Bye bye Oxted gasholder: Eyesore could be removed this summer after the council agreed it should be demolished and replaced with 77 flats

January 12, 2018
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Oxted’s eyesore gasholder could be torn down this summer after plans to redevelop the site with 77 flats were approved.

The landmark decision was made by Tandridge District Council’s planning committee on Thursday (January 11), following a long debate and an attempt to have the application dismissed.

The huge 1960s gasholder, in Nursery Way off Station Road East, has not been used for more than 15 years.

Planners had recommended that a scheme proposed by developer St William to demolish it and replace it with 77 flats in two five-storey buildings, plus parking for 105 cars, be granted.

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However, a series of issues had been raised about the proposal, and almost 40 people commented on it on the council’s website.

Many were concerned about the size and height of the new apartment blocks, while others raised traffic concerns, and complained about a lack of any affordable housing.

Chairman of the planning committee Ken Harwood said: “There were people expressing concerns about the number of parking spaces, about the size of the new buildings, and rightly so, but at the end of the day the question is, does it measure up to what we want for Oxted and obviously the answer last night was yes, it does.

The gasholder has not been used for 15 years

“I think the overwhelming feeling was that thank God, after God knows how many years, the thing is coming down. Every time you drive in to Oxted, the first thing you see is the gasholder, and it’s not going to be there any more.”

Oxted councillor Beverley Connolly urged the committee to refuse the planning application, arguing it was creating a “ghetto” in the town centre.

“I do welcome the fact that the gasholder is being redeveloped; it has been a blot on Oxted’s landscape for too many years,” she said after the meeting. “But it needs to be the right development and I think this proposal was not right.”

Cllr Connolly moved three reasons for refusal – the overbearing size of the apartment blocks, the access on to Station Road East, and the fact the development will be gated.

“I am vehemently against a gated community in the town centre,” she said. “It doesn’t do anything for inclusivity, it turns it in to some sort of ghetto.”

The development includes 12 one-bedroom apartments, 51 two-bedroom apartments and 14 with three bedrooms. Access will be from the entrance opposite Boots in Station Road East.

Plans for the apartments at Oxted’s gasholder site
(Image: St William)

Also speaking after the meeting, council leader Martin Fisher said: “I am delighted that finally our long held objective of removing the gasholder will be achieved. This is such great news for the town, as it will be replaced with an attractive residential development which will benefit the area.”

One of the conditions of the planning permission was that the gasholder be fully photographed and recorded for posterity.

Work to demolish it could start this summer, the council said.

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Article source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/bye-bye-oxted-gasholder-eyesore-14126595


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