A much-loved 1950s industrial tower will be demolished in the early hours of Sunday morning after being controversially stripped of its conservation list by the new Culture Secretary.
Plans to demolish Dorman Long’s massive coal bunker in Redcar, Teesside came to a halt this week after Historic England quickly decided to grant it Grade II status.
But, in one of her first acts in her new role in government, Nadine Dorries revoked the list, saying it lacked “merit.”
Now, the 56-meter tower – a landmark in the former Redcar SSI steelworks – will be demolished this weekend.
George Clarke, the architect and TV presenter, called the impending demolition “heartbreaking” and said the brutalist structure should have been incorporated into the proposed redevelopment of the abandoned site.
He said: “We have lost far too many buildings in the North East that celebrate our incredible industrial past. It is a unique building that must be saved.
But Ben Houchen, the mayor of Tory Tees Valley, said he was satisfied with the decision after filing an appeal against his listing.
“I would like to send a message to those who think that trying to stop these developments is the right thing to do – our legacy does not lie in a decaying coal bunker,” he said.
“Our heritage lies in the people who built this great region. It is found in structures that stand across the globe, from The Shard, Sydney Harbor Bridge and One World Trade Center. “
He later claimed that had the tower been allowed to remain it ‘would have cost the taxpayer over £ 9million’.
Jacob Young, the Conservative MP for Redcar, said that while he was initially advocating for the retention of the bunker – which was built in 1955-56 – he was convinced that structural failures meant it was no longer sustainable .
He added: “I asked [developers] to recover what is possible from the original Dorman Long lettering on the side… and to recreate a replica of the lettering to be used near the site.
The South Tees Development Corporation, which was formed to redevelop the site – now known as Teesworks – has confirmed that controlled explosions will raze the structure between midnight and 2 a.m. on Sunday.
It will make way for a large new wind turbine manufacturing plant on the site which was closed as a steel plant in 2015.