Bell Green Gas Holders Demolition [Begun 7th January]



I haven’t noticed this. They appear to be in a good condition to me. Painted, not rusting (that I have seen), no bits falling off or hanging down. Which aspect do you feel is dangerous about their condition?


“Is redevelopment or rebuilding proposed at a later date - No”

I don’t believe that in the slightest.


No-one has published a detailed structural engineers report.

SGN will have had a mandated obligation to monitor the structure.

Their reports may have had a direct bearing on their decision to commence demolition so soon. Write and ask for a copy.

You are so right.


Writing and asking for a copy won’t actually answer the question I posed, but thanks for the suggestion.

I would also find it difficult to trust an SGN report, based on the fact that they have a clear interest in demolishing the structures and recently submitted a planning application which claimed the gasholders have little or no architectural value (or words to that effect).


Oh trust me it will.

This company as a public infrastructure organisation that must ensure that it conforms with its mandated obligations.

It is required to conduct detailed inspections in detail that might surprise you.

They may not be obliged to make public absolutely every detail - but they may have to explain any rationale for withholding data.


As I stated, the planning application made no effort to outline their place in the history of industrial architecture and the question I asked, which you are providing guidance on is not going to be answered by the guidance you have provided.


For the avoidance of doubt - this repeats my position.

If you elect not to ask - how are the maintenance position and costs to be calculated at say 5, 10, 20 years or more.

Who will foot the bill ? An increase in our poll tax ?


I’m very unclear on the process, and still learning via google. From reading this link, I’m assuming no permission is required as it is permitted development.

However, the article focuses on the use of an ‘article 4 direction’, which I presume would remove the automatic right to demolition and place the demolition back into the planning process.


As politely as I can - this has been debated when the council approved the “local listing”.

Council officers argued in their report that the council had no funds to prevent the demolition on a permitted development basis, nor did they want to set a precedent for other bodies to approach the council for compensation in similar circumstances where retention of redundant structures were being enforced by the council…

The respected committee rejected the argument as they were fully permitted to do and approved the local listing. As officers had stated the local listing has no material impact.

This outcome is the result. Unless Lewisham can belatedly make a financial offer to SGN that makes a commercial case for their retention - SGN will have to comply with their first business imperative - protect the primacy of the value of their assets for their share-holders.


Thus ends the discussion.

Kind regards.


From afar a nice lick paint (aging now) can make things look dandy. The cylinder sits in a bath of water, they are made from iron, and are getting on in age. Having sat around unused for some time now, I can say with some level of confidence, that they will be aging at an accelerated rate now.

Large, iron, unmaintained, old structures. I guess that is the bit I find dangerous.


Just featured in the News Shopper:


Seems the Gas holders have plenty of support from local groups including the Victorian Society, Sydenham Society, Forest Hill Society, and the Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society.

Plenty of pockets to ensure the maintenance and repairs and security of the site can be funded without recourse to any council/public funding. As previously stated I have no problem with them remaining as long as not a penny of my money is used to retain them.


Pretty much how I feel too.

That said, for all their “beauty” from the road, once you get into the approach for B&Q etc, and enter the car park, the view becomes quite hideous.
I assume from the plans that they wish to flatten the place, and wonder if that includes taking away the small depot they have there.

If nothing else, removing it all would be nice, surely.


It is not about preserving the gasholders for posterity. It is about finding a use for them post gas storage. Gasholders do hold a strange tug on many people for various reasons. They are huge metal structures that changed shape and context on a daily if not hourly basis for many years.

Not many buildings do that.

Gasholders are now mostly decommissioned, silent sleeping beasts. People are forgetting why they were even fond of them in the first place. They no longer rise and fall.

It would be ridiculous to expect the actual holder to be retained. (The bell that goes up and down) It’s purpose was solely to contain gas. The frames however could be re-purposed and effort put in to helping to recreate what it’s original function was but in a newer way.

I am not from the area but do find myself in the area regularly. Cheap housing is often suggested for these projects. Not sure why. Build expensive flats in them or offices, even car parks. Make them a focal point. Somewhere unique. That is why the King’s Cross gasholders are successful.


Become a face less, boring commuter car park for London’s City.

Once they’ve gone, their gone. Town planners never build anything interesting or good, because they are restricted by budgets.

This is an opportunity. Not just for the Bell Green holders, but Eastbourne, Beckton, North Greenwich and other areas blessed with this heritage.

Don’t demolish the gasholders!!!


Many old buildings and structures are saved for posterity in order to remind us and future generations of our social, political and economic history. For that reason I think there is a good reason to same our gas holders. Or at least a few of them. No reason to save them all.

I think the Victorian Society has hosted campaigns to save gas holders in the past so if there is a lead to retain the Bell Green ones then a call to them might be helpful. Though I think their focus has been on those considered of significant architectural interest and often of a large size. I’m not convinced that the Bell Green gas holders are architecturally significant other than as a local landmark.

I’m not emotionally or geographically invested in these gas holder so really don’t mind whether they stay or go.


I think the question is not whether they go or stay but who maintains them and at whose cost? The land they sit on is classed as contaminated and is unsuitable for housing unless significant remedial works are done.
Providing a new catering venue, retail store and additional parking will provide employment, increase council revenues and ease adjacent parking woes.
Set against something that most people under 50 wouldn’t recognise. I have previously suggested that if significant financial support can be obtained without recourse to tax payers then by all means let them stay, of course my feeling is once real money is demanded the enthusiasm will wane.


I think they are architecturally significant - they might not have been a few years ago, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that there were three other sets, in better condition, or maybe slightly older, and they’ve all gone, so now Bell Green is the only survivor, or something. I’ll have a look round for the link.

can’t find the link at the moment, maybe it’s in a thread on here, or, or on Sydenham Town Forum…

here’s a pic of when they had gas in them


And here’s one I took they other day. They’re very photogenic


Perhaps some of the supporters of the gas holders could start a crowd-funding post. That way they can preserve them by putting up the maintenance funds. On the basis if its unsuccessful the contributors get their money I will throw in a pound!