Lambeth Council has approved controversial plans to demolish two of the three iconic gasholders next to The Oval cricket ground to make way for a mixed use scheme by GRID Architects
Campaigners including the Victorian Society had opposed the plans drawn up for developer Berkeley Homes, which include 738 homes plus commercial space.
At a meeting of the council’s planning applications committee on Tuesday (12 June) the plans were approved by the chair’s casting vote after a hung 3:3 split between councillors.
A report by planning officers to the committee said: ‘The design of the development is logical and of high quality. It responds positively to its context while also securing the optimum development potential of the site.’
Officers added that the harm from demolishing the two gasholders would be outweighed by the public benefits of the scheme.
It is understood that the committee discussed the application for more than three hours, and that the scheme was only approved after amendments to conditions requiring a car-free scheme, affordable workspace provision and the resolution of heritage issues.
Gasholder 1, built in 1892, was the world’s largest gasholder at the time of construction and is Grade II-listed. The government issued a certificate of immunity from listing for the other two gasholders in 2016.
However, the Victorian Society had argued that the listed gasholder gains much of its interest from the smaller group clustered around it.
The society had also pointed to WilkinsonEyre Architects’ scheme to create buildings inside gasholders at King’s Cross, which they said showed how restored historic gasholders can be successfully integrated into new developments.
Grid oval plan