Professional Construction Learners Gain Behind-The-Scenes View of the Demolition of Pride Park's Iconic Gas Chambers

Work to demolish two large gas-holders on Derby's Pride Park has been completed – and National Grid will soon put the site up for sale. Once a fundamental part of the city's gas network, the gas-holders have not been used since the turn of the millennium and have been dismantled to make way for regeneration of the site. At 12.8 and 11.2 metres high, their removal will change the city skyline and provide much-needed space for development.

 

National Grid began taking down the structures in March. The work involved pumping more than 88,000 cubic metres of water out of the gas-holders and recycling 4,000 tonnes of steel – weighing more than the Blackpool Tower.

Samantha Rendell, land regeneration manager at National Grid, said: "The gas-holders will feature strongly in local people's memories. However, they hadn't been used for many years, and this fantastic site – right at the centre of the busy Pride Park – can now be put to good use."

Prior to the summer break, construction learners from Derby College were at the site for a behind-the-scenes view of the heavy machinery bringing down the steel structures. Ms Rendell said: "It was great to show eager construction learners the work taking place on their doorstep and give them an insight into all the factors to consider when taking on a task like this."

Will Lambert, construction lecturer at Derby College, said it was a terrific experience for the learners. He said: "At the end of term it was great for the learners to get out of the classroom and on to a site like this to see the gas-holders being taken down. The learners plan to go on to do a variety of things such as; architecture, civil engineering, structural engineering, quantity surveying, building surveying and project management, so it's useful for them to see something a bit different like this project."

The site was once home to the vast Litchurch gasworks. Established at around 1860 and expanded further in 1915, Litchurch produced gas for Derby and beyond for years until the discovery of North Sea gas meant the site became used for storage alone. The gas-holders were built in the 1950s and 1960s to store gas before it was distributed to homes and businesses in the surrounding areas. Improvements in the national network mean gas can now be stored in the underground pipes and gas-holders are no longer needed.

The Pride Park site will soon be put onto the market via agents BNP PRE, and a high level of interest is anticipated. Derby City Council granted National Grid planning permission to demolish the gas-holders in May last year. The firm's application from the time stated: "Gas-holders no longer have an operational purpose in the storage of gas and they make no positive contribution to the surrounding area. The dismantling will therefore provide a high-quality brownfield site within a key regeneration opportunity area. There are no alternative options for the re-use of the gas-holders. Moreover, the vacant structures are a security and safety risk, in addition to being a financial, social and environmental burden."

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Last modified on Tuesday, 11 October 2016 13:43

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