The Victorian Society has slammed plans by GRID Architects to demolish two of the three iconic gasholders next to The Oval cricket ground
GRID, on behalf of Berkeley Homes, has submitted an application for a scheme to provide 738 homes plus commercial space on the site of the gasholders.
The application outlines plans to convert the oldest – and listed – gasholder into housing while removing the two unlisted structures.
Anna Shelley, conservation adviser for the Victorian Society, said: ‘Listed gasholder No.1 gets much of its interest from its group value with the smaller gasholders which cluster around it. It is as a series that they have the highest landscape value; they are synonymous with The Oval for millions worldwide and every effort should be made by the developer to retain them.’
Shelley pointed to WilkinsonEyre Architects’ scheme to create buildings inside gasholders at King’s Cross, saying: ‘It has been proven that restored historic gasholders can be successfully integrated into new developments, as those at Kings Cross clearly show.
’If it is not viable to retain gasholders 4 and 5, the onus is on Berkley Homes to demonstrate why not, which they have not done.’
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.
A planning statement submitted with the application said: ‘The proposed development will regenerate the large, contaminated and highly accessible central London site which has been closed off from its surrounding neighbourhoods for over 150 years, and re-integrate it into Kennington and Oval.
‘It will deliver substantial new jobs, new homes including affordable homes, and new public open space, including new green spaces.’
The statement said that removing the gasholders would improve public safety and act as a catalyst for further regeneration in the area.
Craig Casci, director at GRID, told the AJ that the removal of the two unlisted gasholders would improve the permeability of the site.
He said: ‘Most industrial sites across London create a sterile block of landscape. Part of the reason for this scheme is to improve the legibility of the street pattern, reconnect surrounding streets and get more active frontages.
Casci said that the shape of the block planned for inside the remaining gasholder – which steps down – was designed to take account of surrounding rights to light.
Grid oval plan