Cooling tower art project still a work in progress after six years

The Tinsley cooling towers.
The Tinsley cooling towers.
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A COMMUNITY art project close to the site of Sheffield’s famous Tinsley cooling towers is set to be completed by 2016 - some eight years after they were demolished.

Amid uncertainty about its future, Sheffield council announced in August last year that plans for a £4 million artwork on the land had been scaled back due to the recession.

It was revealed that the £500,000 donated by energy firm E.ON when the landmark towers next to the M1 were demolished in 2008 would instead fund a smaller “community based art project”.

Since then no further details of the scheme have emerged, until yesterday when the council announced that an artist has been appointed to speak to local residents and “spark debate” about what they would like to see.

David Cotterrell, a Professor of Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University, will “explore the potential for the major piece of public art in the area, which will help to form the basis of the final brief”, according to the council.

One the scoping work is completed, the tender process will begin for the main work of art.

There will be an open call for expressions of interest and three artists will then be invited to develop their ideas into proposals before one is selected.

Council officials hope the community art project will be completed by 2016 at the latest, ensuring they are in place by the time the Ikea store and a Next Home and Garden are built nearby.

A spokeswoman said: “While final designs have not yet been created or a specific site chosen, it is envisaged that the work will link to footpaths and cycleways in the area - including the Five Weirs Walk and Trans-Pennine Trail - helping to make it an attractive visitor destination.

“The project, which will reflect both the industrial past of Sheffield and the city’s innovative, creative future, will build on key themes such as sustainable energy, design, advanced manufacturing, the outdoors and the diversity of Sheffield.”

The scheme is linked to the wider regeneration of the lower Don Valley, with a new link road to relieve congestion at junction 34 of the M1 motorway to be completed next year. E.ON’s biomass plant will be completed this year, and an associated district heating scheme is in development.

In a separate project, plans are in place for the 30 metre high Man of Steel landmark on a former landfill site in Rotherham.