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Talk of closing gasworks is not just hot air

PUBLISHED: 18:45 16 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:12 05 October 2010

Julia... talks on closing the gasworks to make way for a park

Julia... talks on closing the gasworks to make way for a park

THE massive Bromley-by-Bow gasworks in East London could be closed down in the next five years. Talks have been going on to turn the site into a huge new park along the River Lea.

By Alistair Kleebauer

THE massive Bromley-by-Bow gasworks in East London could be closed down in the next five years, the Advertiser has learned.

Talks have been going on to turn the site into a huge new park along the River Lea.

Officials from Thames Gateway Development Corporation have been thrashing out plans to create the 148-acre Lea River Park, stretching two miles from Bow Bridge to Canning Town along the river banks.

It would incorporate seven of the eight giant Victorian gasometers which are Grade II-listed structures.

The development corporation has approached the National Grid which operates Bromley gasworks.

"We have spoken to National Grid about decommissioning the gas holders," said their chief designer Julia Humphreys.

"We've been thinking of ways to include them into the park once the gasworks have closed.

"But no decision has been reached yet. We're still in talks."

The gasometers were constructed in the early 1870s. They would be 'decommissioned' in the next five years if plans to close the site are agreed.

Production ceased at Bromley in 1972, but the site has remained in use for storing natural gas ever since.

Julia is flying to New York next month on a four-week scholarship from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, the Government's advisory body, to see how American city planners design their urban parks.

She will use ideas on her return to London for the new Lea River Park in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics.

"New York has many parks, so it's a good place to study," she points out.

"The new park will be near the Olympic site, so it could have live events or film screenings."

Four new bridges over the River Lea are also included in her design plans as part of a 28-mile 'green walk' along the banks.

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