Gas holders to come down early. Ask the developers!

Gasholders 1 and 2

Landmark to be demolished?


Planning permission for the site preparation on the Heartlands was agreed by Haringey Council on March 10th, following the two development forums in the West Indian Cultural Centre. By now all local residents and businesses should have received a letter from Keith Johnston at the National Grid and a glossy leaflet entitled the ‘Business and Community Liaison Group’. The key information there is as follows:
• the preparation of the site (including dismantling the gas holders) for development will start in spring 2015 and run for 18 months
• a ‘development partner’ (ie. the company that will build the planned housing) will be selected in the summer of 2015
• a ‘Business and Community Liaison Group’ is being set up to represent local concerns throughout the site preparation
• a closed meeting of this Group is to be held on November 10th prior to National Grid submitting its Environmental Management Plan for the approval of Haringey Council.

Five local residents (Marcus Ballard, Polly de Boer, Roger Kemp, Ryan King and John Miles) represented PMRA at an earlier meeting with National Grid, their engineers, contractors, and their local liaison firm, on July 24th. Bill Godber and Jane Goodsir from Turnaround Publishing represented local businesses. The Liaison Group Terms of Reference propose these arrangements will continue, with PMRA entitled to three people at each monthly meeting. National Grid, as they are required to do, are now inviting further declarations of interest in the Liaison Group. PMRA will be involved in negotiation with anyone who comes forward.

The meeting in July was constructive, and reassuring with respect to the future of the lime trees on Hornsey Park Road, for example. Nevertheless, once the site engineers (Atkins), and contractors (Colemans) begin talking directly to residents and businesses, new concerns may emerge. PMRA are confident the Liaison Group will offer a platform where we can energetically pursue a resolution of any problems – whether to do with security, noise, vibration, or traffic congestion. We think the Group will offer a foundation for our ongoing discussions about the development - where PMRA will be pursuing our community's proposals for a Pocket Park around the lime trees. The first public opportunity for residents to discuss what’s going on will now be at the PMRA AGM on Tuesday, November 18th 2014. Come along – everyone is welcome!

JM - 3rd November, 2014


The section 73 planning application was approved this evening: seven votes in favour, one against and one abstention. The Head of Planning's addendum took up very few of our proposed amendments (particularly those to do with phasing). The directors of Turnaround spoke eloquently and with passion on the threat the proposal posed to the Brook Road and their businesses.

Councillors were clearly bothered by the position Turnaround are in, and perplexed that Haringey officials had not made a better job of identifying and contacting the Brooke Road businesses. The relationship between condition 22 and condition 68 was slightly amended to reinforce the dialogue promised through the Resident and Business Liaison Group. It wasn't clear why there was then neither an offer from the National Grid, nor a proposal from the council officers to meet the businesses immediately once permission was granted.

Colin Marr, for Alexandra Palace Conservation Area Consultative Committee also objected, specifically on the grounds of a failure to respect the area's heritage (aka Hornsey Gas Holder no.1). This sparked a flurry of concern among councillors and a legal intervention about what could and could not be discussed with respect to the application. The discussion led the Head of Planning agreeing an Informative requiring the preservation of materials from the site. National Grid said they are talking to English Heritage but repeated their position that, as the gas-holders are steel, they are not viable as monuments. Deloitte rejected Colin's assertion that National Grid cannot find a developer without demolishing Holder no.1.

After the meeting, we spoke to Keith Johnston from National Grid about the works currently on site. He said he had known nothing about them. The fencing going up is to do with the expectations of the different land-owners - he was apologetic and thought it would all be very different once the contractor was appointed.

We will now ask for the promised meetings with Haringey officials and, separately National Grid.


We had a good, well attended meeting considering we couldn't leaflet and that, on the night, the tube strike meant many had had long days or hadn't even made it home, in some cases.

National Grid (also caught by the lack of tube) sent a full team of senior project people, which we very much appreciated. They didn't bring their preferred contractor, which was fine because there seemed agreement to meet again, after the DMF on the 12th February.

What was clear to the meeting was that the planning side of this still looks disorganised. National Grid seemed to accept our concerns on the lack of clarity on what is actually being asked for by the S.73 application: we therefore need the planners to accept the concerns and respond by creating clarity and committing to apply robust conditions in any S.73 permission to cover them off. We have in mind issues such as the approval (following due public consultation) of details of the 'site preparation works' - tree and ecological surveys and tree protection plans, hoardings, vehicular access, etc. Things like noise and working hours, we feel should be addressed now because the S.73 permission will influence the terms of the demolition contract: we have asked for quiet times, no demolitions at weekends and that the needs of local businesses are respected as well as (the food factory, café, recording and TV studios, Olympia Trading Estate, etc.).

We have written to the planners today and hope our letter will be accepted in the spirit in which it is intended: we are only asking that the planning process is handled thoroughly and fairly, and that nothing is taken for granted or the position under the Outline permission weakened. We need the planners to support this and to work with us, as well as National Grid. We have asked, through Cllr Strickland, ward councillor for a meeting with senior officers in the planning department and National Grid, so that all concerns get covered and agreement reached based on understanding of our respective positions.

The programme for getting everything agreed, permission granted, details approved and the work underway is ambitious: there is talk of work starting at the end of April, 2014 and the contractor being on standby under a 'letter of intent'. It is not in the interests of residents for the work to be delayed it if it means noisy and dirty work taking place in high summer, when we want to be able to enjoy our gardens and have our windows open. Equally, our concerns must be addressed and things not rushed through. We are facing 7 or more years of development and disruption and can't afford to get this wrong.

You can view a record of the meeting here


The committee met last night [29th January] and confirmed the main agenda item [PMRA General Meeting 5th February, 2014] as the S.73 application and the Preliminary Site Works.

We would like to devote the first hour to this and very much hope you will get the technical minds from National Grid to the meeting, as agreed last November and earlier this month. The issues for discussion are all site based and practical and, as far as we are concerned intimately bound into the S.73 application. They are ones that are not, as far as we can see addressed in the application documents. They are also ones we know Haringey council has, historically had only the most perfunctory (if any) interest in (planners and their highways colleagues advising). Thus, we are looking to discuss matters that are really for the residents and applicant.

In terms of outcome, we would hope to be able to go forward to the Development Management Forum [12th February, 2014 at the West Indian Cultural Centre, Clarendon Road, N8] with our concerns resolved with respect to Preliminary Site Works. We also hope it will lead to a 'start as you mean to go on position' as between NG and residents and ultimately to a contract between National Grid and its contractor with established and productive relationships and structures in place. The meeting is not seeking to replicate the Development Management Forum - quite the opposite, in fact. Hope this makes sense.

Please let me know who will be attending and anything you feel it would be useful for us to know in advance, to get the best out of the time. I don't think you need to bring any material, unless it is to point to particular parts of the application documents, to help answer a question. If you bring the documents on a memory stick, we can provide a laptop and projector.

We look forward to hearing from you asap.



We will be meeting the developers for Heartlands on Wednesday the 13th of November at the Church Hall, Grace Baptist Church, Park Ridings, N8 (shopping city end, see also here).


Cllr Alan Strickland, ward councillor and Cabinet member for Regeneration and Housing has confirmed his attendance and we also have members of the town centre's Wood Green Action Group coming.

We have also invited representatives from the Clarendon Road businesses.


Questions we would like to ask are:

  • what is involved in taking out gas holders, eg what must be dug out, how deep is the excavation, what noise is involved
  • where are the major works on this project
  • how close to the boundaries will you be working
  • will the bund and retaining wall at the back of some properties in HPR be retained?
  • how will noise be controlled? We have already had 18 months of noise from the train depot project
  • how will dust be controlled and monitored throughout the process and what account has been taken of the cumulative effects of your project and local poor air quality/pollution. What air quality study are you working to?
  • does any part of the decontamination process involve dissipation to the air? If so, how have you established wind direction and local conditions, particularly following construction of the new train depot?
  • will you clean windows and building fronts that suffer the effects of increased dust
  • there were bats in the area last summer: has the site been checked for roosts?
  • how will you ensure no traffic can enter or leave the site via HPR
  • can you give an absolute commitment that the spine road will remain open at its full capacity, throughout the works
  • are any works or closures planned in HPR?
  • how will you protect the TPO lime trees in HPR: we want a commitment that the site boundary to be the existing chain link fencing and the open space on HPR to remain at this time
  • by how much will the existing ground level be reduced?
  • can the railway be used to remove spoil?
  • how will you ensure traffic from the site will not enter HPR from either end, as it leaves or arrives in the area?
  • how will you ensure the already severely congested junction at HPR/Turnpike Lane+Clarendon Road will not cause congestion in HPR and increased use of local roads
  • are you aware that the council plans major road works in Wood Green High Road in 2014-15 and that this is likely to increase traffic in the area. The is also and increasing number of road closures at Alexandra Palace which are accompanied by diversions through HPR
  • are there any other street works planned in the same period - we have had more than 5 years of major utility works affecting our area
  • will the Moselle culvert be exposed at any time?
  • will National Grid consider making any sale or development conditional on matters not in the outline permission (we are thinking here about corporate responsibility, supporting communities and the environment, and localism.
  • how do you work with the community to ensure strict observance of site rules, dealing with problems as they occur (regardless of whether they were foreseen) and ensure continuous improvements

The text above is an update to this post, the original is below:

A letter from National Grid has been delivered to residents on proposals to seek permission from Haringey Council to start demolition of the gas holders early 2014. The letter invited residents to a public exhibition at Wood Green Library on the 9th and 10th October. We will be contacting the promoters asking for an evening meeting with residents closer to home. Our immediate concerns, apart from those relating to the redevelopment, are:




  • Working hours and quiet times of the day, i.e. nothing before 8am or after 6pm on week days, nothing on Saturday before 8am or after 12pm and no works on Sundays or Bank Holidays: there should also be no noisey works before 9am or after 5pm or between 12pm and 2pm, so there are quiet peiods of the day (unlike our recent experience with the railway shed, when noisey works all day were followed by night time works)
  • No contractor or delivery vehicles in Hornsey Park Road
  • Control of dust and vibration
  • No works in the vicinity of the lime trees
  • Regular meetings and updates for residents
  • Detailed proposals on any decontamination works and measures to esnure residents are not affected
  • Overall programme, so that the works are done, as far as possible before the summer and don't go on for ever
  • As an aside, having been neighbours of the gas holders for generations, we feel it would be appropriate to be invited to meet then and bid them farewell. A visit to see them up close would be much appreciated.

Use our web site to make your views known or contact National Grid on

2 comments on “Gas holders to come down early. Ask the developers!”

  1. I was under the impression that these gas holders were listed? Why are they being taken down at all?

Related posts:

    • Environment

    • The stressful street – a promising discussion about Hornsey Park Road

      Life on Hornsey Park Road has been plagued with problems including noise, pollution and crumbling pavements, on top of this there appears to be a lack of strategic vision for the future. Council Leader Peray Ahmet and a few of her fellow councillors came to discuss the issues with our representatives.

    • A greener neighbourhood in 2022?

      Eight of us got out before the rain last Saturday. We cut back a lot of growth at the Lavender Garden ready for winter. Most of what we cleared has now gone down for composting. By John Miles

    • Parkside Malvern

    • Gardeners and critics unite!

      The loss of trees is becoming an issue locally. The wonderful false acacia at the junction of Mayes Road and Coburg Road was removed because it ‘had a fungus’ - just in time for the planning application to build on the petrol station site beside it.

      Photo: The gardening team – John. Ben, Polly and John – out on a Saturday morning

  • © Parkside Malvern Residents Association 

    linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram