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Work under way to demolish Victorian gas holders as bid to save them is too late

PUBLISHED: 16:45 26 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:45 26 July 2018

John and Danny Brunton, of Brunton Building Ltd, who attempted to save Norwich's gas holders as part of a development. Picture: David Hannant

John and Danny Brunton, of Brunton Building Ltd, who attempted to save Norwich's gas holders as part of a development. Picture: David Hannant

DH

Work is under way to demolish one of the most recognisable features of the Norwich skyline, despite a last ditch bid to save it.

The gas holder at Gas Hill. Plans have been put forward to demolish it. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe gas holder at Gas Hill. Plans have been put forward to demolish it. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Permission was granted to dismantle the city’s last remaining gas holder - on Gas Hill - earlier this year, after the National Grid deemed them surplus to requirements.

Directors of a Brundall-based building company had hoped they would be able to salvage the towering structures by incorporating them into the design of a residential development on the site.

However, with work now having started, John Brunton, of Brunton Building Ltd, has admitted defeat in this battle, with the National Grid telling him it was too late to retain the structure.

Mr Brunton, who runs the firm alongside his son Danny, said: “It is a great shame, the gas holders are important structures that have been there for years, so it would have been a wonderful opportunity.

“We first looked at the possibility two years ago, but were not in a position to be able to make it happen. We are now, but unfortunately it is too late, which is disappointing.”

A spokesman for the National Grid confirmed discussions had taken place with Mr Brunton, however, it was too late for an agreement to be reached.

A spokesman said: “Unfortunately, by the time Mr Brunton approached us, we already had the permission and the process had already started, so it was not possible for him. We explained the situation to him and he was very understanding of it.”

Work to dismantle the structure and remove any redundant equipment from the site began earlier this month, and is planned to last until January 2019, with the land eventually made available for purchase.

When this time comes, Mr Brunton said his firm would still be greatly interested in developing the site.

He said: “This is not over by any means, we still have several ideas for how we could make use of the site without the structures.

“One of the options would be to design something that reflects the gas holders and pays tribute to the site’s rich history.”

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