This week our current Tees Valley mayor announced the commissioning of the demolition of our iconic blast furnace, previously describing it as a scar on the land. I don’t see our blast furnace as a scar, I see it as one of the most beautiful and iconic industrial structures in the world!
The original plans for the old SSI site included exploring saving part of the historic and iconic structures on the site as cultural landmarks. This included the most important building, the blast furnace and whilst debate grows about the Dorman Long tower, the real debate we should be having is about the future of the blast furnace.
Germany has repurposed a number of its old industrial sites including its steel works and blast furnace like Landschaftspark, which is now a world famous tourist attraction.
It is imperative to create the right environment for future business and employment and of course we can’t live in the past. We absolutely need to regenerate the site to bring new industry and quality jobs, but surely we can still treat our steel heritage with the care and respect it deserves!
The original SSI Master Plan document stated there would be detailed work to establish the business case for each structure, in collaboration with local community groups and Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council. This has not seem to have happened.
This is why I am launching my own consultation today to hear from the public, what their thoughts are on the future of the blast furnace. I will also be making an enquiry into what work was done to establish the viability of the saving the Blast Furnace and other iconic structures at the site.
This site is of international significance and too important to simply allow the bulldozers to come in, without at least some understanding of what is possible.
So let me know, what are your thoughts? Tell me here your ideas about the future of the Blast Furnace