Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has submitted proposals for the contentious redevelopment of the Bethnal Green gasholders in east London
The plans to build homes inside the two structures at Marian Place on the Regent’s Canal have been lodged with Tower Hamlets council, in the face of opposition to development of the gasholders from heritage campaigners.
The proposal is for 550 homes, which would be built within two retained gasholders as well as in three new circular buildings on the south of the site.
Heritage groups are objecting to the plans for the gasholders – the smaller designated No 2 and the larger No 5 – which they argue would strip them of their authenticity.
Building homes inside gasholder No 2 would require dismantling it. The campaigners say the holder has the world’s oldest surviving guideframes, and the work would risk damaging them.
The proposal is for St William, a joint venture between National Grid and the Berkeley Group, which is regenerating a number of gasholder sites across London and the South East. Others include the Leven Gas Works in Poplar and the Oval in Kennington.
St William managing director Alison Dowsett said: ‘St William recognises the local interest and significance of the gasholder structures at Marian Place.
‘Following extensive engagement with the community and stakeholders, our proposals, which have now been submitted to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, include the retention of both the No 2 and No 5 gasholders.
‘Working with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, our proposals celebrate the unique character of the area, and seek to provide public access to a substantial stretch of the Regent’s Canal for the first time in more than 150 years.’
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The gasholders were built in the 1860s to store gas made at the Shoreditch Gas Works – where Haggerston Park is today – but were decommissioned in 2012.
The site, currently inaccessible to the public, is earmarked for redevelopment in Tower Hamlets’ emerging Local Plan, which requires housing and employment space to be provided as part of any prospective development.
Bethnal green in 1998 from towpath (mtt report bg 1of6)
Source: Malcolm Tucker