Fears time is running out for historic Leeds clock

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FRUSTRATED residents and traders in a Leeds suburb are considering launching a huge fundraising campaign to restore a treasured landmark.

It was thought the future of Oakwood Clock was secured with the promise of cash from Tesco as part of its plans for a larger store to replace the existing shop on Roundhay Road.

But with the project now not expected to get under way until at least 2014, locals fear the listed building might not survive the wait.

Julia Wilson, chairperson of Friends of Roundhay Park, said: “I don’t think we have got any choice but to start thinking about fundraising because it’s not going to last that long.”

She added: “It’s a landmark – symbolic of the area.

“We would hate the idea of it having to be removed for health and safety reasons.”

The Tesco plans were given the go-ahead in 2009.

One of the conditions was that the supermarket chain would hand over £300,000 to improve Oakwood’s public realm – some for restoring the clock – before construction started.

Locals believed they would have the cash by the beginning of 2013.

However, while Tesco is planning to carry out “enabling works” this year, a spokeswoman said the main building work wasn’t expected to take place until 2014 or 2015.

Deborah Hayeems, regional corporate affairs manager, said: “Tesco will be contributing money for public realm improvements when construction work on the replacement store starts, as we agreed with the council.”

Mrs Wilson said locals would look at devising a strategy at the next meeting of Oakwood Traders’ Association, later this month.

The clock is understood to need a major overhaul costing around £100,000 – which would involve taking it apart, then rebuilding it.

The historic gem was built by William Potts and Sons of Leeds, the last firm of clockmakers to receive the Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria.