Bell Green Gas Holders Demolition [Begun 7th January]



Some people have a strange view on ‘Character’ I wonder how they would react if those supporters were asked to pay extra council tax or fundraise to maintain the gas holders? …is that a rush to the exit!


Can see a great job creation opportunity here.

One team to train the birds to roost there.

A second team to clean off the guano build-up.


I don’t really see what it strange about it. We all have differing opinions on these sort of thing do we not? Personally I really like industrial landscapes, power stations and the like and I find the gas holders beautiful and I would prefer they stay or be incorporated into a local plan but I think we have had this discussion previously.
Slightly insulting to make the suggestion that if asked to fundraise everyone who supports them staying would run for the hills. Many people on here have raised money for diverse causes - murals, bake-houses, library and Leaf and Groove. Maybe the gas holders wouldn’t be quite as vibrant a cause - who knows. However I find the lack of imagination regarding the whole site to be a little depressing especially this idea that if you have to dip into your own pockets for anything you support but I fear that is another debate for another day.


I am surprised you find my view insulting, i would suggest in the case of the gas holders I am 100% accurate.It would be interesting to put it to the test.qq
I have in the past held events for the village church, chaired a fundraiser for the school swimming pool and changing facilities, computers including laptops for disabled students, meals for the elderly.
However, given a choice of an Aldi, restaurant or housing or two rusting structures then I would volunteer to man the bulldozers.


What @Wynell said.

And what @Foresthillnick said.

How do you link the two statements with the phrase “Slightly insulting…”.

No evidence of insult and @Wynell asks a very valid question.

Requires some reconsideration methinks.


In terms of who got their dibs in first - you may only be at position three in the queue.


I would like the gasholders to stay. This is because I think they are important, architecturally speaking and because they form the backdrop of the listed Livesey Hall, which is inextricably linked to the gasworks.

I also believe that there is not really any community asset on the site, so a park and playground should be added.

If they cannot be saved, I would like to see an element of them retained or returned, perhaps so there is still some part of the holders behind the Livesey Hall, or even if they formed a gateway into the site. At the very least, their incorporation into an artwork on site, that preserved some elements of the structural element would be appreciated.

I realise that many find them to be an ‘eyesore’, but if you look closely, you will see there is more to them than just a steel structure.

I found this document, which hints at their significance:

“3.24 The loss of the 1876 gasholder at Hove means that the earliest survivors with tee-section lattice guide frame standards are Kennington No. 1, Poplar No. 1 (1876-78;
Harry Jones), and Sydenham No. 7 (1882; Charles Gandon). According to Tower Hamlets historian Tom Ridge, Poplar No. 1 is the most significant gasholder of its type: ‘The lattice guide frame of the No. 1 gasholder at Poplar is therefore not only the earliest surviving example of its type in the country, it is also the country’s only surviving example with curved and tapering box-lattice girders’. and ‘The No. 1 gasholder at Kennington, near the Oval, was completed a year later in 1879 but its standards were subsequently raised’.13”

I am not an expert in industrial architecture, however it would appear that Poplar has at least been partially dismantled and was not listed due to a lack of support from the council at the time. So it’s lost. The Oval appears to have been modified later, although it was listed, and is now the subject of plans to build housing within the structure. The oldest surviving, intact, original example appears to be here at Bell Green.

Whatever happens I feel that time should be given to investigate these issues and perhaps reassess listing efforts (which have failed to date as I understand), because the risk is that something important could be lost forever.


Not at all.
What we have here is a difference of opinion. It is quite a common occurrence and nothing to get excited about.
Some people like parks and are happy that they are paid for out of communal funds. Some people like old buildings. I like gas holders.
And yes I find it slightly (note only slightly) insulting that us “strange” types are somehow lacking in either resources or the will to raise them but it isn’t going to ruin my day.
I also have the sense to realise that not everyone shares my opinion and that it is likely to be prohibitively expensive to save them. So while I am not in a rush to demolish landmarks of our industrial heritage like some I will be sad to see them go.
Seeing the gas holders from the hills of Forest Hill and Honor Oak fills me with joy and I am sorry that other people don’t share that but each to their own. If bulldozing things is your bag then great, I am sure you will be of to raise the funds to rent one. :grinning:


For clarity.

I saw nothing insulting (even slightly) and I do not consider you strange - even slightly.

Not in the remotest.

This issue was my opening post on this forum. My view and that of my BH were fairly neutral about the old gasometers. It changed upon realising that there was a body of people intent upon ramming the retention of them down our throats and halting the delivery of improved traffic flows and parking easement.

But then I would not dare to presume you partook in any such action.

I believe firmly that people must have their right to express their view.


Out of interest, how is it that further development (either houses or shops) will improve traffic flows?

As for “parking easement,” do you find parking difficult in Bell Green as it stands?

By the way, neither @Foresthillnick nor anyone else has been “ramming” anything down anyone’s throats about Bell Green so let’s calm the emotive language and stick to the facts of the matter.


I don’t think that is fair. The ‘improved traffic flows’ were based on limiting the negative impacts of higher numbers of vehicle movements. The overall traffic situation would have got worse had permission been given for another out-of-town A1 retail unit next to the existing store. The traffic scheme would only have made it less worse than it would otherwise had been, but the assessment by the developer was that traffic and congestion would still be worse than today.

There are other uses of the site that would not result in such high levels of traffic and congestion but I would support immediate action to improve traffic flow in the Bell Green area today - without waiting for more development. The worst part is the narrow bridge on Southend Lane which was always meant to be widened but was too expensive to be supported by each separate phase of Bell Green development (rather than considering the problem as a whole).


In short - the Kier development had a Lewisham endorsed SCOOT proposal that was advertised to improve traffic flow through the area.

Not sure where the required funding will come from now that the developer has had their proposal rejected.

Lewisham council also secured circa £1.85m for Southend Lane Bridge widening works as s106 monies in the original agreements for the Savacentre development.

Recent enquiries as to when and how this funding is to be applied to that specific works await an answer.


Do you understand how SCOOT works - you make no reference to it ?

For my part I believed it was an efficacious proposal as it had Lewisham’s endorsement - but I do not have any technical details.


I see no accusation of this activity on @Foresthillnick’s part and indeed stated that there was none.

Livesey Hall has a substantial portion of funerary business on a regular basis during its daytime business. On those occasions several hundreds of patrons can and do attend the Hall.

The streets and side streets that run back up Perry Hill from the Perry Hill/ Perry Rise traffic lights are flooded with the parked cars. This reduces available parking for residents to virtually zero and makes picking up and setting down very difficult during those periods because of this influx of patron’s cars.


Regardless of opinions of the gas holders, it would appear they are in poor / dangerous condition, and there is no funding from anywhere to repair or maintain them.
I have spent my whole life seeing them, as a child with fascination and excitement as to if they were up or down. Later in life when the old depot and cottages were demolished to make way for Sava, it was great to see them remain.
Of course, they were functioning then.

Now they are aging relics in the middle of a town, and at the centre of the dilemma of what happens next.

Removal of them is the best thing for them in my opinion, so then at least the debate and discussion about what happens next with the land, can move on and be productive.

I totally get the sentiment involved here, but sometimes you just got to let things go. Especially when there is no money to save and maintain them.


Just about, although I’m not an expert in traffic management, I can only go by what was in the report:

6.98 A SCOOT system would not eliminate congestion attributed to the proposed use, but it would serve to have benefits toward the busy junctions around the site, whilst reducing the prospect of ‘rat-runs’ to residential streets. The SCOOT system would be installed to link the signals on the Bell Green gyratory, and would optimise the traffic signals by constantly adjusting the signal timings to minimise the modelled queuing/ delays.

6.95 Traffic modelling undertaken as part of the submitted Transport Assessment indicates that the ‘2016 Observed + Development’ Saturday peak hour shows an increase in queueing on Perry Hill of 53 vehicles compared with 28 in the ‘2016 Observed’ case, the increase in queueing is significantly lessened with the proposed mitigation in place.

So the SCOOT system would not eliminate congestion attributed to the proposed use (Aldi). In other words there would be more traffic but the SCOOT system would mitigate some of the issues. Rather than the existing 28 car queue, the queue would be more than 28 but significantly less than 53.

I believe it is wrong to categorise this as ‘improved traffic flows’.


If development is allowed perhaps some allocated parking for Livesey hall could be included?
I have yet to find the car park full even Ssinsburys is busy at times but never without spaces


Sorry - I should have been clearer.

The Kier proposal had made provision for dedicated parking for Hall patrons. Now lost for meantime.

Not enough - but the working assumption is that once patrons get to know it exists and can also enter from the rear of the Hall - they will use the more conveniently accessible parking slots.


It has been pointed out to me that this is not actually a planning application. It is “Prior notification of the demolition of the two existing gasholders and ancillary buildings at Bell Green”
There is no requirement for any decision to be made and it is extremely unlikely that anything will save the gas holders - they are history!



I must congratulate you in your transparency and promptness in making this statement contrary to your OP.

However in your defence, your “mea culpa” may be premature. I for one did not see the difference .in the form of application.

There were significant departures from standard procedures that resulted in this local listing being granted. Those actors who led in the matter will not see this as the end.

I fully recognise that FOHSoc played no part in this.