The Borough of Lambeth Planning Committee voted 3:3 to grant planning consent for the comprehensive redevelopment of the Oval Gasworks site in Lambeth, South London. After a long period of public consultation, presentations, workshops and stakeholder meetings, the first site in the regeneration masterplan near Oval Cricket Ground, will progress.
Oval Gas Works is a secure compound with no public access and is designated as a Key Industrial Business Area (KIBA). GRID worked with Lambeth Council and Berkeley Homes to produce a wider area masterplan ( OAKDA ) which was used as the basis of the de-designation and decommissioning of the site. The 5.5 hectares masterplan started in 2013 and covered a number of sites under various ownerships. These were mostly within the restricted development zone found round gas holders which restricts density and uses within the potential blast radius.
GRID submitted a detailed planning application for the largest site in the masterplan, the Oval Gasworks site, in 2017. Containing 4 gasholders, the site has a rich history from water works to gas works. During the design process the principal Gasholder No.1 was listed as local landmark seen by millions across the world as the backdrop to cricket test matches. Built in 1892 the 65m diameter frame was the biggest in the world at the time and sits above a 13m deep water tank. After careful surveys and structural assessment GRID is working with specialist restorers to develop methodology for removal and repair before re-instatement as a free standing structure round a new residential building.
This will be a vast drum in three lifts of faceted metal with a circular and light coloured inner lightwell. To the ground floor are concierge and leisure facilities overlooking a lower ground swimming pool and garden. The form above steps back to allow full appreciation of the gasholder framework and generous landscaped terraces. The other gasholders, constituting almost all the remainder of the site, will be removed though much of the original metalwork reused within the landscape.
In addition to No. 1 Gasholder, there are a series of perimeter block which form the new streets and enclose contain private gardens. Modern architecture will combine with the industrial heritage to create ‘The Generator,’ large workspace building designed to offer flexible employment space. With fully visible and active frontages the critical mass will help Oval and Kennington become a series employment magnet.
The regeneration of the 2 hectare Oval Gas Works will transform a derelict site into a vibrant, mixed use community of 738 new homes with shops, cafes and offices. Creating nearly 1.65 acres of public space there will be a series of tree-lined green routes and two new public spaces. There will be new through routes and cycle paths, opening up the once inaccessible site for the first time in 150 years.