A walk around the south-western end of Greenwich Peninsula to take some pictures of the under-threat-of-demolition gasholder. There seems to be a growing realisation in the area that this will be missed when it’s gone, but the chances of saving it via the planning process seem slim, unless owners SGN (a gas distribution network) have a change of heart and decide to develop along similar lines to the King’s Cross gasholder.
The most visible remaining symbol of Greenwich peninsula’s industrial past is moving closer to demolition. As I understand it, the owners wish (and have permission) to demolish it for future development, Historic England have refused to list it, national government backs the developers, and Greenwich council has taken its eye off the ball by approving plans for demolition rather than upholding its own Planning Policy brief, which says “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”.
In my view its a hugely wasted opportunity to maintain an historic feature of the local skyline.
There’s a petition to save it from demolition here: https://www.change.org/p/royal-borough-of-greenwich-southern-gas-networks-save-the-nationally-important-east-greenwich-gas-holder-from-demolition.
A brisk walk from North Greenwich down the east side of Greenwich Peninsula with the sun out and a very cold chill coming off the river. The Antony Gormley statue, cable car, Farmopolis, and the boats of Greenwich Yacht Club all make this section of the river feel quite different to Charlton riverside, though it’s just round the bend of the river. The gas works have long gone and the flats have gone up and are going up still further (with terrible ‘settler’-themed advertising hoardings which I really should photography for posterity at some point). Soon the O2 Arena will be barely visible at ground level around here; it only seems 5 minutes since it was the only thing to look at on the peninsula.
Down to the Thames by the Anchor & Hope in Charlton on a crisp, cold early December day; the pollution layer that’s been hanging over London for the last few days very evident in the clear skies. Views north across the river to Silvertown give a clue as to how the south side of the river could look when the planned Charlton riverside development has replaced the remnants of industry in a few years time. Looking west, it’s suddenly noticeable that views of Canary Wharf and the O2 Arena are starting to disappear, obscured by new developments on Greenwich Peninsula. London needs more housing, but it’ll be worse for the loss of links with its industrial past.
Click images for full-size
Shot from Charlton Road, overlooking the A102 Blackwall Tunnel approach. The Olympic Stadium is already staring to disappear behind new developments (view full-size, squint and you might see the top of it just to the left of the Orbit). At some point I guess we can expect the Millennium Dome to get similarly obscured.
Here’s a similar view from 2010:
No buildings on the Peninsula between Dome and Greenwich Millennium Village, no cable car, no sign of the Olympic developments. I just wish the 2010 shot included the “eco” Sainsbury’s which has since been demolished (unthinkable at the time).
Putting this together tells me I should a) get a long lens for my Fuji, b) take these more often (and catalogue them better in my archives).
There was a time, presumably, when the planners thought that the newly-cleaned up Greenwich peninsula was a blank canvas, there to be planned into the perfect modern development. It hasn’t worked out that way: recessions, landbanking, viability assessment-gaming developers, and the passage of time have all seen that idea off. What will it look like when it’s finished? I suspect no one has any real idea.