Fluffy Planning Policy – The East Greenwich Gas Holder Case

East Greenwich one contained the largest collection of gas holders in the UK.  Now only one remains.

The Victorian Society

In April 2018 gas distribution company SGN were given approval by Royal Borough of Greenwich for a means of dismantling East Greenwich No 1 Gas Holder, the dismantling itself being a permitted development. This was received in the pre-election period when elected councillors are in ‘purdah’ (ie normal council business is suspended and a time limited decision, like this one, would be passed to officers).

It appears the planners’ decision is in direct contradiction of the Planning Brief policy regarding the gas holder which states:

“Proposals should respect and respond to the industrial character of the area as a means of relating new development to the local context. In particular, development should build on the heritage value of the gas holder to enhance the character and distinctiveness of the area.”

Greenwich made the right decision.  PD is a matter of fact and law.  The planning brief was irrelevant.  The problem was the planning brief.  If you are going to protect a heritage asset make sure you can protect it and not merely engage in meaningless virtue signalling, which in this case related not to an early, important and potentially list-able gasholder bit the last one built in London.  The Planning brief was fluffy and served no purpose vis a vis protection of the gasholder.