Goodbye to gas holder ‘metal monstrosity’

Tony and Sarah Cornwell from the Windmill pub with local councillor Pru Moore infront of the Gasometer which is going to be knocked down

Tony and Sarah Cornwell from the Windmill pub with local councillor Pru Moore infront of the Gasometer which is going to be knocked down

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A “metal monstrosity” landmark in Burgess Hill is destined for demolition to make way for a housing site.

Neighbours living in the cyclindrical shadow of the towering disused gas holder off Leylands Road will be standing by for some disruption.

The gas holder has been part of the landscape for more than half a century.

When it was first built it brought good news for the area, because it stabilised and controlled the modern gas supply to thousands of people.

Much older residents will remember that it was also a pick-up point for coal supplies, in some case people adapting prams for coal-carriers.

Several years ago graffiti artists were brave enough to scale its steel steps to add a dash of colour to its dulled surfaces.

Over the decades the large Leylands Park estate has grown up around it, with the gas holder looming over homes.

The gas holder has also provided a long-lived backdrop to the Windmill pub in Leylands Road, run by Tony and Sarah Cornwell.

Tony said: “It’s nice having the wild land by the site, with all the nature and the butterflies.

“But on the other hand the gasometer is a great big metal monstrosity. It does spoil the skyline, but then if you get blocks of flats it might not be much better.”

The site is included in potential local housing site policy but is likely to need contamination checks and remedial work before any housing is started, and no housing application has yet been submitted. Southern Gas Networks has notified Mid Sussex District Council of its intention to demolish the redundant gas holder, and a planning officer is considering the scheme.

Local district councillor Pru Moore said: “Six years ago when I was elected I made it my mission to get the wretched thing brought down. This site is a very expensive brown field site, expensive as it has to be cleaned up. Officers have done everything they can to assist the owners to make this viable.

“This is magic to those who have lived in its shadow for years. It will be noisy, messy and disruptive to bring it down but it will be worth it in the end. I am going to be working very closely with the residents and planners to ensure minimal disruption to everyone.”