George Clarke describes prominent Teesside building’s overnight demolition as ‘really sad’

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Channel 4 TV presenter and architect George Clarke was left “heartbroken” after it was announced last week that Dorman Long tower in Teesside would be destroyed despite its listed status. The industrial tower, which was built in the 1950s to store coal, was demolished on the former Redcar steelworks yesterday.

However, newly appointed culture secretary Nadine Dorries revoked the building’s listed status.

In a series of controlled explosions between 12am and 2am BST on Sunday, the building was destroyed.

Campaigners against the building’s demolition argued that the monument symbolised the region’s industrial past.

Architect and property expert George Clarke posted a photo of the building on Instagram a few days ago, describing the news as “heartbreaking”.

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A post shared by George Clarke (@mrgeorgeclarke)

He continued: “We’ve lost way too many buildings in the North East that celebrate our incredible industrial past.

“This is a unique building and should be saved.

“I’m sure everyone could have come together to find a way to save the tower and integrate it into the new development to benefit everyone.”

George, who was born in Sunderland and brought up in nearby Washington later posted another update on Instagram asking for the building to be saved.

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He wrote: “Save Dorman Long #Redcar #NorthEast #IndustrialHeritage ….

“I’m sure it could be given a creative and amazing new purpose.”

However, following the building’s destruction on Sunday, George posted another update with photos of the demolition.

He captioned the post: “The Dorman Long Tower has been demolished overnight …. really sad times.”

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A post shared by George Clarke (@mrgeorgeclarke)

Many of George’s followers agreed with the architect over the building’s demolition.

One Instagram user called Joanne Parton said: “Scandalous to read about the speed of demolition so soon after the decision was made…. almost as though it was a done deal regardless.”

D’Arcy Lindsay replied: “The way this has been handled is nothing short of shambolic. Sad day.”

Nicola Farman said: “Ohhh nooooo. I expect a new horrible development will be put up soon making millions for the fat cats.

“All so wrong. When they are gone they are gone forever.”

Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) and the Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen had lodged an appeal against the building’s Grade-II listed status, alongside the request to the secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to intervene.

Mr Houchen said: “I would like to send a message to those that think trying to stop these developments is the right thing to do – our heritage does not lie in a rotting coal bunker, our heritage lies in the people that built this great region.

“It lies in the structures that stand tall across the world, from The Shard, Sydney Harbour Bridge and One World Trade Centre.”

Mr Houchen also claimed that if the building were allowed to remain in place, it “would have cost the taxpayer in excess of £9million”.

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