POLICE are remaining tight-lipped about when a defunct 1960s radio mast will be reinstated at their headquarters.

Durham Police’s 150ft-high needle-like structure was dismantled in 2017, when it was moved to the constabulary's new headquarters at Aykley Heads.

The grade II listed structure, designed by Brutalist engineer Ove Arup has to be re-erected as part of a planning condition imposed when the force was given permission to dismantle it as part of its plans to sell off its old headquarters to raise money to counter budget cuts.

It had wanted to demolish the mast but had to reconsider following a campaign by English Heritage and the City of Durham Trust.

The cost of relocating the mast, which is lying in pieces outside Durham Police's headquarters, was estimated to be about £400,000.

Steve White, chief executive for the office of the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner said: “We continue to work with Durham County Council to progress and resolve the issues surrounding the former communications mast and appropriate spend of public money”

Stuart Timmiss, head of development at Durham County Council, said: “There have been a number of meetings held with Durham Constabulary about this matter.

"The mast provides some unique challenges which are being progressed in order to resolve the issue.”

The Northern Echo:

The mast being dismantled in 2017

Roger Cornwell, from the City of Durham Trust, said: "This is something we had anticipated that would have been reinstated.

"We just hope they get on with it and aren't trying to forget about it.

"It's of its time and it was something impressive. They got permission to put up all the houses on the condition they re-erected the mast so they should get on and do it."

The mast, which weighs almost 50 tonnes and is made of precast, reinforced concrete, was listed in 2003, when English Heritage praised its "one-off elegant design", created so it would not block views of Durham Cathedral.

When it was dismantled, engineers used archived footage of it being erected in 1968 to ensure it was taken down in the correct order.

A planning condition imposed by the council said a plan for the re-location of the mast had to be in place before development started.