Rethink on vision to replace Sheffield’s Tinsley Towers

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Plans for a multi-million pound artwork to replace Sheffield’s Tinsley Towers have been abandoned – replaced by a ‘new vision’ for a less-costly project.

This weekend marks five years since the landmark towers beside the M1 and Meadowhall shopping centre were knocked down.

In their place will stand a new £120-million biomass plant run by energy firm E.ON, which was intended to be accompanied with a large £4m public artwork.

But Coun Isobel Bowler, Sheffield Council cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said ‘the vision of 2008 seems a world away’.

She said: “We cannot hope to raise the multi-millions needed to create a large scheme – nor do I think people in Sheffield would want us to use our limited resources in this way in the present difficult financial times.

“But smaller can still be beautiful and we are working to commission the right artist.”

Among the reasons for the rethink are the difficult financial climate, limited funds available for art projects and the physical vision for the area.

The biomass plant will be completed next year, linked to an extensive district heating network.

The scheme on the towers site is one of two artworks set to be built by the motorway.

The Man of Steel, a 30-metre statue, is also planned for the Rotherham side of the M1, on a hill in Kimberworth overlooking the area.

The revised, community-based artwork will be funded by E.ON, which has already committed £500,000 to the project.

The cash will be used to fully fund the piece, which will reflect Sheffield’s industrial heritage, sustainable energy and advanced manufacturing.

A design brief is set to go out by the end of the year, with a view for the artwork to be in place in 2015.