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EAST END WATERWAY GROUP

NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2018

GASHOLDER SPECIAL 1

BETHNAL GREEN GASHOLDERS No.2 AND No.5 AND THE TOWER HAMLETS LOCAL PLAN 2031

(SITE ALLOCATION 1.3 MARIAN PLACE GAS WORKS THE OVAL)

LBTH LOCAL PLAN EXAMINATION

ROOM MP701 TOWN HALL MULBERRY PLACE

The examination in public started on 6 September 2018 and site allocation 1.3, together with the other six site allocations in the City Fringe will be examined on Thursday 11 October 2018, starting promptly at 2 pm.
girders

Two consultants will be representing the developer St William and I will be representing the East End Waterway Group. Members of the public may attend and I hope it will be possible for several or more people to attend in support of the East End Waterway Group (please try to arrive and be seated before the 2 pm start).

NB Main modifications to the plan are only considered where they are necessary to make the plan sound and/or legally compliant.

Apologies for not keeping you informed at each stage in the long Local Plan process. Here is a summary of the five stages with relevant information and the most serious issues:

  1. JANUARY 2017

EEWG online petition to save three historic gasholders with 3,912 signatures, sent in response to Local Plan consultation.

  1. OCTOBER 2017

A representations response form was completed and sent in on behalf of EEWG and the 3,912 people who signed our petition, together with:

Similar representation response forms also sent in by:

FRIENDS OF THE REGENT’S CANAL

REGENT’S NETWORK

SAVE BRITAIN’S HERITAGE

EAST LONDON HISTORY SOCIETY

LUCY ROGERS

FORMER CLLR. CLARE HARRISION (ST PETER’S WARD)

Representations were also made by National Grid Property Holdings and St William (joint venture company set up by National Grid and Berkeley Homes)in support of their intention to clear the Bethnal Green Holder Station for housing.

NB The holder station is referred to incorrectly by Tower Hamlets as the Marian Place Gas Works. It forms the north-central part only of site allocation 1.3, which includes adjoining property on the east side of Pritchard’s Road (south of Marian Place), both sides of Emma Street (and adjoining part of Hackney Road), west side of the Oval and east side (north of Grove Passage), and parts of Corbridge Crescent.

  1. APRIL 2018

As a result of all seven representations for the in situ retention of the:

  • No.2 gasholder guide frame on its in-ground brick tank for a circular canalside park (like Gasholder Park at King’s Cross)

  • No.5 gasholder guide frame on its in-ground concrete tank for a circular block of flats to be built inside the retained in situ guide frame

Local Plan officers just added “gasholders no.2 and no.5” to the site allocation’s second design principle about retaining reusing and enhancing the existing heritage assets. And responded negatively to all our other requests. However, in response to a representation by National Grid, alterations were made regarding the costs of decommissioning and decontamination. And, on a more positive note something was added about the Regent’s Canal Conservation Area, at the request of Historic England and The Canal & River Trust. The CRT also requested that the gasholders be retained in situ. Officers responded by stating that it was not “necessary to include the word in situ as the exact location of the gasholders will be determined through the development management process”

NB The No.2 and No.5 gasholders are located in the Regent’s Canal Conservation Area.

  1. JULY 2018

An EEWG Hearing Statement with photographs in three appendices sent to answer a formal question about the heritage assets in site allocation 1.3, put by the inspector examining the Local Plan. The statement seeks to clarify a number of points, including the fact that our proposal for in situ retention would not be “ prohibitively expensive” (National Grid). And lists all the ways in which the adequate recognition of the two historic gasholders is seriously diminished by officer responses.

It also states that Local Plan Policy S.DH3 para. 6 applies to the two historic gas holders in the Regent’s Canal Conservation Area. And explains that the No. 2 gasholder (1866) is the world’s second oldest surviving gasholder and is the earliest and most ‘classical’ surviving example of its type.

The statement at no.7 refers to the 2012 NPPF which was superseded in July 2018:

  • tenth core planning principle (NPPF para.17) now in NPPF para. 184

  • NPPF para. 58 second and fourth bullet points now in NPPF para. 127(d) and (c)

  • NPPF para. 126 first bullet point now in NPPF para. 185 (a)

  • NPPF para. 138 is now NPPF para. 201

  1. AUGUST 2018

Copies of three LBTH documents received from independent administrator:

(a) LBTH RESPONSE TO MAIN MATTER 10 (with respect to site allocation 1.3) refers to historic gasholders in Regent's Canal Conservation Area but fails to mention Local Plan Policy S.DH3 para. 6.

Costs of retaining gasholders provided by St William: for both gasholders £16,778,459 with only 20% -25% affordable housing. No details are given, but this deliberately prohibitive cost probably includes dismantling, transport, refurbishment and reinforcement on re-assembly etc etc, and ignores our proposal for in situ retention.

(b) LBTH RESPONSE (with respect to site allocation 1.3) gives objectives of design principles, making it clear that the heritage assets are to be preserved and enhanced “on site” rather than in situ: And rewording the fourth design principle to protect the integrity of the canal and The Oval fro m “excessive overshadowing”. The first objective prevents our in situ proposal and probably means that just a few bits and pieces would be retained as part of the landscaping; and the second objective prevents a block of flats being built inside the 146-foot-high No.5 gasholder guide frame.

Claims that the site diagram (figure 25) has been amended to “show the current location of the gasholders…which support the council’s aspiration for their retention”. The site diagram has not been amended.

(c) STATEMENT OF COMMON GROUND BETWEEN LBTH AND ST WILLIAM (signed 26 July 2018) a statement will be included in the introductory section relating to all site allocations, which allows specific site allocation requirements to be flexible to ensure viability and deliverability. As St William’s excessive cost of retaining the two historic gasholders would have a negative impact on viability and deliverability, the ambiguous site allocation requirement for the retention and reuse of the gasholders can be changed during secret pre-application discussions so that only salvaged parts are retained as parts of the landscaping.

It was also agreed that the one hectare of open space is consolidated rather than fragmented across different site ownerships. This means that the consolidated open space is likely to be provided on the south-western, southern or eastern boundary of the holder station and effectively prevents our proposal for a small park in the No.2 gasholder guide frame. This is next to the north-western boundary of the holder station, which is also the boundary of the site allocation (from the end of Marian Place to the canal).

The No.5 gasholder guide frame is near the eastern boundary next to an adjacent separate land ownership; and it is likely that the No.5 gasholder would be demolished for a consolidated open space partly provided by St. William and partly by the adjacent land owner.

AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO OPEN SPACE IN SITE ALLOCATION 1.3

view of kings X
As our proposals for the No.2 & No.5 guide frames would retain the full magnificence and structural integrity of the only surviving in situ gasholder guide frames on the Regent’s Canal and help deliver open space and housing (and the residents in the circular block of flats would pay for the insurance and maintenance of both historic guide frames on their in-ground tanks).

St William could provide all or part of its proportion of open space as a gasholder park within the retained No.2 gasholder guide frame; and other landowners could provide their proportions of open space either separately or jointly.

A gasholder park linked with other small parks within the site allocation would complement the new hard open space in The Oval and provide much needed cohesion in this important area between the Regent’s Canal and Hackney Road.

The only problem is the Council’s insistence on the entire one hectare of consolidated open space being “usable for sport and recreation” which incidentally is opposed by St William. As this part of St Peter’s Ward is already deficient in public open space, there is clearly an existing need for improved sport and active recreation and passive recreation.

A gasholder park in the No.2 gasholder guide frame would provide much-needed passive recreation by the canal and the other small parks would provide passive and/or active recreation. Whilst additional football pitches should be provided in Weavers’ Fields and Victoria Park.

Tom Ridge

(020 8981 7361)

5 October 2018

 

new eewg logo East End Waterway Group
PATRON JIM FITZPATRICK MP POPLAR AND LIMEHOUSE
Local residents, schools, community groups, amenity societies and businesses working with the Canal & River Trust, Tower Hamlets Council and others for the protection and beneficial use of the six-mile waterway ring, its historic buildings, structures and habitats.
Copyright © 2018 EAST END WATERWAY GROUP, All rights reserved.


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