The second application to demolish the Victorian gasometers at Bell Green in Lower Sydenham has been received by Lewisham Council.
Southern Gas Networks have applied to Lewisham Council for prior approval to demolish the locally listed structures. Full papers are here.
The campaign to retain the historic structures was given a boost when peregrine falcons were spotted in April. The refusal of the first application for approval to demolish followed shortly after. An account with photographs is here.
In the papers submitted in the second application for prior approval of demolition a Falco Peregrinus survey is attached. It states that no nesting birds were found but dramatically describes how “Part way through the aerial assessment, a male peregrine flew in from the west and landed on the top of the western side of the northern gas holder. Once the bird was spotted, the drone was immediately called in to land, safely away from the peregrine. The bird then perched on the structure for approximately five minutes before flying away and circling the surrounding area. A female peregrine then joined the male in flight from elsewhere (off-site) and they flew together in the vicinity of the site for around 10 minutes before flying out of sight.”
The law protects Peregrin Falcons and it is a criminal offence to intentionally or recklessly kill, injure or take a Peregrine. Nests and eggs are also protected and it is an offence to take, damage or destroy the nest of a wild bird while it is in use or being built or to take or destroy the eggs.
An even earlier application to replace the gas holders with shops was refused by Lewisham Council’s planning committee.
Bellingham Councillor Alan Hall said: “These historic gas holders survived an earlier attempt to demolish them by Southern Gas Networks, they survived Lewisham Council’s planning committee and they survived World War II and bombing raids. They are now under threat again.”
Meanwhile, on twitter a young Peregrine Falcon was spotted
Young #PeregrineFalcon perched on the #gasholder frame at #BellGreen on Monday eve. Sad that #Sydenham would prefer retail warehouses to rare falcons and an even rarer slice of #industrialarchitecture, as #SGN move to #demolish and proceed with the #blandification of #London. pic.twitter.com/d9LYzJ0SMq
— James D Evans (@JamesEvansPhoto) July 2, 2018
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