A 4000-strong petition to save the Tinsley cooling towers looks unlikely to prevent E.ON from carrying out the demolition

Among the most popular stories to appear on the Building web site this year concerned two derelict cooling towers in Sheffield, known locally as Bill and Ben the flowerpot men.

The Tinsley cooling towers, which form a gateway to Sheffield on the M1, are due to be demolished by energy company E.ON before the end of the year. Their demise is not popular among many locals, and news of a potential replacement was met with scorn by our readers.

Greg Derry said the project was "uninspired and disrespectful”, while Philip said it “destroyed the towers true meaning.” Lucy went further and remarked: "If I see one more proposal for a shiny steel sculpture in Sheffield to remind people of the city's heritage I'm going to slash my wrists with a nice shiny steel blade."

A campaign has been run by Sheffield art group Go to save the cooling towers and an animated film by Smoothe argues that the towers could be transformed into a giant art installation. It features a native of Sheffield - it could well be Sean Bean – recalling the glory days of industrialisation while animations visualise a sustainable future for the towers.

E-On claims that the towers are beyond repair and recently announced that the towers would be demolished by the end of the year. Test explosions last week suggested that their demise will be sooner rather than later.

The company has pledged £500,000 towards a sculpture commemorating the towers and will build a £60m biomass power station next to the site that it says will produce enough power for around 40,000 homes.

Almost 4000 people have signed a petition to save the towers, which includes a message from Neil Warnock, who may, or may not, be the ex-Sheffield United manager. "I inspired my players with these towers I told them to stand tall, look mighty and they would be recognised for the mighty beasts they are. Though my players sometimes toppled over as it looks like the towers are going to do soon."

That might be a spoof but the Towers do have high-profile supporters. Among the 800-odd friends of the cooling towers on its Myspace site are rock royalty Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley, and local indie darlings The Long Blondes.

Save Tinsley cooling towers video