IT has towered over the entrance to Southampton Water for more than 40 years.

But Fawley Power Station, one of Hampshire’s biggest industrial buildings, could be reduced to a huge pile of rubble in the next few years.

RWE n-power, which owns the 175-acre complex, has applied for consent to send in the bulldozers.

The application leaves a huge question mark hanging over the future of the site, a prime waterfront area bordered by the New Forest National Park.

Hythe councillor Brian Dash, who worked there for many years, is calling for the creation of a gas turbine plant.

He said: “The power station provided a significant amount of employment and I’d like to see it replaced by something that delivers jobs for local people.”

Built in 1971 the oil-fired facility shut in April last year with the loss of almost 40 jobs.

Despite being state-of-the-art when it opened, the facility fell foul of new EU rules aimed at cutting emissions across Europe. The closure was also hastened by the Government’s policy of replacing older, less efficient sites with lower carbon replacements.

RWE n-power has asked New Forest District Council for permission to flatten the whole site.

But Cllr Bob Wappet, chairman of Fawley Parish Council, said the control room should be preserved because of its historic and architectural interest.

He added: “I’d like to see the site revert to industrial and employment land. There’s room for any type of manufacturing – and the control room would make a wonderful office complex.”

The demolition of the power station is unlikely to start until the end of next year at the earliest and could take three years.

Asked about the future of the site an RWE n-power spokesman said: “It could be another power asset but we’re still discussing what that could be.

“There are still a few outstanding issues to be resolved and we are some years away from demolition.”