Bell Green Gas Holders Demolition [Begun 7th January]



No. I’m happy to leave it to Sydenham residents to decide which forum to use. If they want to join the conversation on either of the Sydenham forums they are most welcome, if they want to join one of the Forest Hill forums they are most welcome.
But people in Forest Hill should be allowed to discuss local issues on their Forest Hill forum rather than having to choose which Sydenham forum to join.

Please don’t drag us all into your little Sydenham forum battle. Just let us have a forum in Forest Hill where we are allowed to discuss the topics of interest to us.


I understand your points and your frustration. I’m not interested in internecine warfare between web-based forums but I am interested in preventing the migration of all local conversation onto Facebook, with its closed-web platform and limited featureset.

I believe the benefits to SE26 residents in having their own “dot life” forum will outweigh the burden of some members spending 15 seconds to sign up there.

My long term strategy is based on the idea that a single postcode zone is an optimum size for an online community.

If were to grow its reach too far geographically, it might get unwieldy and impersonal (like East Dulwich Forum), or it might dilute its identity and die (like South East Central).

Very occasionally, I will put my foot down and take a big decision like this, knowing that it will disappoint some people. I only do so because I believe the longer-term aim is totally worth it.


The gas holders are just outside the border of SE23 and many people living in SE23 will be affected by what happens to the site. I have no problem with you encouraging conversation on but closing down the conversation here doesn’t seem right.


I hear you both. Let’s put this to the wider vote:

  • I accept this topic being closed, bearing in mind the case for helping grow
  • I want this topic opened because it’s inappropriate to restrict conversation here
  • No strong opinion either way

0 voters


Okay, misjudgement on my part. I’ll re-open the topic.

opened #167


It sounds like Lewisham council want to see a decent level of decontamination of the site before it is use for anything else.

Is the current plan still to do nothing with the site after demolition? It would seem a shame if this site, that is no longer wanted for a supermarket, cannot be used for housing. This is exactly the sort of brownfield site that needs developing for housing, rather than every piece of garden space that can be developed.

And if there isn’t a development plan at present would it really be so awful to leave the gas holders in place? I don’t mind seeing them removed if there is something better to replace them, but in the absence of an alternative proposal wouldn’t it make sense to leave them alone for a bit longer?


Comment seems a little premature. Has the small matter of the Planning Inspector’s review been set aside ?

It is common knowledge that Aldi has elected to move into the empty Toys-R-Us unit but I do not believe the developers have removed their proposal subject to the Planning Inspector’s deliberations.

The gas holders time has come - let them be demolished at the earliest opportunity. The authority can decided what levels of remediation are required as and when whatever development type is finally approved.


They have no potential tenant for the large A1 grocery warehouse they are appealing for and the potential outcome of the planning application for the Toys-R-Us unit makes granting permission to a third large A1 grocery retailer on the site seem even more unreasonable.

All the arguments against a second A1 grocery warehouse apply doubly-so to the third. Do you really want to see Aldi and Sainsbury and Lidl/Waitrose all on the Bell Green site?


We can agree to disagree Michael.

The developers still have a major occupant in SGN with approx 180 jobs associated with their move in the proposed new offices.

Your point on an A1 retailer is understood, but the classification of use can be altered too.

There is no increase in overall space (from the original application) and the council has identified that the space issue is one matter that they have received counsel’s advice that they should not defend this point - ie they were wrong in making that decision for the original application. The council has endorsed that recommendation.

And it is all premature until we have reached the conclusion of the Inspector’s work.

Let the gas-holders come down.


It would be better if they were asking the inspector (or the council) to approve a use other than A1.
At this stage I would prefer to see some coordination between the three separate applications with two different decision making bodies, so that the combined impact can properly be considered in the deliberations.


Again, Michael, that position is premature.

The developers will wait until they have the Inspector’s decision. Why second guess the outcome ? Why narrow the available options to them ?

Their teams are probably working towards securing a potential occupant and if significant progress was being made, any necessary change would be applied for.

As it is, potential occupiers will not commit precipitously until the degree of certainty that it will be built, improves.


at least two of us on here live in Norfolk, and you yourself no longer live in SE23, or even London, how much wider will it get? Where do you draw the line on who can and can’t register and post here?!
I personally don’t like to use post codes as area identifiers - just because they don’t work.
I know the post code that I live in, but I’m unsure of the boundary of that post code area. I doubt whether most people could. Post code boundaries don’t follow ward boundaries, parish boundaries, or other sensible boundaries, they invariably cut across or through regions such that two people in one location, either side of a road might be in different post codes.
I’m registered on SE26 and SE23 life fora (and now my post code where I live is NR1)
Do you plan to expand? Can you set up an forum for me? or maybe

rhetorical questions, don’t bother to answer.
back on topic, I’m still interested in the gas holders!


@Jon_Robinson it’s two weeks later, and I thought we resolved the issue at the time?

Anyone can register here. No one is stopping them, least of all me.

I simply want Sydenham residents to have a forum of their own that’s as good as But anyway, this isn’t the right place to have that debate.


Chris, it isn’t a debate for here to please feel free to move this elsewhere but I think the model works well and you’ve done well to pioneer it.

What would be really cool is if I could be a member of and someone else could be a member of Normally we’d just carry on as normal but when there was a cross boundary topic it would appear in both and then we’d all interact.

In this example I suppose that would make it an topic.


Update from the Planning Inspectorate on Case Ref APP/C5690/W/18/3203617

Inquiry (time, date and venue) has been set: 10.00am on 26 to 29 March & 2 April 2019 in Lewisham Council Offices, Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, London SE6 4SW

Estimated number of sitting days is set at 5. … amp;CoID=0

Follow the document link and a pdf will be presented for download with the above information embedded in it.


Email from SGN:


A real shame imo. Just completed a loft extension and these structures are probably the only interesting things to see. Once they are replaced with wasteland, I’ll get a really good view of a huge orange sainsburys sign.

Ah well. At least we’ll have SGNs terrible photographs to remember them by. Looking forward to the ‘working close with the community thing’ (not noticed any interest from SGN so far like) and the idea that the land will provide a benefit to the community. Although suspect it will just be handed over to private corporations and will prove to be as beneficial to the community as running the Livesey Hall as a party/ nightclub venue.


This simply doesn’t make sense unless they mean that the ground is so toxic that when the area is sold to a developer, it will have to be cleaned up before being built over. Even then, it would be a removal of a detriment not a “benefit”, per se.


I thought that was a bit of a surprising line given that there is still plans for a planning appeal to allow them to build a large A1 grocery store on the site.

I checked back with the person from SGN who sent the email, who responded:

While we are keen for the land to be regenerated to provide a future benefit for the community, we are only dismantling the holders and will be selling the land to a developer. These developers will put together and submit their own plans for the site and any future development, and we do encourage them to consult with the community to take the real needs for the area into account.

In other words that line in the statement was meaningless and without any real substance.