TRANSCO has given the go-ahead for Aldershot's best-known landmark, the giant gasometer in North Lane, to be demolished.

Work on dismantling the 212ft high rusty structure will start within the next two months, and should be completed by the middle of next year.

The company has tested local opinion and is confident the news, announced last Friday, will be welcomed by the vast majority of local residents.

It seems they regard the gasholder, which has stood over the town since 1925, as an eyesore and a blot on the landscape.

Len Lamplugh, Aldershot Civic Society vice-chairman, supported the company's decision. He said: "In a way, from an historic point of view, it'll be sad to see the gasometer go.

"But we are happy for it to be taken down because it's pretty unsightly, and from what we hear most people support that view."

Transco has decided to dismantle the structure, which can hold three million cubic feet of gas, because it has no further use for it. The company now has sufficient storage capacity in its pipe network to serve the area.

Mel Karam, Transco's South of England network chief, said: "The demolition will be a complex engineering task."

One of the first jobs will be to empty the underground water tank which supports the holder. The tank holds four million gallons of water which has been there since the gasometer was built.

The scheme is costing "a six figure sum."