Hundreds of people have backed a petition to stop an “iconic” gasholder being demolished in Greenwich Peninsula.

SGN gas network has been given permission to dismantle the 1880s gasholder in Millennium Way for safety reasons.

The council approved SGN’s demolition plans earlier this month, but nearly 500 people have signed a petition to stop it being lost.

Mary Mills, part of the Greenwich Industrial History Society, organised the petition.

She said: “Locally, it is a very important structure. When people see it, they know where they are. A lot of people care about it.

“It’s a mark of our heritage, many people, especially older people, are proud of working and being involved with the gas works.

“It’s much bigger and better than similar ones at Kings Cross and it would be good to see it be used for local amenities space.”

Elsewhere across the country, gasholders have made the headlines for being lost or redeveloped in recent years.

In Kings Cross a gasholder was renovated into houses – and another was renovated into a park.

The council gave “prior approval” to SGN to dismantle the gasholder, which means it gave the green light to the demolition method before any developments takes place.

Speaking when the application was approved, an SGN spokesman said: “It’s no longer sustainable for us to keep these structures in a safe and visually acceptable condition long-term.

“However, as part of our dismantling programme, we are committed to celebrating and capturing the history of our gasholders.

“We understand that to many people these iconic structures act as a visual reminder of an area’s history.

“Therefore, we are working with communities, local history groups and museums to ensure each holder we dismantle has its history captured for future generations to learn from.”

The petition calls on the council to discuss with SGN alternative uses for the gasholder, without tearing it down.

It read: “We urge the new council when it is elected to pursue further discussions with SGN and heritage bodies on the future of the holder and its site.”

The petition is aimed at the council which will be formed after the local elections on May 3.

Councillor Chris Lloyd,  who is standing for re-election in Peninsula Ward, said he wanted to see a more creative solution.

He said: “We are putting all the pressure on the developers to keep the options open.

“We are working to get something more creative than just tearing it down. I think it is a really important site, and it is really important for our heritage in Peninsula.

“Looking at something like Kings Cross, there are options and ways to keep the heritage in locations like this – it’s become a real centre piece at Kings Cross, why can’t we have a solution like innovative housing here?

” If you look at the Peninsula planning brief, it does say we should be protecting our heritage.”

MP Matthew Pennycook said previously he supported retaining the gasholder and developing it in a creative way.

The petition can be found here.