Page last updated at 12:28 GMT, Saturday, 25 August 2007 13:28 UK

Cooling towers facing demolition

Cooling towers
The towers were built 70 years ago

Sheffield's iconic Tinsley cooling towers are to be demolished by the end of the year, it has been announced.

Thousands of people had signed petitions to save the towers, which can be seen by motorists who use the M1.

But E.ON, the company that owns the towers, said they need to be demolished before the winter as they are unsafe.

The firm plans to build a new power station on the site and has pledged 500,000 towards a new piece of artwork to replace the "unique" towers.

E.ON said it would work with Sheffield City Council to create a large-scale, permanent piece of art that would "symbolise the importance of energy".

Designs will be put through a public consultation process in June 2008.

The new power plant, if given planning approval, will burn recycled wood and provide enough power for 40,000 homes as well as creating 25 new jobs, E.ON said.

'Cultural vandalism'

Derek Parkin, managing director of E.ON, said: "We are committed to working with the city of Sheffield to create a lasting piece of art in recognition of the unique place and impact the cooling towers have had over the years."

Sir Bob Kerslake, chief executive of Sheffield City Council, said: "We recognise that those who wanted to keep the existing towers will be disappointed.

"However, this is ultimately a matter for E.ON to decide and we understand the reasons for their decision.

"We are very pleased that E.ON have agreed to contribute 500,000 towards a new piece of art, and will put sustainable uses on the site."

Last year sculptor Antony Gormley, the creator of the Angel of the North, stepped in to the controversy over the future of the towers, saying it would be an act of "cultural vandalism" to knock them down.

He said the towers were "intrinsically beautiful" and offered a very exciting vista from the motorway.

The 70-year-old cooling towers were originally part of Blackburn Meadows Power Station which closed down in the 1970s.

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