Work to demolish two gasholders in Redhill is set to start from “around September”, gas company SGN says.
The landmarks sit on the north side of Hooley Lane, with one of the pair nearly 120 years old.
Reigate and Banstead Borough Council’s planning department ruled in December that prior approval wasn’t needed for the work.
After demolition, SGN says it will look to redevelop the land, possibly for housing and businesses. That would require a full planning application.
An SGN spokesperson told reigate.uk:
“We are planning to start our demolition works in Redhill around September time.
SGN is regulated by Ofgem and we have been tasked with dismantling all of our gas holder fleet by 2029. This is due to the societal risks these redundant structures pose to our workers and the wider public (maintenance, environmental and health and safety risks).
In addition, our industry has now found a way to store gas within underground pipe networks.
It’s no longer sustainable for us to keep these structures in a safe and visually acceptable condition long-term.
We’re also committed to redeveloping the land they sit on for use that’s more beneficial to the local community, such as housing and business premises.”
The planning process
Under national planning rules, SGN had to apply to Reigate & Banstead to see if the demolition would need prior approval by the council: in December the council ruled that its permission wasn’t required.
A council planning officer looked at how the demolition would be carried out, hours of work, ecology, and the effect on nearby properties and trees.
There were no objections from the council’s contaminated land officer, its environmental health officer, and the Environment Agency – subject to some provisos about the work.
On the structures themselves, the officer’s report stated:
“The gasholders are very large imposing structures. Whilst they are set back from Hooley Lane, they are nonetheless very dominant within the street scene and are not felt to make a positive contribution, being very utilitarian in appearance.
Their removal from the site, leaving in effect a site cleared to ground level (save for some small retained structures), is not therefore considered to cause any harm to the character or visual amenity of the area – even in absence of immediate proposals for restoration.”
Development of the site – such as for housing – would require a separate and fuller planning application, which would address issues such as fixing any ground problems arising from the site’s previous use.
Although both holders are currently purged of gas, and collapsed to their lowest level, they’ve been a feature of the local skyline for many years.
Holder No.1 was built back in 1900, and No. 4 in 1937. At the time of their construction the Redhill Gasworks were located nearby.
BBC article from 2015: “Will the UK’s gasholders be missed?”