Spectators to be 'kept well away' when 85m chimneys come down
- Credit: © Terry Harris
Demolition experts will check long term weather forecasts for high winds ahead of blowing up two, 85m tall, historic chimneys at former brickworks in the Fens.
An exclusion zone will be in place to enable nitro-glycerine explosive charges to be laid.
Five minutes prior to demolition explosive engineers will sound a warning – two short klaxon blasts.
Immediately prior to demolition they will sound a final warning – third short klaxon blasts.
Then a shot is fired “and structure collapses” says a report to Cambridgeshire County Council who approved the demolition.
“Spectators will be kept well clear,” the council was assured.
And the explosives company will ensure people stay outside an exclusion zone prior to detonation.
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A three-hour timetable, with a proposed start time of 6am, has been put forward.
The possibility of bats or peregrine falcons using them as a habitat, delayed the demolition of the chimneys in the former Saxon brickworks site at King’s Dyke, Whittlesey.
An ecological survey found this was not an issue.
A structural survey recommended that the chimneys be demolished on safety grounds.
Historic England says the Saxon pit has been serving brickworks for over 100 years “and the chimneys are iconic on the skyline, representing a long-standing industry in the area”.
“In addition, as several buildings associated with the manufacturing process were demolished in the early C21, along with the kilns, their functional relationship within the wider industrial landscape has been denuded.”
However, the council’s historic environment team note that Whittlesey is defined by its brickworks, the architecture of the industrial buildings and iconic chimney stacks.
“The industrial heritage of Whittlesey should, therefore not be overlooked by applications seeking to redevelop an important industrial landscape and demolish structural elements of the tangible historic environment,” it says.
The team is recommending that work is undertaken ahead of demolition to record the historic land use before it is altered.
“The demolition of the remaining chimney stacks constitutes the total loss of an undesignated heritage asset,” it concludes.
It is expected that a photographic record of the chimneys prior to, during and following demolition will be made for future generations to consider.
The council accepted a reported that concluded “there was no physical evidence of usage by bats and the presence of a bat roost is unlikely”.