Bell Green Gas Holder Demolition 2019


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

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:information_source: [mod note: this post was moved from Memorial to the Bell Green Gas Holders]

Fine technical pictures @JamesEvans.

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.

Memorial to the Bell Green Gas Holders

Quite. The state of the site is disgraceful, and this is because the site owners keep it that way. SGN have no current plans to redevelop the gasholders land, so losing them means more long term dereliction and flytipping. Lovely.

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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Lewisham have expressed the wish that the Appeal be withdrawn but there has been no corroborating comment to that effect from SGN or of today’s date.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 @jgdoherty 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 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…

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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 ?

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A new proposal for Bell Green

Demolition works at Bell Green Gas Holder by Archoptical, on Flickr


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?