ANGRY residents have signed a petition to complain about the dismantling of Aldershot’s gas holder because they claim it is causing a foul smell.

Under Transco’s plans to upgrade the gas supply network the 78-year-old landmark was disconnected and the decommissioning process began in December.

It initially passed without problems but since Easter some residents have complained about a foul gas smell coming from the site.

After collecting a 30-signature petition Eddie Tripp of Lower Newport Road was invited to a meeting with Transco at the Rushmoor Council offices.

“If the wind is coming our way there’s an awful stench which makes you feel sick,” claimed Mr Tripp. “You can really smell something with the heat.”

He said some people living in North Lane and Newport Road had had sore throats. He also said the project was taking longer than anticipated.

“They told us eight weeks but looking at the size of it and the amount that has come out it’ll take five or six months.”

Mr Tripp also said he believed the gas should be taken away in tankers rather than released into the environment.

He added: “At the end of the day it’s air pollution and it’s wrong.”

Helen Lolley of Rushmoor’s environmental health department said the council and Transco were working together to try to keep problems to a minimum.

She said the company was in regular discussions with the council and fully co-operating with its wishes.

She added: “It’s such a big issue. We’ll be discussing how we manage the dismantling process. We are looking to protect residents and make sure they know who to contact to discuss what’s happening.”

At the time of going to press she was unable to confirm who residents should contact with specific queries but said they would be encouraged to come forward for information.

She said she had spoken to Transco about the smell and advised it to be aware of its impact on residents.

“They have been cleaning the holder and they have stopped doing it during hot spells.”

A Transco spokesman declined to comment in detail before the meeting.

He said the programme was on time and going as planned.

“It’s a perfectly safe process which has to be done. There are no short cuts.”

He said residents were given a telephone information line during the consultation process but said no calls or complaints had been received.