The site is located to the east of the city centre, on the steep slope of Gas Hill. It is 0.3 hectares in size. The site, consisting of the disused gas holder itself and small areas of incidental land, is flat. It is within an area with a mix of uses. It lies below the Thorpe wooded ridge, which includes the remains of the Benedictine St Leonards Priory to its east. It is above a pub, DIY store and housing to the west and south. There is also housing to the north of the site.
The site is between the St Matthews Conservation Area and the Thorpe Hamlet Conservation Area. The steepness of the chalk escarpment east of the site has prevented any major development, resulting in a ‘green wedge’ of trees and greenery, creating an important refuge for wildlife and open space. The ridge provides excellent views to and from the city centre, though there is no public access to the Thorpe wooded ridge at this point.
This brownfield site is in an accessible location for housing, close to Bishop Bridge local centre, the city centre, bus routes and the railway station.
The gas holder has been disused for a number of years. The site, along with the former gas holder site to its north (site R14), has been proposed for development through this plan by National Grid as they are no longer in use.
Design will have to take account of the site’s topography and development must not have a negative impact on geodiversity or on views to and from the Thorpe wooded ridge. As the ridge is identified as part of a green infrastructure corridor in policy 1 of the JCS design of the development should promote biodiversity.
Since the gas holder is locally listed and a significant local landmark, consideration should be given to retaining the existing gas holder structures as part of the design of the housing development. If this is not possible, it will be important to ensure its heritage interest is fully documented on Historic Environment Record.
The development will also have to address specific on site constraints relating to its former uses. Decommissioning of existing structures and removal of the hazardous substance consent will be required. If it does not prove possible to design a housing scheme which makes use of the existing gas holder structure, demolition will be required. Ground conditions and contamination assessments will also be necessary. As a minimum, protection and enhancement of geodiversity will include recording of geological features on site.
Access to the site will be via the existing access from Gas Hill.
Development needs to ensure that the water environment is protected. The site falls within Source Protection Zone 1, designated to protect water supplies, and therefore the water environment is particularly vulnerable in this location. Detailed discussions over this issue will be required with the Environment Agency to ensure that proposals are appropriate for the site and that the site is developed in a manner which protects the water environment.
The site is being actively promoted by the owner (National Grid) and is therefore judged to be capable of delivery during the plan period.
POLICY R13: Gas Holder at Gas Hill – housing development
The Gas Holder site at Gas Hill (0.3 hectares) is allocated for housing development. A minimum of 15 dwellings will be provided.
Development will not take place prior to the revocation of the hazardous substance consent and decommissioning of the site.
Design of the development must reflect its location adjacent to the Thorpe wooded ridge and must protect and enhance biodiversity and geodiversity.