AN ICONIC Southampton structure that has stood over the city for more than five decades could be demolished.

Plans have been submitted to Southampton City Council proposing to demolish the former gas works on Britannia Road.

The two enormous gas holders in St Mary’s are a familiar site to thousands of Saints fans as they head to the stadium.

The plans were submitted by gas company SGN and contain details regarding the dewatering, desludging and ultimately the dismantling of the existing "redundant" column-guided gasholder and spiral-guided gasholder.

Both structures are listed and therefore are protected.

It has been described as a “real shame” by one Southampton MP who believes that the community should be able to “have their say”.

The holders will be removed to the point of the underlying concrete base, should the plans be approved.

It is expected the site will be subject of redevelopment however the plans make no mention of what could replace them.

A statement in the planning documents states: “The early removal of the gasholders is central to expediting the redevelopment of the site and the proposed removal of the holders and structures subject to this prior notification, together with any necessary site remediation and restoration works, comprise the next stages of the programme to ready the site for redevelopment.”

MP for Southampton Test Alan Whitehead said: “Because of the Conservative governments planning rules this demolition can go ahead without planning permission and I think that’s a real shame because the community should be able to have their say over a demolition as big as this. The gasworks are a big part of the local landscape and regardless of opinion on whether they should stay or go it’s a scandal that residents and the council have very little control over what happens here.”

Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, said: “The gas holders are something of a local landmark but are no longer in use. We must re-use brownfield land sensibly to create employment opportunities and much needed homes for people so a redevelopment of a redundant site such as this is a sensible thing to do.”