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New Walk Demolition: The 40-year-old toppled towers which proved controversial from the start

Today marks the end of an era for Leicester City centre, with the towering New Walk Centre erased from the skyline forever.

Some may be sad to see it go, but they are more the minority, because this building was controversial from the very beginning.

The shiny new New Walk Centre as it looked in 1975 Credit: ATV

The newly built office blocks were bought by Leicester City Council in 1975 for £5million.

The move was lambasted by the public as the country was nearing the end of a two year recession, with the inflation rate soaring.

ATV News covered the controversy in 1975, and after delving into our archive, we discovered it was our own Bob Warman who brought the Midlands the story.

One of the building's most vocal denouncers was a Professor of History at Leicester University called Jack Simmons. He opposed the building not for political reasons - but for its architectural ugliness.

The buildings between the blocks in the background give you some idea of how they dwarfed other buildings in the area Credit: ATV

What angered him most was the 13 and eight storey blocks towering over everything; dwarfing surrounding buildings in King Street, in no way trying to fit in with the neighbours.

The Professor even had the foresight to predict, we, in the 21st Century would come to hate it.

But although a newspaper poll found that 97% of people in Leicester disagreed with the oppressive office blocks becoming the city council's new home, when Bob asked people on the street about the New Walk Centre, he got some mixed views.

Those working in the towers over the next five decades would come to resent its size and scale.

As with many 1960s and 70s concrete monoliths, in the summer it got far too hot, in the winter unbearably cold.

The scene in 2009 when a fire broke out in one of the blocks Credit: ITV News Central

During its forty years there was drama too - in 2009 a fire on the building's fifth floor caused extensive damage, but fortunately no one was hurt.

The buildings were evacuated but fortunately no one was hurt Credit: ITV News Central

The decision to demolish the towers came in 2010, when surveyors found that after nearly 40 years, the New Walk Centre was becoming structurally unsound.

Staff moved out last June, with many glad to see the back of the crumbling corridors for the final time.

One of them was Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, who said although the buildings had served the local authority well, the only thing he was really going to miss were the spectacular views from the higher floors!

Gareth Owen's report from June 2014 on the council's big move

So after forty years towering above Leicester's skyline - it took just 13 seconds for the much loathed blocks to be turned to dust.

The site will now be cleared and be ready for redevelopment by May, but no plans have been revealed for what will go in its place.

Here's hoping whatever does go up will be more loved than loathed, compared to its predecessor!

Watch Jane Hesketh's full report on New Walk's 'Demolition Day'

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