Eric Pickles turns down application citing proximity to gas station

Eric Pickles has blocked Minerva’s planned 1 million ft2 redevelopment of a former brewery in London.

Pickles, the secretary of state for the communities department, refused planning consent for the application on the Ram Brewery site in Wandsworth today. The reason given is that the 32-storey tower and 42-storey tower would be a safety risk due to their proximity to a gas station.

Gordon MacDonald, the HSE’s director of hazardous installations, said: “The proposed development site, which would have included 829 residential units, is very close to the Wandsworth Gasholder Station. In the event of a major accident, it would have been difficult to evacuate people rapidly from the upper levels of the proposed very tall tower blocks.”

Wandsworth council had granted planning consent for the scheme at the end of 2008, but the previous government called it in earlier this year. Salmaan Hasan, the Minerva chief executive, said the firm is still committed to the site.