£100,000 project announced to preserve iconic Beccles clock tower
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A £100,000 project to carry out repair and safety works on the clock tower in Beccles has been announced.
It comes after reports of loose and falling masonry back in August 2015, which prompted Waveney District Council to appoint a specialist conservation surveyor to prepare a report on the overall condition and work needed.
The report detailed the works required to take place across a five-year period and includes high-level stonework repairs and lead weathering, high-level inspection of the existing stonework, replacement of the lead to the roof, timber repairs to the roof and improvements to the drainage system. Some minor repairs to access doors and additional cleaning works were also recommended.
Work will start on August 21, and is expected to be completed by November 3.
Graham Catchpole, Waveney's cabinet member for operational partnerships, said: 'Beccles Clock Tower is an iconic structure and it is our responsibility to ensure it is preserved and maintained to the best possible standards. Unfortunately this means that we are required to undertake intrusive work from time to time, however we are also determined that any work is undertaken as efficiently as possible and we are satisfied that by combining a number of tasks we will keep disruption to a minimum.'
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The tower was built in 1515 and stands 97ft tall above the town, next to St Michael's Church.
The tower is open throughout the year for members of the public to climb the 122 steps to the top, passing the ringing chamber, clock room and bell chamber on the way.
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The work will require scaffolding to be attached to the tower and the works will be combined and undertaken in the same period to reduce the overall cost and limit the inconvenience which would be caused by repeatedly putting up scaffolding.
A spokesman from the council said its conservation officer and Historic England have been consulted and agreed with the proposed works.
The contract has been awarded to Universal Stone Ltd.