The company argues that they are no longer in use, and their location makes maintenance for purely cosmetic reasons increasingly difficult. The bolts holding the antennas in place are also coming loose, and while the danger of falling nuts and bolts is serious, there is also the risk of antennas dropping off the building.
Although the tower itself is listed, they note in the application that, contrary to popular belief, the antennas themselves are not. However the impact of their removal on the tower’s appearance necessitates a planning request. The proposals include the erection of scaffolding around the upper structure and the gradual and systematic recovery of the horn and dish aerials – to be completed by the end of the year.
Some photos of the current/after impact on the tower are provided in the application and from a distance the difference is almost invisible in the photo, but I think it is being generous as when you get up close, there is no doubt that the current cluttered industrial appearance will be drastically changed.
Some may prefer the cleaner lines that the changes will deliver, but I can’t help thinking that it will look strangely naked. Not just because I know there should be something there, but because the change from uniform design of the round tower below to thin core and plates just looks “wrong”.
The antennas are not a static element of the tower design and have changed many times since it was built, so if the antennas were to be replaced with fakes, which decade would you choose to reproduce?
Personally, I might compromise by installing a façade around the plates to maintain the appearance of the lower core to the upper floors.
Then again, I bet those open air plates would make great roof gardens!
The main planning document is here (pdf file), which includes a lot of very interesting diagrams and history about the tower’s construction in the 1960s.