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South Bank Skylon could make a comeback - in Hereford

A half-size version of the Skylon tower which formed a prominent feature of the 1951 Festival of Britain on the South Bank could be constructed in Hereford.

Designed by Hidalgo Moya, Philip Powell and Felix Samuely, the slender cigar-shaped tower appeared to float above the South Bank. It was located close to Hungerford Bridge, on the edge of what is now Jubilee Gardens.

The original Skylon was made in Hereford by local firm Painter Brothers and Herefordshire Council has decided to commemorate the city's connection to the Festival of Britain by calling a new business park 'Skylon Park'.

"When it was built, the Skylon represented a futuristic symbol of the hopes and aspirations of the nation. It depicted in visual form the optimism and confidence of a future using cutting-edge technologies," says Neil Kerr, chairman of the Hereford Business Board and vice-chairman of the Enterprise Zone Board.

"This is what the new enterprise zone represents and we believe the image of the Skylon is a fitting tribute which reflects the county's proud engineering tradition while symbolising the modern hi-technology businesses and their ambition, innovation and drive they will bring to the enterprise zone.

"Using modern technology we're proposing to create a new 48-metre tall Skylon which will mark the entrance to the new enterprise zone.

"This will be a bold statement of intent and will be matched by the high design standards and sustainability we expect from the architects behind the buildings which will be constructed on the site.

"We're now launching a design competition to invite architects to be part of this great project."

At 48 metres, the proposed new Skylon would be significantly smaller than the 90-metre original. It would be illuminated at night and could become an attraction in its own right.

"We propose to name the new business park Skylon Park," says Neil Kerr. "There are 21 enterprise zones in the UK and we must stand out from the rest. Once we have concluded a detailed feasibility study, we will be looking for a company, or companies, to sponsor the construction, so there will be no cost to the ratepayer."

Proposals to rebuild the Skylon on the South Bank have been mooted several times in the past decade but have not come to fruition. The tower's name lives on locally at the Skylon restaurant in the Royal Festival Hall.

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