Say 'No' to further retail at Bell Green




That Sports Direct branch is a hideous eyesore. It’s spectacularly bad, and bizarre in being so far from anything else comparable.


Not sure but wouldn’t the Sports Direct place be equally horrible if it were something else? At least part of the issue is that the exterior looks like breeze block that’s yet to have the decorative cladding put on. Is that a problem with the planning permission that was granted?


No, because it should be several smaller units so the signage would be different and there might not even be signage on that side of the building at all. And certainly not all the posters and decals that despoil the windows.

The bare breeze blocks are a ‘design feature’ and there to stay. Sadly.


If they were that historic they would have listed status? Of course those people interested in keeping them should be happy to stump up the cash to preserve them.


I like industrial architecture as much as the next man but these gas holders do nothing for me and I really don’t see what they add to the community. Happy for them to be dismantled - as long as no one uses a blowtorch to take them apart. Otherwise, this is what Bell Green will look like…


Thanks for the edit, @system. What should I be doing in future?


Ah that was an automated technical thingy (downloading remotely-hosted images for safekeeping) that members really don’t need to be notified about.

I’ll raise this with the developers.. I have changed a setting that should prevent these notifications in future.


There’s actually a skate park inside one of the gas holders - I’ve never been but apparently a few spent a few quid building it & you have to climb inside to use it. Maybe this could be extended :slight_smile:


Interesting fact about gas holders…

The Oval Gasholders is the unofficial name given to the gas holder (gasometer) located near The Oval in London, England. It was built in 1853[1] and is officially called Kennington Holder Station by its owners, Southern Gas Network.[2] It is a grade II listed building with the listed part of them known as Gasholder No. 1.



There are many reasons to oppose the proposed development, but as above, I think that retaining these gas holders would be a challenge.

They’re not unique, distinctive or of special historical significance, as far as I know, and as metal structures they would cost money on a yearly basis to safely maintain.


In general, I’m not a great fan of Bell Green. It feels very nineties to me and completely out of place in a densifying London - a bit of a missed opportunity really. How come they got away with allocating that much space to car-parking when there isn’t sufficient land available to build enough homes (and schools, nurseries, medical centres, for that matter)? Surely if a car-owning customer base is so critical to convince commercial tenants to settle, which I totally get, then a multi-story or basement car-parking should be the way to do it, all tucked away behind good architecture creating some attractive public realm while we’re at redeveloping the lot.
Instead, all we’ve ended up with are vast fields of tarmac with a few single-storey sheds of steel to make it look as cheep and cheerful as possible, pouring the value of the site down the drain. The race-course like road layout with its multi-phased pedestrian crossings finishes the job perfectly.

Given that the damage is done, they may as well complete the job. I suspect it will be for the interim only, say a mere fifteen years, before all of this will come down again making way for something better.
The bit that they should really focus on as part of the extension is improving public transport provision to reduce some of the car use - and not building any more parking spaces! The bus routes to SE23, in particular towards the Brockley Rise corridor, are unattractive at best. For instance, I’m convinced that an extension of the 172 bus via Cranston Road and Houston Road could help, but try and sell this to people living on these streets - I suspect they’d rather have a few hundred extra cars per day instead of a single bus.
The bus stops at Bell Green are in a dire state, seemingly located as far from the shops as possible with walking routes which are compromised in some places, and plain unsafe in others.
All in all, it’s a place I only visit if I really must and I’m happy after I’ve left it again, musing about why they couldn’t come up with anything better than this.

To avoid any doubt, I’m all for having the kind of shops which are present at Bell Green and I think they add to the attractiveness of the area in general, just not like this in the 21st century in the middle of a capital city that struggles with space and a lack of attractive urban realm.


Read up on the quality of the land. Not suitable for housing.


What do you mean, because it is contaminated?
I suspect there could be things that can be done about this. If it is good to sell goods that people eat then it can’t be so bad that you couldn’t improve the ground for houses being built on.
It becomes very much an economic argument then which is why I’m sure that the barracks will come down in a few years again unless the economy goes downhill.


Sorry I thought the info was on this thread, but apparently not. My mistake.

By all accounts the land on the area is not suitable for housing due to contaminated land from its old uses.
This was certainly the case when Sainsburys was built, and considerations were given so not to disturb some parts of the ground.
The cost of decontamination makes the viability for housing “unlikely” at best.

This is a small quote from one older investigation carried out.

Old Gas Works Site, Lewisham, London SE6
The Bell Green Gas Works Site is riddled with dangerous contaminants, such as coal tar, that
have leaked into the River Pool which runs through the site. Warning signs have been erected
along the river bank by the Council since a children’s playground borders the river. A report
by independent environmental consultants in 1987 concluded that “the river bed and banks
will remain a public hazard whilst coal tar continues to gain access to the culvert”. The site
has yet to be cleaned up.


There are some developments being done around the UK these days where ground sheeting is used to seal the contaminants in, and then agreements are made with the residents that they must NOT dig deeper than 12-18" in their own gardens.
One possibility I guess, but I believe unlikely.

As for the difference between building shops or houses, and residing in them, or selling goods from them. I would say that would be down to ground disturbance, and duration spent there. Again, just a guess as I am no expert here.


This seems a good document to have a read through for all concerned. Having a gander myself now.


Thank you! I’ll keep it in mind next time I have a drink at Sainsbury’s café or McDonald’s.
On that note, there are a few new builds at Silver Birch Close very close to the site - maybe the clue is in the name…


Interesting exert, which has clearly NOT turned out to be the case re traffic movement.

6.64 Two main factors for local residents which will be affected are noise and air quality
impact. Dealing firstly with noise it is recognised that commercial use of this part of
the site will generate a level of noise and activity. However, commercial use of the
site is long established. That said, it is important to control the delivery and
operational hours for the proposed uses to ensure that excessive noise and
disturbance does not arise at unreasonable hours. Extant consents allow for the
following operational and delivery times. Whilst the operational hours are extensive
this has previously been deemed to be acceptable given the nature of the use,
surrounding commercial uses and distance of the site from residential properties
(over 60m). It is considered reasonable and appropriate to control the same times
as part of this application particularly as less floorspace is now proposed and
therefore there will be less impact on neighbours than that previously deemed to be
acceptable. An appropriate condition is recommended.
Operational Times
06:30 – 23:00 Monday to Sunday (including bank holidays)
06:30 – 20:00 Monday to Friday
06:30 – 16:00 Saturday
06:30 – 13:00 Sundays and bank holidays.
6.65 The submitted ES addresses noise and vibration issues during construction and
operation as discussed in section 6.4 of this report. Subject to the recommended
mitigation measures (which will be controlled by conditions) it is not considered that
unacceptable harm to neighbouring amenity will occur.
6.66 Turning to the second issue of air quality. Chapter 7 of the ES deals with the air
quality impact of the proposal (construction and operational) in detail. During the
construction phase, as a result of the scale of development and types of buildings
proposed it is considered that air quality impact will be negligible. During operation
air quality impact is also considered to be negligible. It is important to note that a
sufficient reduction in floorspace will lead to less traffic movements which will result
in less air pollution than the extant scheme.
6.67 Overall it is not considered that the current proposal would have a significant
adverse impact.