AMENDMENTS to controversial plans for a clock tower on Minehead’s seafront have been given planning permission by West Somerset Council, despite residents calling for it not to be built.
The clock tower was designed to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee back in 2012, but financial problems meant project organisers had to push the completion date back.
It also meant original plans had to be scaled back to a smaller and less elaborate design. At a planning meeting last Thursday, councillors approved the plans by five to four votes.
Derek Webb, project treasurer, said: “We are very pleased the project has been given planning permission. We have a meeting next week to discuss final logistics but, all being well, the clock tower should be up and running by the end of the year.”
Plans are also underway for a grand unveiling of the clock tower although they are being kept under wraps for now.
A Facebook campaign to ‘Stop the Clock’ was set up by Minehead locals and has had over 100 likes. They claim that most people in Minehead do not want the clock tower and say it will add to the clutter in the lower end of The Avenue.
Despite this, 13 out of 25 letters sent to the district authority were in favour of the plans.
A spokesperson for the West Somerset Watchdogs who supported the application said: “The clock tower will be a great asset – it’s attractive and practical.
“Minehead has little of interest at this present time to attract visitors to this area, a complete contrast to this once lovely town in its heyday.
“That being the case, I feel the clock will go some way to restoring a little of that lost quality and elegance that Minehead and the seafront, in particular, were once noted for, but which is now sadly lacking.”