Lewisham’s historic Gasholders are set to be demolished

Bell Green Gas holders, Pic: Peter Trimming

They survived the bombs of two world wars, but now the future of the Sydenham gas holders is uncertain.

The task of dismantling the holders fell to Southern Gas Networks (SGN) in July of last year, with demolition expected to be completed by 2029.

Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan wrote to SGN in a bid to save the Bell Green site.

The prominent gas distribution company has explained that the site is no longer sustainable and serves no use.

The Bell Green gas holders have been out of use since the 1990s but were officially decommissioned in 2012.

Similar holders were previously used to contain gas made from burning coal. The Sydenham plant was built in the 1800’s and has become historically significant to the community. The plans to destroy the enormous lattice steel frames of the two gas holders have met with local opposition.

The council responded to dissatisfied residents saying: “We are fully aware of the concerns of residents about the future of the gasholders at Bell Green and look forward to working with the community to secure the future of the site.”

Chris Beach, a former local resident and current administrator of community forums SE23.life and SE26.life, said: “We saw mixed feelings amongst members of SE23.life and SE26.life, with some long-term residents fond of these local landmarks, and their industrial heritage.

“Others had practical concerns over funding the preservation of the structures, and the opportunity cost of keeping them, bearing in mind the potential for new housing, or other developments”.

Mr Beach then revealed his forum had run a straw poll to find out what residents would like to see after gas holder demolition. “A Bakerloo line terminus was the most popular proposal (29%), followed by a new Waitrose store (21%), and a public park (12%),” he said.

Defunct sites like Bell Green are being redeveloped country wide. A gas holder site in King’s Cross has been transformed into two modern yet ornate apartment complexes.

For more information go to https://se26.life and https://se23.life

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