Ga­some­ters fac­ing the fi­nal whis­tle


Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By CHRIS SLATER [email protected]­i­tymir­

THE iconic ga­some­ters in east Manch­ester could be turned into hous­ing, it has been re­vealed.

The huge iron struc­tures dom­i­nate the sky­line in the Brad­ford area of Beswick, im­me­di­ately be­hind City’s Eti­had Sta­dium – but they are ob­so­lete and coun­cil bosses have pre­vi­ously de­scribed them as ‘key con­straints’ to re­gen­er­a­tion in the area.

That could be about to change after their own­ers, the Na­tional Grid, has ear­marked them for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment.

The pair are at one of 40 for­mer gas­work sites across the coun­try the util­ity firm wants to re­de­velop.

Na­tional Grid wants to en­ter into a part­ner­ship with po­ten­tial de­vel­op­ers rather than sim­ply sell­ing them off. No firm plans have been an­nounced and dis­cus­sions are at an early stage, the firm says.

It’s not yet clear if the metal struc­tures would be part of the any de­vel­op­ment or be pulled down to make way for them.

The ga­some­ters at Kings Cross in Lon­don were turned into lux­ury flats with the frames re­main­ing as part of the de­sign. In other ar­eas, in­clud­ing Bolton and Stret­ford, the struc­tures have been dis­man­tled and torn down. Hous­ing isn’t the only with pos­si­bil­ity with bosses say­ing they will ‘ex­plore all op­tions.’ Any plans would be sub­ject to plan­ning per­mis­sion.

Ben Gaunt, head of land de­vel­op­ment for Na­tional Grid, said: “Brad­ford Road is one of around 40 for­mer gas­works sites we own in the north west which we want to re­gen­er­ate. We want to work with part­ners, such as lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and hous­ing de­vel­op­ers, to see how we can best bring th­ese brown­field sites back to life to en­hance lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

“Last week we started a cam­paign to pub­li­cise the ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for re­gen­er­at­ing our sites, so we can’t yet say how we might de­velop the Brad­ford Road site. We will let peo­ple know more as soon as we can.”

Gas hold­ers be­came a com­mon land­mark in ma­jor Bri­tish cities from the Vic­to­rian era on­wards, pro­vid­ing gas for densely-pop­u­lated ar­eas. They stored large vol­umes of gas, with the iron frame sur­round­ing an in­ner cham­ber which would lift de­pend­ing on how much was be­ing stored.

The dis­cov­ery of gas in the North Sea in the 1960s saw the gas in­dus­try in towns go into de­cline. Gas hold­ers be­came less use­ful, with most gas be­ing trans­ported via high pres­sure pipes.

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