DOES the future have a place for the past? The 1950s Dorman Long tower could be in pieces by the time you read this as the Teesworks site is cleared of its iron and steel making heritage so that it can create welcome jobs for the future.

It may be that the ugly tower is so fundamentally flawed that it could not be saved. Mayor Ben Houchen says it would have cost £9m to stabilise it, which is a lot of money.

However, if cost was everything, Middlesbrough would never have kept the Transporter Bridge, which, as well as being the town’s main defining feature, is a financial millstone.

Dundee, Belfast and Gateshead have shown that successful regeneration can include culture and heritage.

We regret that we’ve lost so much of the world’s first modern railway that we might struggle to turn the trackbed into a global attraction for the 200th anniversary. Will future generations of steelmakers’ descendants similarly look back and be disappointed that so little was saved of the industry that was Teesside’s bedrock?

In her first day in office, new culture secretary Nadine Dorries signed the tower’s death warrant. Ironically, she’s outspoken against the “woke” removal of historic statues, but she couldn’t see that the tower's potential was worth investigating even though Historic England – the custodians of the country’s heritage – has described as if it were a historic statue, saying that it is “a rare surviving remnant of the coal, iron and steel industries, standing as a monument to Teesside’s, and England’s, 20th Century industrial heritage”.

But it is too late now.