Two of Wigan’s less glamorous landmarks will soon be disappearing from the skyline.
A few folk sentimental about the grimy industrial olden days may begrudge the departure of the old gas holders off Darlington Street.
But it’s likely most residents will be quite pleased to see the horizon decluttered of the girders, pipes and domes that have been there since before the war, especially as they have served no practical purpose for six years.
National Grid is starting on the dismantling work and will then clear the site for future use by developers with suitable alternative ideas.
It is part of National Grid’s on-going nationwide gas holder dismantling programme.
The giant containers are no longer required due to investments made to improve the national network, meaning gas can be stored in the pipe system or underground.
Historically the site formed part of the much larger Wigan Gasworks where coal gas was first produced in 1823. Coal-gas production was in operation at the site until the 1970s when the majority of the buildings and infrastructure were decommissioned.
The holders date from the 1930s and remained in operation for the storage and distribution of natural gas until 2011/2012.
Specialist contractors will first remove and treat any water from the holders, before removing the sludge and any other debris from the base. This process can produce a smell, similar to diesel, which is not harmful to the public or environment and National Grid says it will do everything it can to ensure it does not become an issue.
The site will remain fenced off and monitored by CCTV and the work strictly controlled to minimise disturbance to people who live or work nearby. Work is expected to be finished by spring next year.
Kat Scargill, land regeneration manager for National Grid, said: “We will remove the gas holders as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible to minimise the impact on local people and the environment.
"We have written to people who live and work in the local community to explain what we will be doing. If anyone has any questions about the project they can contact our community relations team on 0800 819 9071.”
National Grid says the land will be surplus to its future requirements and, as has happened with other decommissioned gas holder sites, the land will be tidied up and made suitable for redevelopment for other interested parties.