Tinsley Cooling Towers art project will be three years overdue

Giant artwork to replace Sheffield’s famous Tinsley Cooling Towers has been delayed yet again.

Friday, 11th December 2020, 4:45 pm

The Towers were demolished in 2008 and five years later Sheffield Council gave the go-ahead for the M1 Gateway art project to be created on the site.

But it has once again been delayed, this time until March 2022 – three years after its original unveiling date.

A report to the council’s Cabinet says: “The project requires additional funding however due to the current pandemic, potential funding sources have suspended applications until early 2021. Therefore the project timeline has been extended to March 2022.”

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The towers were a Sheffield landmark for 70 years.

In autumn 2017 sculptor Alex Chinneck designed Onwards and Upwards – a series of four 100ft red-brick chimney stacks along the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal, starting close to the M1 flyover near Meadowhall where the Towers once stood.

Alex was commissioned by the council, which had secured £1m including £450,000 in sponsorship from Eon, the energy company that owned the towers and runs the nearby Blackburn Meadows Power Station, and funding from Meadowhall’s owner British Land.

Sheffield City Region lodged a further bid for a share of the Government’s £15m Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund, to fast-track the sculptures’ arrival in 2019, coinciding with the canal’s bicentenary.

But the region lost out to Blackpool, Bradford and the Lake District and the council said it was going back to the drawing board with the aim of launching one sculpture initially.

Coun Mary Lea has made assurances the Tinsley Cooling Towers art project is still happening

It said the artwork was still happening, despite missing the original goal of putting a sculpture up by summer 2019.

Coun Mary Lea, Cabinet member for culture, has once again assured the project is still happening.

“Onwards and Upwards is unfortunately one of the projects that have been affected by the impact of Covid and we had no choice but to delay due to suspension of funding applications.

“I want to reassure people that we are still very passionate about this project which will see a stunning canal-side trail promoting healthy living, our city’s heritage and cultural engagement.

“We’ll continue working with Alex, an acclaimed artist, to bring this vision to life and will progress further as soon as funding sources are available.”

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