ONE of Oxfordshire's most recognisable landmarks is set to be pulled down imminently, ushering in a new era for the area.

Demolition plans for Didcot A power station have been unveiled, removing the last of the imposing cooling towers from the landscape for good.

Specialist firm Brown and Mason, appointed after the fatal collapse of the boiler house on the site in 2016, will use controlled explosions this summer to bring down the three remaining towers and a 200 metre high chimney.

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Didcot Mayor Bill Service said he had mixed feelings about the end of the coal-fired power station which has been a fixture of the town for so long.

He said: "I am looking forward to the site becoming something new for the area.

"It has served the town well for more than 40 years but its time has come.

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"I expect there will be a lot of interest in the demolition.

"Some of it will be sad because of the loss of life we have had there, but it is also going to herald in the new - it marks the end of one era for the town and the beginning of something else."

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Brown and Mason carried out test blasts on the site in October and, along with site owners RWE, has now submitted its method of demolition to Vale of White Horse District Council.

According to the documents, all the blasts will be carried out at the same time to reduce disruption.

The towers will be tilted towards the centre of the site to ensure they fall away from the Didcot B gas-fired power station, which is still in operation.

RWE spokeswoman Kelly Nye said a timetable has still not been confirmed but plans remain on track to carry out the explosions this summer with work completed by the end of the year.

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Ms Nye said the date would be finalised after the demolition plan was approved - expected to be on or around May 16, according to the Vale council website.

On the day itself, an exclusion zone of 300 to 400 metres will be set up around the cooling towers - and 500 to 600 metres around the chimney - with security guards employed to ensure it is not breached.

The chimney is thought to weigh around 30,000 tonnes meaning that demolition in the conventional 'toppling' method is not considered practical.

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Instead, Brown and Mason intend to blast it at two levels in a similar way to how the company brought down chimneys at other power stations including Kingsnorth in Kent and Pembroke in Wales.

The initial detonation would take place at the second floor level, around 66 metres from the ground, followed by a further blast a second later at the base of the structure.

This will reduce the length of the fall and the spread of the debris as well as the amount of ground vibration.

Thousands of people gathered at vantage points to see the first three of the six 325ft cooling towers blown up during the early hours of Sunday, July 27, 2014.

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The last three towers were due to be demolished in 2016 but the collapse of part of the boiler house, which killed four workers, delayed the timetable.

Ken Cresswell, 57, John Shaw, 61, both from Rotherham, Michael Collings, 53, from Teesside, and Christopher Huxtable, 34, from Swansea, died in the collapse and Thames Valley Police and Health and Safety Executive are still investigating more than three years on.

Clowes Developments, which agreed a deal to buy the site from RWE in 2014, plan to use the land for commercial properties, new homes and a hotel.

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Mr Service said he hoped to be able to watch the demolitions this time, having been on a night shift previously.

He said the change of use of the site from a power station to an 'enterprise zone' tied in with the wider narrative about how Didcot is moving on from its industrial routes to a local economy based on science and technology.

He said: "The town continues to change with its Garden Town status bringing in thousands of new homes.

"Quite what it will look like in the end, who knows.

"It is going to be a fantastic place to live but I can't say we are going to be this or that."