East Greenwich Gasholder
The gasholder was part of the former East Greenwich Gas Works

A petition objecting to the demolition of east Greenwich’s historic gasholder is nearing 700 signatures just a few days after launching.

Last month, Greenwich Council planning officers approved plans to demolish the 130-year-old gasholder, which sits close to the entrance of the Blackwall Tunnel.

Now the Greenwich Industrial History Society is calling on Greenwich Council to talk to owner SGN about how to reuse the landmark structure rather than dismantling it.

The society says the planners have ignored a brief which says developers should “build on the heritage value of the gasholder”.

Metrogas sports ground, c.1984 - yes, that is the site editor in the photo
A view of the former gas works sports ground in c.1984 (now the Ikea building site) showing the view up the Peninsula with both gas holders in place

“The dismantling proposal submitted by SGN’s consultants failed to respond to, or mention, this approved policy for the gasholder. This should have led to the proposal being refused… instead, it was approved,” the petition, which had 664 signatures on Thursday morning, says.

The decision was made by planning officers rather than by councillors on a committee. 15 objections were received via the council website.

Redundant gasholders have been put to new uses in cities around Europe – most notably in Dublin’s docklands, where one now houses 240 flats. Apartments have also been built inside the old King’s Cross gasholders in central London, while one has been converted into a park.

Despite its age and position as a local landmark, there are no legal protections in place to protect the East Greenwich gasholder on historic grounds, unlike in Sydenham where Lewisham Council has locally listed the remaining Bell Green gasholders, although SGN has also submitted an application to demolish these structures.

View up the A102
The gasholder remains a local landmark

After being built in the 1880s, the East Greenwich gasholder acquired the local nickname of Jumbo, and was later joined by a second gasometer, which was targeted by an IRA bomb in 1979 and dismantled six years later.

Viewpoint: ‘Save the Nationally Important East Greenwich Gas Holder From Demolition

Sign the petition: Greenwich’s threatened gasholder is a local icon – it deserves to be saved

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