Bell Green Gas Holders Demolition [Begun 7th January]



A: At who’s expense.

The owner and developer and then who ever buys in. In the sense of : The owner of the land who wants a house built and then the person who buys the house. That kind of thing.

(Got to get away from its gasholder and must go thing)

B: They could be repurposed for what?

I have already suggested why and how in my opinion. It seems that the land is only to be re-repurposed for a supermarket and car park based on SGN and previous developers suggestions.

C: Battersea Power Station

Ok, I get your point, but don’t underestimate the area that you live. I think that Lewisham and the surrounding area has a lot to offer, it just happens not to be in the heart of London. But not that far.
It was not so long ago that Battersea was not such a desirable part of London as it is now.

There a plenty of rail stations and transport opportunity’s in this area. These are the things that drive the economy that drives development.

There are plenty of people that want something different, buying a apartment in a redundant gasholder frame would be a ridiculous place to want to live - wouldn’t it? But people do. It would be down to the developer to be creative and strike appeal to potential clients. I would buy one.

Building the apartments would not be any more difficult than building any other medium high rise building I’d have thought. I’d need to ask a builder. Probably just use a tower crane and drop things down on top.

I will point out that even I think the actual gasholder or bell is totally redundant and should be removed. That is not a difficult task. Conserve anything on it that could be reused, yes like the guide rollers. It is the frame I advocate keeping.


Fair play, and thanks for the replies. Apologies if I caused any offence with my questions.

I agree Lewisham is not a bad place to live at all, been here all my life.

My point with Battersea was that apartments are selling at upwards of 6 mill, about 10 times the price of what I would expect the most expensive unit to sell for in Bell Green

I love the idea of such a unique looking building, and would love to see it. Here’s to hoping I have things totally wrong.

The removal of the actual bell would indeed make the site more accessible, I just wonder what lurks beneath.

One way or another, whatever happens, I sincerely hope a good nod to the sites heritage remains or is put in place.


Whilst I appreciate the sentiments the gas holders need a huge amount of work, coupled with the build costs makes the project unworkable. Note the Kings Cross apartments sell for more than £600k for a 1 bed, Sydenham could not demand that pricing.
Whilst there is a lot of emotion and blue sky thinking I still await a practical sustainable solution and this has not been forthcoming.


Aside from the perceived loss of revenue to SGN from making the land saleable (and I’m not sure when everyone started worrying about energy company profits instead of referring to them as fat cats btw), there doesn’t strike me to be a great deal of cost to be borne by SGN to keep the holders as they are. Particularly as they still use the site, so security etc… should already be covered (ie keeping the fence up to standard blah blah). I’m aware they have lots of holders to remove, but it’s worth bearing in mind that many of them will simply be tanks with no frames or purely functional frames, that were a more recent development.

Which leaves us with the real cost of maintenance to stop the holders rusting to pieces. I can’t find the specific document, but I thought I read that they paint them every seven years. Would be useful to know the costs. Should also be noted that they are cutting these overall costs, because they have a program of demolition which aims to get rid of 50% of them, but it’s not clear why these older examples should be in that number, aside from the approved development on the rest of the site).

So, with no idea how much maintenance costs, I am suggesting that the areas around the Livesey Hall are repurposed so that they become available for hire by the community. There were tennis courts there and there is a bowling green. I daresay the bowling green may be hard to make revenue from, but the area could potentially be used for other sports or activities or social functions.

The profits from these could be directed towards the upkeep of the gas holders and the Livesey Hall and memorial.

Perhaps the council could chip in towards things too, if there is a budget for creating community social/ leisure facilities on the site?

Just an idea and I daresay people will be able to raise all sorts of potential financial problems, but it would leave the gas holders there for the future, create facilities for locals and reduce or remove financial liability for SGN and taxpayers. The site overall is already extremely developed, with the green space that was there during the gasworks time (judging by old photos and maps in the various application documents) now built on. So I’m not sure why the remaining inches need to be taken over too. At least the dilapidated bowling green offers some green space, although I would suggest most people don’t even know it exists.

In an ideal world, SGN would remove the tanks and leave the frames, allowing that area to be opened up too, ideally as a park/ playground, but this would depend on contamination levels I suppose.

Whatever happens, it would be nice to see improved play facilities for children within the local area, as the playground near the river is quite sparse. Even if that was improved a bit.



I have copies of the original agreements and I can see collective line allocations for sums in excess of £2.08m.

I cannot see the modification you refer to however - could you please provide a pointer if this appeared in a later amendment. It has not been an easy to follow matter.

The authority was still reporting the money as being unexpended circa 2014 in a round-up exercise of s106 monies (spent and un-spent ) across the borough.

This point was raised at a recent ward meeting and a ward councillor has promised feedback.


Sydenham Society have spotted peregrine falcons on the gas holders. Bad news for starlings in the car park, good news for gas holders - possibly.


I hope this is true - would love to see some Peregrine Falcons!

Link to article on 2015 Lewisham Nest Peregrine Falcons - could it be their offspring?


I spotted the Forest Hill walrus on the gas holders bad news for the falcons


Just need some pipistrel bats and a few crested newts in the water and the holders will be preserved? Or maybe chain a few protesters (or moped riders) to the iron work.


I found it here:


I was there this evening and definitely saw a bird building a nest. Think it was a blackbird. I have pictures of the nest, but not the bird sticking the twig in it.


Thank you James.


London’s peregrine falcons eat pigeons, starlings, black-headed gulls and most other migrating birds, which can often be found following the river Thames.

They’ll bully and eat bigger birds too, including buzzards and crows.

They are also partial picnicking on London’s more recent avian arrival: parakeets.

Bit of a paradox here - parakeets or phantom falcons.


But anyway, that blackbird building a nest would appear to trigger the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which states that it’s a criminal offence to disturb a nest of any wild bird while being constructed (or in use).

This is confirmed by the Ecology Report submitted with the notice to demolish, which states:

"Based on the survey results and information available, it should be relatively straight forward to
manage potential ecological constraints through the selection of appropriate working methods. It is
recommended that:
demolition and vegetation clearance is timed to avoid the nesting bird season (i.e. clearance
occurs October to February inclusive) or completed following confirmation that no nests are
present; "

So basically not April when birds have started building.


Plus there are exceptions if the resultant destroying of a nest occurs whilst carrying out a lawful action (such as a permitted demolition).
Or what nest? None here!


I can’t see what exceptions apply in this situation.


There is nothing like healthy debate to get the blood pumping. No offence taken.


Phew, thanks for seeing it in the light in which it was intended.
Indeed it is good to thrash things out a bit to understand each others perspectives on such an emotive matter. :slight_smile:


I am staying away from this thread but amazed how much power some participants have attempting to save the pile of scrap metal. Lewisham Council is planning to destroy our local green space with old trees and protective species living on it, which also local residents and neighbours use. If the Council makes a decision to keep the gas holder because of the birds or thier historic significance, somebody from the Council will be taken to court personally if they go ahead with the buildings on our estate.( It is not a joke, our neighbours already have a lawyer in mind for this purposes.) I honestly can not believe my eyes what I am reading in this thread.


No, you’re not.

One of the suggestions (perhaps not wholly serious) made at the SydSoc AGM yesterday evening was that on the day of the proposed demolition we should form a human chain round the gasholders to stop the bulldozers or whatever moving in.