Demolition plans for Leicester City Council's former headquarters

Leicester City Council headquarters on New Walk Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption The site will be levelled and left for future development

Leicester City Council's former headquarters will be demolished using a "controlled collapse", it has been confirmed.

The two tower blocks on New Walk, which were closed after being ruled unsafe, will be brought down in the new year.

It follows a 10 week investigation to establish the safest method of demolishing the office buildings.

The authority said the controlled blast would bring the "blocks down into their own footprint in a matter of seconds".

The offices, a large landmark building in the city centre, were handed over in July to demolition firm DSM, which has since been carrying out preparatory works at the site.

Testing found other possible methods of demolition - including gradual dismantling - would be impractical because of the decaying state of the building.

'Urgent repairs needed'

Leicester's Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said the council would now work with the demolition firm and local businesses to set a date for the work.

He said as part of the agreement with contractors the site would be levelled and left as a vacant brownfield plot for future development.

The offices, which were built in the mid-1970s, housed about 1,400 staff during their heyday.

In early 2010, structural engineers told the authority the tower blocks were unsafe and needed urgent repairs.

Departments were gradually moved to other buildings, with the new City Hall opening earlier this year in a former snooker centre elsewhere in the city centre - Attenborough House in Charles Street.

The mayor and a skeleton staff were among the last to leave the New Walk site in June of this year.

The move was estimated to have cost the council £20m.

In June council officials said there had been a "tremendous" amount of interest in developing the site and they were in discussions with three shortlisted firms.

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