Council halts gas holder demolition over impact on residential housing

Council halts gas holder demolition over impact on residential housing
Gas holders in Tonbridge

The gas distribution company SGN want to dismantle the iconic structures near Medway Wharf Road, which are no longer in use.

But the local planning authority has said the application is ‘fundamentally flawed’ because it does not take into account the impact on neighbouring houses and flats.

Development Manager Emma Keefe said SGN had given ‘only very brief acknowledgement’ of the properties nearby and had decided there would be ‘no harm arising to residents’.

 “I assume that this conclusion has been drawn because the holders are located in what has historically been a predominately industrial/commercial part of the town,” she said.

“However, this is plainly no longer the case and the site is bounded immediately to the west and north by high density residential development in very close proximity to the site.”

Hundreds of apartments have been built in the area over the last two decades, bordering the site at Blossom Bank and Cannons Wharf in particular.

Further concerns were raised about the storage of the dismantled structures and the equipment required to carry out the task before they are taken away, given that the area is on the flood plain – and also the ‘visual impact’.

The planning department also questioned what would replace the holders, saying the plan was ‘scant and insufficient’ – and the likelihood of leaks.

It said: “More specific details should be provided explaining how the voids will be filled and with what material, contingency plans in the unlikely event of contaminant escape, how contaminated water/sludge will be stored on site.”

Matt Boughton, TMBC’s Councillor for Medway ward, said: “The gasholders are a key landmark in our town and it is right that the Council only allows them to be demolished when full details have been submitted and accepted.

“This would ensure that there are no adverse impacts for local residents considering the history of works here.

“It is clear from this application that SGN wish to change the nature of the site. As the local planning authority it is essential that TMBC can shape its future use so that any changes enhance the town. I will continue to work hard to make sure this happens.”


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