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Sadness as demolition of Norwich’s final Victorian gas holder is confirmed

PUBLISHED: 09:08 24 February 2018 | UPDATED: 18:05 24 February 2018

The gas holder at Gas Hill. Plans have been put forward to demolish it. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The gas holder at Gas Hill. Plans have been put forward to demolish it. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Norwich’s final gas holder, which dates back to Victorian times, is to be demolished - to the disappointment of campaigners who were fighting for it to be saved.

Mary Ash, from the Norwich Society. Picture: Denise BradleyMary Ash, from the Norwich Society. Picture: Denise Bradley

Despite Norwich City Council’s own conservation department saying it could not support the demolition of the 16-sided gas holder, officers in City Hall’s planning department has given approval for the National Grid to pull it down.

And that decision has been branded as “extremely disappointing” by civic watchdog The Norwich Society, who had said the city’s industrial heritage needed to be preserved.

Mary Ash, from the Norwich Society, had called for the Victorian structure to be kept. She said of the city council’s decision to allow demolition: “It’s extremely disappointing and I’m surprised at the city council. It feels like this is a decision which has been made behind closed doors, without taking into account the public feeling.

“I have looked at the EDP website and seen many comments from people who were in favour of retaining it. We were hoping it could perhaps have been retained with a small museum attached to it.

“It’s so sad to lose more of our industrial heritage. Thorpe Hamlet used to be the lifeblood of the city, with factories based there and that gas holder is really the last reminder of that.”

The city council’s own conservation department had said they could not support the demolition, while Norfolk County Council’s historic environment officer had also raised concerns.

But. the city council’s planning department, in its notice of approval for demolition said: “While the demolition of the structures may be regrettable, since they hold some historic value and form an important part of the city’s skyline, this aspect of the proposals is not relevant under the prior approval procedure.

“The council can only consider the method of demolition and the proposed restoration of the site.”

The gas holder, which was built in the 1890s, will be taken down from Gas Hill by the National Grid, as will an underground one nearby.

And the demolition is likely to mean major disruption for people living nearby. The work will involve between five to 16 lorries per day for each gas holder for about 54 weeks.

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