A ROW is continuing to rumble over the demolition of the Dorman Long tower after a heritage organisation accused the Tees Valley Mayor of making an inaccurate statement.

The tower, which was demolished on Sunday, was knocked down after a decision to grant it Grade II listed status was reversed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), following an appeal by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.

Yesterday, Historic England, which provided advice to DCMS and said the tower should be listed, said Mr Houchen had made an inaccurate statement on the issue last week when he said the body had accepted the listing was a mistake.

A spokeswoman for the organisation said: “The mayor’s statement is incorrect - the listing was not a mistake.

“Historic England advised DCMS to list the site. Following a site visit, our advice to list the site remained the same.”

When challenged, Mr Houchen reiterated that Historic England had made a mistake. He said: “Historic England were wrong to list the building without any consultation or ever having been to Redcar, never mind to the site to see the tower. The listing was a mistake from Historic England.

“We had been working with two officers from Historic England for 18 months on the site, when a junior officer from Historic England, who has had no involvement and who didn’t even consult his colleagues before making the listing decided, without ever seeing the tower, to make a hasty and incorrect decision.

“The Secretary of State has corrected Historic England’s mistake and having had a meeting with the Chief Executive, I’ve made my views very clear about the catastrophic and amateur way in which they handled this matter.”

“Indeed, it was clear that the two officers who have worked with us for 18 months were clearly embarrassed by their colleague and the cack-handed way this was handled.”

Meanwhile, questions were also raised following the release on Monday of an inspection report of the tower.

Architect James Perry, who is part of the team at Something Concrete and Modern, a group set up to document the North East’s buildings, people and plans of the post-Second World War era, and previously campaigned to save Durham University’s Brutalist students’ union at Dunelm House, said technical investigation work necessary to reach the conclusions about its deterioration had not been done.

An independent engineering report, carried out by Atkins, which was published yesterday, revealed a visual survey was carried out using a drone and digital camera.

The report concluded endemic concrete carbonation was causing reinforcement corrosion and concrete spalling, which is ongoing and not reversible. Saying the tower would need to be demolished in 15 to 20 years, it said: “Re-use of the structure may be technically feasible, but it is prohibitively expensive and offers a limited life.”

A spokesman for Tees Valley Combined Authority said carbonation testing to assess corrosion in steel reinforcement was deemed unsafe. He said: “This would involve intrusive work to remove concrete and possibly core concrete samples for testing.

"From a safety perspective this would have involved high reach platforms and/or scaffolding which was deemed unsafe.

"We are confident that the tower has endemic carbonation which is consistent with the physical evidence and widespread location across the tower.”

Jessie Joe Jacobs, who lost May’s election against Mr Houchen, has been campaigning to save Teesside’s industrial heritage.

She said earlier this week: “So tragic to think that the Dorman Long Tower could have been saved.

"This tower meant so much to so many people and the least the people deserved was a genuine attempt to save it. Instead we got a rushed through report that the public couldn’t even see until after the tower’s destruction.

“This shows a catastrophic lack of foresight when it comes to the importance of our industrial heritage and a contempt for local democracy and due process. In my years of fundraising experience, the tower would have easily attracted significant heritage funds and could have stood proud for many generations to come.

“The Blast Furnace stands awaiting the same fate, yet if the mayor was willing, he could keep at least one small part of our past. This is his last chance to do the right thing.”