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New Culture Secretary removes listed status from industrial landmark

Parliamentary reporter @TrinderMatt

NEW Tory Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries removed an industrial landmark’s listed status today, allowing it to be demolished after campaigners thought it had been saved. 

Just one week after Historic England granted Teesside’s Dorman Long Tower Grade II status, it was repealed, meaning the 1955 concrete structure can be flattened.

Tees Valley Conservative Mayor Ben Houchen said removing the tower, an example of brutalist architecture, would allow major redevelopment plans on the former steelworks site in Redcar to go ahead unhindered.

Mr Houchen claimed the decision to protect the structure — only made last Friday — was a mistake. 

He held meetings over the weekend to challenge its listed status and an appeal was lodged with Historic England on Sunday evening, with the application also being sent to the Culture Secretary.

Ms Dorries replaced Olivier Dowden in the role on Wednesday as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Houchen said his team’s appeal has now succeeded and demolition can go ahead in the coming weeks. 

It would have cost more than £9 million to maintain the tower, he suggested, only for it to eventually be brought down anyway due to its poor state. 

Labour’s Redcar and Cleveland councillor Sue Jeffrey slammed the decision as showing a “lack of imagination.”

She also criticised the mayor for referring to a confidential report about the building which is yet to be published.

“It may be there are major issues with the tower, that should be a conversation they have with local people,” she stressed.

Independent Councillor Vince Smith voiced anger about the loss of the “symbolic” piece of industrial heritage, pointing out conservation and job creation were “not mutually exclusive.”

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