Demolition date named for iconic Fiddlers Ferry cooling towers

The iconic cooling towers at Warrington’s Fiddlers Ferry power station will come tumbling down on December 3.

Civil engineering and groundworks specialists, P.P. O’Connor, has confirmed demolition of the 115m-high concrete towers as part of the site’s regeneration by Manchester-based developer, Peel L&P.

P.P O’Connor said it will communicate with local residents and stakeholders throughout the process so they are kept informed and to ensure clarity and opportunity for discussion.

Scheduled to take place between 8am and 12pm on Sunday, December 3, to minimise impact for residents and reduce traffic disruption in the area, the blow down will take just seconds, but cause a dust cloud lasting approximately 10-15 minutes.

Associated resident evacuations and road closures will be in effect from 7am on the day.

Extensive work is being carried out to ensure the highest safety standards are upheld and hazardous materials have already been removed in preparation for blow-down.

P.P. O’Connor will check weather conditions and carry out full pre-checks and safety checks on the day.

Following the blow-down a series of safety checks will take place ensuring all the explosives are blown, the concrete piles will be inspected and the roads will be cleaned and confirmed safe.

Demolition debris will be processed and recycled on site for future development.

Daniel Mackinlay, demolition manager at P.P. O’Connor, said: “As a business, communication is key when working on any project.

“With the planned blow-down at this site, we have ensured we have maintained regular communication across the community to allow them to air any questions or viewpoints in advance.

“Our plan is to reduce any impact on the local community and maintain ongoing dialogue throughout the process.”

Plans for the process were submitted by developers Peel NRE to Warrington Borough Council in September, outlining the process of how the site will be demolished.

The information, including a demolition statement and plan for control of the site and safety in the local area, were approved.

P.P. O’ Connor was appointed by Peel NRE after a competitive tender process.

The selection was due to previous experience in complex demolitions such as INEOS in Runcorn, Lyondellbasell in Carrington and Stanlow Refinery in Ellesmere Port.

The Fiddlers Ferry site has been earmarked for housing and industrial use following the cessation of operations when the power station closed in March 2020 after nearly 50 years.

Peel bought the site from energy company SSE Thermal in July 2022.

The site, which also includes agricultural land, was identified in the 2021 version of the Warrington Local Plan for the development of around 250-acres for employment use and a minimum of 1,760 new homes.

Peel NRE, Peel L&P’s natural resources and energy company, submitted documents to the council to prepare the first phases of development at the northern part of the Widnes Road site which will include the demolition of the four northern cooling towers, nearby admin buildings and clearance of the former coal stockyard and machinery.

The former fossil fuel-dependent power station, which sits on the boundary of Warrington and Halton, was decommissioned in 2020.

It has been an important part of Warrington’s history and economy for the past 50 years and Peel NRE’s 10-15-year masterplan for the brownfield land marks a new era for the site with proposals for industrial use and a new sustainable community.

Plans will also create extensive new parkland and wildlife areas to enhance the environment in partnership with Peel L&P’s homebuilder Northstone.