Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2018.

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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby JGD » 12 Jul 2018 22:41

There are four conditions attached to the Decision Notice at

https://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online-applications/files/A5AA1430E36122876AB2D361E619525B/pdf/DC_18_107607-Decision_Notice-703390.pdf

Conditions 3 and 4 appear to very properly specify not only what remediation is required but what monitoring will be required post-remediation. If SGN has attempted in anyway to avoid their obligations, which I believe they have not, the authority is reinforcing what is essential in this matter, namely the removal of pollutants and toxins.

The reports on nesting might be seen by most as being independent. There is no nesting for any birds on the gasometers.

Respectfully, this decision is right at so many levels.

I would advocate that my compromise proposal be re-examined if you have not seen it already. SGN have opened the door in their Prior Notice to considering the creation of an iconic or emblematic partial retention.

Here are the extracts of the relevant conditions.

(3) Prior to the commencement of works approved by this planning permission (or
such other date or stage in development as may be agreed in writing with the
Local Planning Authority), the following components of a scheme to deal with the
risks associated with contamination of the site shall be submitted to, and
approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority:
a) a preliminary risk assessment which has identified:
· all previous uses;
· potential contaminants associated with those uses;
· a conceptual model of the site indicating sources, pathways and receptors;
· potentially unacceptable risks arising from contamination at the site.
b) a site investigation scheme, based on (a), to provide information for a
detailed assessment of the risk to all receptors which may be affected,
including those off site;
c) the results of the site investigation and detailed risk assessment
referred to in (b) and, based on these, an options appraisal and
remediation strategy giving full details of the remediation measures
required and how they are to be undertaken;
d) a verification plan providing details of the data which will be collected
in order to demonstrate that the works set out in the remediation strategy
in (c) are complete and identifying any requirements for longer-term
monitoring of pollutant linkages, maintenance and arrangements for
contingency action.
Any changes to these components require the express consent of the Local
Planning Authority. The scheme shall be implemented as approved.
Reason:
For the protection of controlled waters, in line with the National Planning Policy
Framework (NPPF) (Paragraphs 109 and 121).
(4) Following completion of remediation works, and prior to any further
development at the site, a verification report demonstrating completion of the
works set out in the approved remediation strategy and the effectiveness of
the remediation shall be submitted to and approved, in writing, by the Local
Planning Authority. The report shall include results of sampling and monitoring
carried out in accordance with the approved verification plan to demonstrate
that the site remediation criteria have been met. It shall also include a plan (a
‘long-term monitoring and maintenance plan’) for longer-term monitoring of
pollutant linkages, maintenance and arrangements for contingency action, as
identified in the verification plan, if appropriate, and for the reporting of this to
the Local Planning Authority. Any long-term monitoring and maintenance plan
shall be implemented as approved.
Reason:
To ensure any issues related to contamination are addressed, in accordance
with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby mosy » 13 Jul 2018 13:37

JGD, those conditions seem absolute to me, assuming they still apply and somehow haven't been or won't be cast aside if a new development application is presented.

broken_shaman: You say "...and Sydenham got nothing out of the 'deal' to tackle the wider issues of congestion and pollution in the area". I'm struggling to see how a planning department following government legislation can do anything but pronounce on what is set before them. As I said earlier, planners expressing that "it would be nice if" has no validity when interpreting planning regulations. The government of course is fully on board with reducing smog pollution so we *cough* need have no worries about polluting congestion do we? *cough*
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby JGD » 13 Jul 2018 19:23

mosy wrote:JGD, those conditions seem absolute to me, assuming they still apply and somehow haven't been or won't be cast aside if a new development application is presented.

broken_shaman: You say "...and Sydenham got nothing out of the 'deal' to tackle the wider issues of congestion and pollution in the area". I'm struggling to see how a planning department following government legislation can do anything but pronounce on what is set before them. As I said earlier, planners expressing that "it would be nice if" has no validity when interpreting planning regulations. The government of course is fully on board with reducing smog pollution so we *cough* need have no worries about polluting congestion do we? *cough*


Mosy

I think the fact is they are binding and the authority has taken the opportunity to reinforce the policy and regulations.

Even in the most unlikely outcomes should SGN seek to have then cast aside (again I see no evidence of that - the risk is too great to them), the authority would hold them firmly to the conditions they have set. Belt and braces.

That's a nasty cough you have there. But conversely I have seen some debate that suggests that the closure of Toys-R-Us has reduced the traffic flows to the retail park already Even if that were the case - it is a short termism view.

Much more importantly - what is the internet thingy's impact on the number of journeys to Bell Green ?

The quantum of internet shopping done by Sainsbury's alone is huge. Someone with better knowledge than me will be able to say whether it is reasonable to assume that every single van making home deliveries will do so to somewhere between six and eight premises. In percentage terms that is a very significant reduction in number of round trips made. Argos deliveries - less sure of numbers but also probably has a reduction impact.

The other retailers have a growing web presence and this will inevitably reduce the number of visits to bricks and mortar (in our case crinkly tin) establishments.
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby JGD » 14 Jul 2018 17:34

Here is the extract from the letter received today advising me that permission to demolish had been granted.

Rather interestingly the letter is dated 11 July - the decision must have been made then.

"Prior notification of the demolition of the two existing gasholders and ancillary buildings at Bell Green SE26.

I am writing to you in connection with the above proposal. The views which you submitted have been carefully considered, together with the Council's policies and Government advice plus other observations received.

Having taken all the considerations into account, the proposal has now been determined by the Council under powers delegated to officers and i am writing to advise you that the proposal has been GRANTED.

Yours sincerely
Geoff Whitington
South Area Team"
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby Pally » 14 Jul 2018 21:55

Well good but does it say what will then go on space? I am so confused now about the options frankly ..Aldi; flats; some sort of play something or other; museum; car park; ....?? I favour affordable flats!
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby JRW » 15 Jul 2018 07:13

JGD,

Regarding the very sensible sounding procedures and conditions that bind the developers, I refer you to the St Philip Neri school redevelopment. Multiple breaches of planning agreement, but no enforcement visible, and the build continues.

I keep being told by councillors that Lewisham is afraid to intervene, because they are worried about being sued. If you want an extension, Planning is very strict; if you are a big company with lawyers inhouse, you can ignore it completely.

By the way, SGN own the Livesey Hall outright, with no commitment to community access. Once they have developed the bowling green, what is to stop them selling it privately, maybe to become a nightclub?
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby JGD » 15 Jul 2018 08:44

JRW wrote:JGD,

Regarding the very sensible sounding procedures and conditions that bind the developers, I refer you to the St Philip Neri school redevelopment. Multiple breaches of planning agreement, but no enforcement visible, and the build continues.

I keep being told by councillors that Lewisham is afraid to intervene, because they are worried about being sued. If you want an extension, Planning is very strict; if you are a big company with lawyers inhouse, you can ignore it completely.

By the way, SGN own the Livesey Hall outright, with no commitment to community access. Once they have developed the bowling green, what is to stop them selling it privately, maybe to become a nightclub?


I am supportive of the actions regarding St Philip Neri. It is to be hoped that a fully compliant building will be delivered irrespective of the costs and degree of corrective re-construction that may have to be done.

No organisation should be above the law. We are a rules based society. However it is the case that in dealing with local authorities, companies and organisations that are lawyered-up will not have less-than-fair or ad-hoc conditions imposed upon them. However it is extremely disappointing that a close-to-home organisation like the Diocese has not been able to supervise its own projects adequately to prevent what might be proved to be a major breach of planning permissions.

We have passed the point of ownership of the Livesey Hall - in another post you advised that you had sight of the title deeds and that was acknowledged here.

It was also said at that point that we could not know what development proposals might be brought forward for the entire site by SGN or others who might acquire the site. It was then realised that SGN/Kier's had submitted an appeal for the previously rejected planning application, in which was included enhancements to the environs of the Hall by the provision of a garden.

It is not helpful to your case to make wild speculation about how bad future developments could be (a night club ?) People who might be minded to support your case in principle might view it as being more conducive to support you if you were to desist from the wider speculative parts. Speculation that was articulated on this forum that the school could not possibly have insurance. Speculation of the type that a few days a go you were making on here that there was no licensed business being conducted in Livesey Hall. In spite of the fact that those neighbours to the Hall know there is a thriving business present there.

Not for me to advise you what to do or not to do - you must do as you see fit.
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby JGD » 15 Jul 2018 09:01

Pally

It is confusing - our esteemed councillors have now decreed that affordable social housing is key for this site. Despite not having brought forward a proposer/developer or the required funding for this. And having permitted officers to consult on an entirely different type of development for over a year. What a waste of valuable council resources.

The Aldi, SGN Offices, Restaurant and Cafe proposal is now at appeal stage - who can forecast what direction this will take. If it fails will SGN instruct their agents to appeal to a higher body ?

All I hope for along with my immediate neighbours is that in whatever direction the development proposals take, that they include the off-street parking for Livesey Hall patrons, SCOOT traffic flow improvement measures and any other alleviation we can be created that will ease on-street parking congestion.

We are good neighbours - it not a big ask to seek peoples' support for these smaller but very important needs.
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Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2018.

Postby biscuitman1978 » 15 Jul 2018 20:05

Pally wrote:I am so confused now about the options frankly ..Aldi; flats; some sort of play something or other; museum; car park; ....?? I favour affordable flats!

To the best of my understanding...

As others have explained, SGN has secured confirmation that prior approval is not required for demolition of the two existing gasholders and ancillary buildings (London Borough of Lewisham ref DC/18/107607) and that the method of demolition is acceptable, subject to compliance with four conditions (set out above in a post by JGD).

Separately, a planning application (London Borough of Lewisham ref DC/17/100680) for redevelopment of the site was refused by London Borough of Lewisham's Planning Committee C (though planning officers had recommended that permission be granted).

The planning application was for:

The removal of existing gasholders and associated equipment and redevelopment of land to the east of Perry Hill, SE6 to provide:
- 1,855 sq m (A1 Use Class) Food Store and 100 car parking spaces, and cycle stores
- 168 sq m (Use Class A1) Coffee Shop & 325 sq m (Use Class A3) Restaurant, fronting Alan Pegg Place, including outdoor seating and cycle stores
- 1,104 sq m (B8 Use Class with ancillary offices) Depot for Southern Gas Networks consisting of a two-storey building and service yard, together with associated car parking and cycle stores
- Boundary treatment, and hard/ soft landscaping works including the provision of a new garden area


The decision to refuse the application was subsequently appealed (London Borough of Lewisham ref W/18/3203617). An independent Planning Inspector will consider the appeal.

As far as I am aware, the applicant/appellant has no other proposals on the table, other than a suggestion in the submission documents for the prior approval that it might 'salvage ... some material from the gasholders'.

So, the short answer to your question is that, in my view at least, the only 'option' on the table at present which has any prospect of being delivered is the appeal scheme, though that is subject to the Planning Inspector allowing the appeal.

Others on this forum have suggested other options which would include housing, but:
- There is, as far as I am aware, no obligation in current planning policy to provide housing on the site
- Officers accepted the applicant's case that, as the case officer put it in his report (see para 6.70 of http://councilmeetings.lewisham.gov.uk/ ... Report.pdf), a residential scheme 'would be unfeasible due to the location of the existing underground bentonite wall, which contains contaminated groundwater emanating from the former gasworks use'. The officer continues: 'Consequently, no development can be built within a prescribed distance of the wall, thereby negating a viable residential scheme.' Presumably, members of Planning Committee C also accepted that case, though I draw that conclusion solely on the basis of the absence of any reference to this issue in the minutes of the meeting at which the planning application was considered (see http://councilmeetings.lewisham.gov.uk/ ... inutes.pdf).

(For the sake of completeness, the full set of documents presented to Planning Committee C is at http://councilmeetings.lewisham.gov.uk/ ... 5&MId=4776.)

By the way, the application was refused on the following grounds:
1. The siting of the proposed development and associated car-parking would result in the unacceptable loss of existing ancillary green open space to the north of Livesey Hall, which would serve to have an adverse and unsympathetic impact upon the historic character, prominence and setting of the Grade II Listed building, War Memorial and front boundary wall...
2.The application, by reason of additional traffic and congestion generated by the retail units would impact detrimentally upon the surrounding gyratory and local residential streets...
3. The provision of the proposed additional A1 floorspace within the wider Bell Green retail park would exceed the prescribed maximum retail limit of 16,110sq.m as set out in the Core Strategy (2011), thereby harming the retail character and viability of adjacent shopping centres...
4. The application fails to demonstrate sufficiently that traffic and vehicular movement associated with the proposed development would not increase levels of air pollution within the area and would therefore have an unacceptable impact upon amenity...

Those are the issues on which the Planning Inspector appointed to consider the appeal will almost certainly focus.

To deal briefly with a few other points:

JGD wrote:[O]ur esteemed councillors have now decreed that affordable social housing is key for this site. Despite not having brought forward a proposer/developer or the required funding for this. And having permitted officers to consult on an entirely different type of development for over a year. What a waste of valuable council resources.

Are you referring to local ward councillors? If so, they do not have the power to 'decree' the use of the site. Moreover, they cannot prevent officers from considering a planning application because they think it's a 'waste of valuable council resources' or another 'option' is better; all valid planning applications must be properly considered. In addition, bear in mind that the applicant will have paid a fee with the planning application which will, at least in part, cover the council's costs.

JGD wrote:The Aldi, SGN Offices, Restaurant and Cafe proposal is now at appeal stage - who can forecast what direction this will take. If it fails will SGN instruct their agents to appeal to a higher body ?

We cannot, of course, second guess what conclusion the Inspector who considers the appeal will reach, but if the appeal is dismissed, the scope for SGN to appeal to a 'higher body' would be very limited. Judicial review would be the only option, and the decision could only be challenged on the grounds that the decision was unlawful. The planning merits of the decision cannot be challenged.

JRW wrote:If you want an extension, Planning is very strict; if you are a big company with lawyers inhouse, you can ignore it completely.

That's not borne out by evidence on the ground. To take a local example, look at the Greyhound: unlawfully demolished by a 'big company' with the funds to appoint a decent lawyer, and yet now rebuilt following enforcement action by London Borough of Lewisham.

JRW wrote:By the way, SGN own the Livesey Hall outright, with no commitment to community access. Once they have developed the bowling green, what is to stop them selling it privately, maybe to become a nightclub?

The idea that Livesey Hall might become a nightclub is, in my view, idle speculation. A change of use would require planning permission which, I strongly suspect, would not be forthcoming. Moreover, there are, so far as I am aware, no plans for any such change of use.
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby mosy » 15 Jul 2018 22:50

Many thanks again to those taking time to set out what the situation is accurately as of now in real terms so that there's a much better chance we're all singing from the same hymn sheet.

Incidentally, car parks can be grassed with metal grids over so as not to destroy the grass, or even be water-permeable astro turf I suppose, if it avoids the barren look of extensive hard-standing areas. Just a thought as the "Brutal" era of architecture was once described to me by a young child as being "desperate". Not the right word maybe but a perfect word if read as blotting out nature, as in "Why would you?".

Hopefully planners will insist on not allowing the area to be "desperate", or polluted whatever it looks like.
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby nicknack » 16 Jul 2018 11:10

So SGN next have to complete a historic building investigation & risk assessments which have to be submitted and approved, any idea on how long that might take? Couple of months maybe?
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby John H » 16 Jul 2018 18:39

No wonder companies give up on Britain.

Clearly there are traffic considerations that, if unattended to, would mean a new store there would create an unacceptable level of traffic congestion, pollution et al. However the necessary work is simple and should have been carried out before Sainsbury's was built.

An overpass over the railway carrying a dual carriageway is essential. A complete redesign of the Bell Green area roads so that through traffic and local are separated would also seem appropriate. Where the through traffic should be directed to is a matter that is bound to create world war three in Sydenham. If the original proposals for the South Circular (demolishing Forest Hill) were accepted then the solution would be relatively easy.

It seems to me the usual London disaster will be inflicted. NOTHING will be done to improve traffic flow and residents will be expected to put up with diesel fumes, noise, dirt and grid lock.
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby JGD » 16 Jul 2018 19:33

Very prescient John H

An overpass is certainly the most innovative proposal I have seen since 1993 when the concept was first discussed.

The council in fact focused on widening the over-bridge to have two lanes pass under the railway (not over) - and they negotiated, secured and received some £2.08m for this proposal and improving safety for pedestrians around the bridge from the original developers.

And in step with your final conclusion, you are so right - Lewisham has done nothing to widen the bridge, improve traffic flow, improve pedestrian safety and declines to explain through its members and officers where the money went.
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby Pally » 16 Jul 2018 20:49

Thanks biscuitman
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby Tim Lund » 16 Jul 2018 21:26

JGD wrote:Very prescient John H

An overpass is certainly the most innovative proposal I have seen since 1993 when the concept was first discussed.

The council in fact focused on widening the over-bridge to have two lanes pass under the railway (not over) - and they negotiated, secured and received some £2.08m for this proposal and improving safety for pedestrians around the bridge from the original developers.

And in step with your final conclusion, you are so right - Lewisham has done nothing to widen the bridge, improve traffic flow, improve pedestrian safety and declines to explain through its members and officers where the money went.


There's a reason why this sort of thing went out of fashion. Widening roads tends to cause more traffic, and leave less space for people to live, enjoy being out and about. It also causes significant air pollution. That's why most transport policies are now directed towards encouraging walking and cycling, although the message hasn't always got through to highway engineers.
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby JGD » 17 Jul 2018 07:03

Tim

I would have no problem if that position was to prove to be supported by published evidence related directly to that location.

It would mean that we have transparency and doubt would be removed.

As it is, we are left to speculate - no certainty there.

De-facto we have traffic being present in large volumes travelling in both directions and frequently stationary Any impact of widening the bridge would have to be examined closely in a development proposal and would be enhanced by a benefits analysis for the wider area.. This existing volume of traffic is generated by virtue of the bridge being part of of a crossroads effect. It also causes significant air pollution which is probably more concentrated in the areas that are most sensitive to it - the school at Haseltine, residents on Southend Lane, Bell Green and Perry Rise. The new location for Brent Knoll School frequently has traffic that is static at its gate.

Transport policies that are now directed towards encouraging walking and cycling are to be encouraged but they must address the realities of vehicle movement too.
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby JGD » 11 Oct 2018 11:25

Montagu Evans have submitted applications to fully discharge condition 2 and to fully discharge parts a), b) and c) of condition 3 of the permission DC/18/107607 which was issued by the Council on 11 July. The second was submitted on 10 August.

These conditions represent the totality of conditions specified by the Council that had to be satisfied before work commenced.

Given the original application had to be decided within a four week mandated window and that this period of time has lapsed for these submissions, is it now to be assumed that all matters specified by the council are deemed to be satisfactorily discharged by the applicant?

Does the work now commence ?

https://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=_LEWIS_DCAPR_96139

https://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=_LEWIS_DCAPR_96496
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby JGD » 19 Oct 2018 00:03

Montagu Evans's submitted application to fully discharge condition 2 has been approved on 17 October.

https://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=_LEWIS_DCAPR_96139

Interestingly the application to fully discharge parts a), b) and c) of condition 3 of the permission DC/18/107607 is not referred to.

It would appear that it is one down and one more to go.

Just as fascinatingly, the authority has belatedly approved a document it had received as part of the original application.
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby Growsydenham » 21 Oct 2018 18:34

An update on the gasholders development appeal, and a number of other local issues, is in the latest planning minutes.

http://councilmeetings.lewisham.gov.uk/ ... C.pdf?T=10
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Postby nicknack » 27 Nov 2018 13:34

I see common sense has prevailed & they're putting an Aldi in the old Toys R Us instead - wasn't that part of the proposal to demolish the gasholders? What is proposed to be built on the site now, if anything?
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