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Bobby Charlton backs twin towers rescue

SIR BOBBY Charlton this week urged designers of the new Wembley National Stadium not to abandon the old structure's famous twin towers.

The footballing legend, who played in the England side that won the 1966 World Cup at Wembley, told NCE: 'I would like [the towers] to stay. I'm hoping Sir Norman Foster can include them in his design.

'They are one of the landmarks of the country. Overseas everybody knows Wembley and the two towers, they are unique,' he added.

Foster & Partners, in joint venture with architects Lobb and HOK, are finalising the design for the new stadium which will be announced this summer. Structural engineers Mott MacDonald, Connell Wagner, Weidlinger Associates and Modus complete the team.

Charlton's comments came in the same week as officials from owner Wembley National Stadium met with underpinning specialist Abbey Pynford to discuss saving the towers by sliding them 40m to accommodate the new building.

Pynford has been given two weeks to convince WNS that it would not be too costly for them to retain the 33m high, reinforced concrete towers.

Pynford is expected to propose an operation similar to the one it used to move the Belle Tout lighthouse at Beachy Head in March (NCE 18/3/99). However, this is made more difficult as Wembley's towers have a fragile 75mm thick shell and, as they are built into the existing stadium, have no back. They also sit on the second floor of a reinforced concrete frame.

(see feature page 16)

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