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Planners turn off pilot light on planning near gas site

PUBLISHED: 17:10 15 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:41 05 October 2010

PLANNING permission mistakenly given on a site a few metres from Britain s biggest gasholder has been revoked. Tower Hamlets councillors finally squashed the permission at a strategic development committee hearing last Thursday. It marks the beginning o

PLANNING permission mistakenly given on a site a few metres from Britain's biggest gasholder has been revoked.

Tower Hamlets councillors finally squashed the permission at a strategic development committee hearing last Thursday.

It marks the beginning of the end for a three year fiasco, with bungling council chiefs and councillors costing the taxpayer more than £4million.

Council chief executive has launched an investigation into what went wrong after planning officers forgot to consult the Health and Safety Executive for their views on a proposed four-storey development in The Oval, Bethnal Green, in 2005.

The site backs on to National Grid Gas's huge gasometer complex by the Regent's Canal.

The HSE claimed placing new homes there increased the risk of a "catastrophic" fireball.

But council planning officers, who admitted gas leaks were frequent in the area, said the HSE was "over-stating" the risk and proposed erecting "no smoking" and "no barbecue" signs in site's back-yard.

Tower Hamlets council is now negotiating to buy The Oval site from developers Neptune for £3.6million and work with National Grid Gas to dismantle the gasholders, store gas underground and eventually build new homes there.

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