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RSHP submits plans for 500-plus homes in Bethnal Green gasholders

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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.’

2946 06 dusk waterfront fullres 181119

2946 06 dusk waterfront fullres 181119

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)

Bethnal green in 1998 from towpath (mtt report bg 1of6)

Source: Malcolm Tucker

 

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Readers' comments (3)

  • I recently signed a petition against this development, as I live locally and imagined that the proposed scheme would be a travesty of the original gas holder structure. Having now seen the proposal however, its looks very good and at first glance incorporates the existing structure into the design rather well and also appears to create a very useful social space next to the canal.

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  • Shame there's no site plan, because image 2/6 suggests that two of the new buildings are cheek by jowl, and given the ongoing furore over privacy at the Tate Modern I wonder if all will be sweetness and light for RSHP at Bethnal Green?

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  • weird that the new buildigns have such a strong vertical emphasis when the old internal structure was so contrastingly horizontal

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