Bromley-by-Bow Gasworks plans backed by Newham’s Strategic Development Committee

01 July 2024

After three years of design development and engagement, St William’s regeneration project proposals for Bromley-By-Bow Gasworks received backing of the London Borough of Newham’s Strategic Development Committee. The proposals have been shaped through an extensive community engagement programme and were supported by Historic England, the GLA and the Newham Design Review Panel. Next step is the finalisation of a Section 106 agreement, after which work can begin on site in 2025.

RSHP’s design for the 23 acres Bromley-by-Bow Gasworks site – dating back to the 1870s and home of the biggest collection of Victorian gasholders anywhere in the world – unlock one of the most technically complex regeneration areas in the Lower Lea Valley, historically one of the most fractured parts of London with the site itself being isolated and inaccessible to public use for over 150 years.

RSHP’s heritage-led transformation will provide a mixed-use development offering new high-quality homes, flexible to respond to changes in the market and housing needs and accommodating a wide range of residential apartment sizes and tenures. Flexible spaces are proposed for commercial, leisure and community uses, including accessible public open spaces and a new riverside park. 

The scheme is based on two building typologies, ‘gasholder’ and ‘pencil’ buildings. Gasholder buildings are located within each of the seven existing, refurbished gasholder frames whilst the six slender, taller pencil buildings occupy the outer corners of the site, marking approach routes. Both share an architectural expression which abstracts the broadly ‘circular’ form into a multi-faceted polygonal perimeter, with colours varying across vertical heights.

The footprint of a gasholder destroyed in WWII will be retained as a central water feature, and the relocated substructure of Gasholder No. 4. will form a community hub at the heart of the development to host a wide range of activities and functions and to link the public realm and commercial uses around the central water feature.

The project proposals are expected to surpass the current Building Regulations standards by at least 70% for regulated carbon emissions, and 31% in fabric energy efficiency. A series of passive design measures are incorporated, including energy-efficient building fabric and triple-glazed windows; low-energy lighting utilising ASHP technology for heating and cooling demands of both the commercial and residential elements. The project is following a BREEAM UK target of Excellent.

Graham Stirk, Senior Director, RSHP says “RSHP are delighted to be involved in this challenging project that seeks to protect the heroic group of Victorian Gasholders on a site that has been inaccessible to the public for over 150 years. The proposal will create a new neighbourhood for East London within a unique urban composition, sited within an extensive riverside park. The project creates a fantastic place for people to live and work, as well as a new leisure destination for all.’

Andy Bryce, Associate Partner, RSHP says “The experience of being close to these majestic structures, inaccessible for so long and which sit centre-stage within this unique mixed-use development, will now be available to all – and the proposal will create a lasting and meaningful legacy for Londoners that extends far beyond the site.”

Dean Summers, Managing Director of St William (A Berkeley Group company) said “We’re delighted that our plans to regenerate Bromley-By-Bow Gasworks were given the backing of Newham’s Strategic Development Committee last night. This comes after three years of detailed design work and engagement, and I want to thank all our partners and local residents who helped shape and supported these exciting proposals.

This fascinating brownfield site is home to seven Grade II Listed gasholders, making it the largest collection of surviving Victorian gasholders anywhere in the world. Our plan is to carefully restore and retain each of these vast decaying structures, and to transform the entire site into a welcoming mixed-use community, with over 70% of the land becoming public open space.

Designed in partnership with RSHP Architects, this new neighbourhood will celebrate East London’s industrial history and bring new investment and other benefits to this part of Newham. There will be over 2,000 low carbon private and affordable homes, jobs, community space, shops, cafes, offices and a beautiful new park along the bank of the River Lea. And all of this will be sustainably located a short walk from Bromley by Bow and West Ham Stations.”