Alarm bells over landmark clock

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THE removal of a historic clock from a Wisbech building has struck alarm bells with readers.

Letters have been sent to the Citizen expressing concern and disappointment that the landmark has been removed from the front of the Bridge Street building.

Anne Fowler wrote in last week and Tom Read put together a letter this week saying he is “horrified the clock has now disappeared from the wall it has graced in Wisbech since before 1800”.

Mr Read is worried the town is losing its character and asks: “If anything can be done to bring that clock back then we should encourage that with all our might.”

The building housing the clock for many years has been sold to William H Brown whose Wisbech branch manager David Staveley said he too is disappointed the clock has gone.

He would have liked to have kept it and tried to get it working again but he said he was told it was not part of the sale.

He said the clock was mentioned in discussions with the owner who said she was removing it and that it had been in the family for three generations.

Mr Staveley said he was concerned about it being removed from a building in the Conservation Area but the clock was taken down on June 7 - the day before William H Brown purchased the building.

The clock is understood to belong to Diana Beck, of London, and Mr Staveley said William H Brown is considering some kind of replacement clock to put back on the building, which they will be expanding into.

Erbie Murat, Clerk of Wisbech Town Council, said the council is concerned the clock has disappeared without - as it understands - the proper planning permission being obtained as it was on the front of a building in the Conservation Area.

Mr Murat said the matter has been raised with a Fenland District councillor who is going to check out the situation.

The clock was made by James Dann who, Mr Murat explained, was a salaried employee of the old Wisbech Urban District Council, and it graced his shop years ago.

A spokesman for Fenland Council told the Citizen: “The clock is obviously a very attractive feature that we’d like to see stay in Wisbech.

“However, we have no powers to intervene. This is not a listed building, so it has no legal protection, and the fact that it is in a conservation area is immaterial.”