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Talks start on moving Wembley towers

NEWS

WEMBLEY STADIUM officials have asked underpinning specialist Abbey Pynford to assess the cost and feasibility of saving the stadium's famous twin towers, it was revealed this week.

Engineers are due to meet today to discuss a plan to slide the towers over 40m from their existing position to accommodate the proposed new Sir Norman Foster-designed £200M national stadium.

'We are meeting Abbey Pynford to get a quote and see if moving the towers is feasible,' said Wembley marketing director Chris Palmer. 'Very roughly we've been quoted a figure of £20M to move them.'

The future of the famous twin towers has been in doubt since the 1996 decision to redevelop the 76-year-old Sir Owen Williams designed stadium. It had been feared the towers would be demolished to fit the new larger stadium on the site.

But a public outcry forced stadium developer Wembley National Stadium to look for ways to save the towers. Having seen Abbey Pynford's televised slide of the Belle Tout lighthouse in March (NCE 18 March), officials called for preliminary talks.

Palmer added: 'We could put them on the Moon if we spent enough, but any money spent on moving the towers will have to come out of other facilities.'

But he said that the new stadium would be much taller than the existing one so if the towers were kept in situ they would be little more than wall details. One option is to move the towers to the end of the Olympic Way as entrance gates.

Abbey Pynford managing director Paul Kiss said: 'These will be very preliminary discussions. I'm not sure what Wembley will want. I know we can move them but I don't think it will come to anything like £20M.'

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