A controversial new application to demolish the historic, locally-listed Bell Green gasholders in Sydenham is generating criticism.

The application seeks to remove the two lattice steel gasholders, after an application submitted last year to remove the structures and develop the land into a supermarket was refused.

But Sydenham Society chair Annabel McLaren said demolishing the unique structures in favour of a supermarket would leave the site, “bland, anonymous and not something which has a sense of place”.

She said: “Our position is that the gas holders should be used as a residential site, like the development at Kings Cross and Kennington Oval.”

She said the gasholders had historical significance and contributed to the character and identity of the local area.

But she was concerned the application’s draft programme set a demolition date of April 16.

Councillor Alan Hall said there were more “imaginative ways” to make use of the gasholders, which were designated as listed structures at a cabinet meeting last year.

He said: “The gasholders have been there since the 1800s. They have survived a  bombing and a skirmish with the planning committee already. What is the rush?”

The steel frames of the gas holders were built in the late 1800s, and tower at 38 metres high and 54 metres in diameter.

They haven’t been used since the 1990s and were formally decommissioned in 2012 following changes in the way gas is stored.

A number of other local groups protested against the 2017 application, which was refused because the proposed development, which included a supermarket, would remove green space from the area, and increase traffic, congestion and air pollution, according to council documents.

Those local groups included the Victorian Society, Sydenham Society, Forest Hill Society, and the Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society.

Ms McLaren said Sydenham Society would be lobbying local politicians and councillors, and asking questions at hustings.