Most if not all of the events at the last months have been large scale funerals or weddings. They can happen as frequently as three to four times per week.
Part of the normal cycle of events and business for this social club.
The parking issues you describe were planned to be alleviated by the provision of parking spaces to the rear of the Livesey Hall - all temporarily dismissed by the rejection of the planning application. We await the restitution of these benefits as part of a potentially successful Inquiry by the Planning Inspectorate in 2019.
Statement from Lewisham Council:
Hat tip to @Michael for spotting this page.
“masterplan for the site” ??? Well the whole of Bell Green currently looks as if it has been cobbled together by a committee charactertised by poor taste, indifference to local needs (especially pedestrians and those who like to breathe easily) and few resources- are we being led to expect something better? Why? Will different people be taking the decisions?
From today’s NewsShopper article it looks like people have ideas but there’s no coherent strategy as far as I can see:
I very much appreciate that people have different opinions and ideas but from my experience a fair amount of those coming from the Sydenham Society require more thought, strategy and reasoning especially with regards to possible funding for these ideas. I’m not suggesting they aren’t wonderful ideas but it requires a lot of co-ordination, agreements and some funding to do something as seemingly simple as a mural on the railside wall - which was previously raised as a possible project for them (separate to my attempted mural) and raised again during my foray with National Rail essentially saying it would be very unlikely due to ttoo much effort/co-ordination and inconvenience to commuters (closing of the rail!). If that’s anything to go by it would seem that other possible good ideas like suggesting to move a train station isn’t backed up by much strategy/plans/realistic views.
Again, just to emphasise not having a go at the society and their work, just making a comment on some of the “ideas“ they have which appear to not only appear lacking in strategic thought/planning but also give some semblance of reasoning behind their stances on certain local issues
[mod note: this post was moved from Memorial to the Bell Green Gas Holders]
Fine technical pictures @anon81602171je.
Here is a sample from the northern side of the site - and these reflect Lewisham planners’ stated views that the gas-holders and the site on which they are located are a blight on the Livesey Hall.
There are many more with these characteristics. Just to retain some balance in the view.
Kier’s planning application for the whole site’s redevelopment has been rejected by Lewisham’s Planning Committee C.
However Kier have appealed it and it remains subject of a Planning Inspectorate Inquiry which as of today its Status is still marked as “in Progress” on the Inspectorate’s website.
Lewisham have expressed the wish that the Appeal be withdrawn but there has been no corroborating comment to that effect from SGN or Kier.as of today’s date.
The council may not have their act together, but I do. Email to me from SGN “…we are only dismantling the holders and will be selling the land to a third party. The third party will put together and submit their own plans for the site and any future development, …”
I’d say the case for redevelopment is an urgent one, given what’s happening to that site. Thanks @anon6jg and @JRW for sharing photos.
In Honor Oak, there was a spate of illegal domestic fly-tipping on brownfield land next to HOP station. This then evolved into illegal commercial fly tipping. After this problem went unchecked for months, the land became badly damaged (subsidence and contamination), making it much harder to improve.
Do you mean the one at this link ?
This has been commented on elsewhere:
A portion of the web-site commentary at the same link says this:
"SGN are open to retaining part of the structure on site to acknowledge the heritage of the gasholders. We are very supportive retaining part of the structure and has begun a dialogue with SGN as to the feasibility of this.
Lewisham Council consider the bowling green and tennis courts to form part of the curtilage to Livesey Hall, a Grade II listed building. However, there would not be any basis for us, as local planning authority, to require that SGN to delay demolition of the gasholders until it has a planning permission for development of the wider site. This is a decision for the landholder. We are expecting SGN to withdraw its planning appeal relating to the application refused by the Council in November 2017 for a retail store (Aldi) and SGN offices to be developed on the site of the gasholders and bowling green. This is because permission has recently been granted for the change of use of the former ‘Toys R Us’ unit at Bell Green to a food retail store for Aldi. The withdrawal of the appeal removes the current risk of redevelopment of the bowling green and provides an opportunity for us and SGN to work together on a masterplan for the site.
We are fully aware of the concerns of residents about the future of the gasholders at Bell Green, and look forward to working with the community to secure the future of the site. This is particularly in the context of the need to deliver much-needed affordable housing for local people, along with the new draft Local Plan, which will be going to public consultation early this year.
The work that SGN is set to start this week (7 January 2019) is for site set-up and other preparatory works, with actual dismantling of the gasholders not due to start for a few months."
This refers to a compromise proposal I posted on both se23.life and on STF regarding the retention of some part of the gas-holders.
I suspect the reference by the Council to having “begun dialogue” is as representative of the type of wishful thinking for the future as is “actual dismantling of the gasholders not due to start for a few months.”
The work on site commenced on Monday 7 January - i visited the site and can confirm that Keltbray are on site.
If the compromise proposal is to succeed LBL will have to move more rapidly than they have apparently done so far. Keltbray will have to modify their proposals substantially if a portion of a gas holder is to be dismantled in such a way as to enable its re-erection and preservation. SGN certainly expressed willingness to consider elements contained in the compromise but there is no hard evidence of how and when this is to be discussed and agreed.
It is noteworthy that LBL quote no source from SGN or the developers who verify LBL’s anticipation that the planning appeal will be withdrawn.
Perhaps LBL’s statement is nothing more than political smoke and mirrors.
There is still no corroborating statement from SGN or Kier.
And in the application under appeal, it is probably the case that Kier has or will complete a sale on the land and will effectively be buying it from SGN
And if Kier’s application fails - let the next developer emerge - perhaps a housing developer !.
I strongly disagree. This is a deliberate tactic used by GGN and Kier to pile on the pressure. Lewisham is able to oblige them to maintain the site adequately under the public/private nuisance laws. In fact, their lack of maintenance of verges on the entire Bell Green site should be jumped on. They have duties as well as rights, if only Lewisham could locate a spine…
Thank you JGD for restating your commentary. The email I quoted is from this week, so is far more current than the other. Will you please take it from me that there is no plan on the table? I very much hope the planning inquiry proceeds though, as it will allow the developers’ paperwork to be under scrutiny.
Thank you @jrw, I think that LBL’s and the Mayor’s comments share the same root and timeframe.
And of course I have provided an update on the Inspectorate’s status from today - so my commentary is hot off the press.
Still not sure I understand what you mean by “there is no plan on the table”. Trust me the Inspectorate has a very large table and the Inquiry re the rejected application is still firmly on it.
Furthermore Lewisham has had to decide to accept Counsel’s advice that it can only make representation for its case at the Inquiry for two out of the four reasons for the original rejection. The other two cannot be substantiated by the council.
It really strikes me that these joint comments are based on what the council would wish the position to be rather than the actual position that exists.
Nice write-up in eastlondonlines including mentions of the dot life forums:
I think this is sad but true. If Heritage England won’t list the gas holders on the basis that they’re not special/unique enough, then who would shell out to preserve them and why?
As I said before, my email is from SGN itself, not from the council. Email to me from SGN “…we are only dismantling the holders and will be selling the land to a third party. The third party will put together and submit their own plans for the site and any future development, …”
As I was saying…
Lewisham planning 18 Jan 2019
"Today we received confirmation from Kier’s agent that the appeal against the Council’s refusal of planning permission for an Aldi store and SGN offices on the site of the gasholders at Bell Green has been withdrawn.
We understand that works will instead proceed to implement the recent permission enabling Aldi to occupy the former Toys R Us unit in the retail park."
This information is confirmed on The Planning Inspectorate website where the status has been amended today to “Complete: Appeal Withdrawn”
As predicted by LB Lewisham’s Mayor.
That means there is now no current development proposal for the site.
It is to be wondered how long it will take LBL to develop a housing development proposal given that ward councillors have been postulating that this is what was required for the site.
Is the Lewisham Planning statement complete ? Does it refer to the status of the demolition ?
A relief to see the beginnings of a new plan for Bell Green Gas Holders. Will @SydenhamSociety share notes from this meeting?
What is Kier’s plan for the site? Supermarket? Retail?
Demolition. They then intend to sell it on, for someone to do the planning process themselves.
This is from their email to me, so from the horse’s mouth. Absolutely no guarantee that it won’t be derelict and an eyesore for years, until the market is more favourable.
Following Kier’s withdrawal of its Planning Appeal, there is no evidence in the public domain about what Kier’s intentions are. They may of course withdraw from future development of the site and not make any proposal.
There appears to be an emergent position that despite demolition work having commenced on site, that Lewisham believe there is sufficient time in Keltbray’s programme for the council to make a belated attempt to reach a compromise with SGN and prevent demolition. The Mayor has said so and advises he is in communication with SGN on that matter.
Ward Cllr’s have been promulgating a view that it is essential that the site be used for affordable housing. But no-one from within the authority or its housing managers have brought forward any statement or plans for that type of project.
In itself this is significant as the public consultation for the previous development commenced approx two years ago including a year long period of close co-operation with Lewisham planners to produce the previous scheme which planners recommended be approved. At no point during that phase did Cllr’s make public comment about this scheme not being acceptable or that its focus should be housing.
It will be hard to predict at what point a potential housing developer might be engaged in such a scheme and thereby bring meaningful funding to the table. And any such potential candidate will fairly quickly be able to clarify whether Discourse’s published excitement about re-imagining of the gas-holders is feasible and most importantly affordable.
It would appear that substantial work is happening onsite this week, but I must report that as yet no work on demolishing the actual ribs is evident.
JGD. Are you suggesting I am lying about having a letter from SGN? I put it into the public domain nine days ago on this site, and have copied it below.
Other people have things to contribute to the discussion, so please do take the opportunity to think about everybody’s comments.
Email to me from SGN “…we are only dismantling the holders and will be selling the land to a third party. The third party will put together and submit their own plans for the site and any future development, …”
I am not sure what you mean - at any level.
My comments complement what you said and do not even contradict a single point - never mind accuse you of lying.
The situation with the Mayor’s intervention is significant. The Mayor has not issued a statement saying that he has not succeeded.
Let’s keep things friendly please. I think some of the above replies are to old posts, and this is causing confusion. Please use the quote feature where possible as this helps clarify (to use this feature, select text from a previous post and you’ll see a Quote button pop up)
Getting back on track, here is today’s open letter from @SydenhamSociety and Discourse Architecture, written to SGN, requesting that demolition is stopped immediately:
For everyones information:
The building currently occupied by Sport Direct was originally intended for McDonald’s hence the curve was part of the drive through plan.
The buildings designs are absolutely intended to echo the shape of the gasholders, which makes the demolition even more baffling.
So what’s happening regarding this, now, anyone know? The gasholders are still up (or were last weekend, at least) I do feel a little embarrassed posting on FB about their imminent demolition on the back of the original post in January, especially as I was met with disbelief. Not that I am complaining that they have not gone…!
Unsure who created this blog, but very impressed:
Can only assume someone from or associated with the Sydenham Society secondary to their email/twitter being attached to the “contact” page.
Sums the situation at Bell Green very neatly. The sooner the local community can feed into a Masterplan for the future of this area the better.
5 posts were split to a new topic: Travis Perkins on former Bell Green Gasholders site