Timely Leeds landmark could be restored in new campaign

CLOCK WORK: Roger Willams, Coun Ghulam Hussain and Nick Wayne by the Oakwood Clock. PIC: Mark Bickerdike
CLOCK WORK: Roger Willams, Coun Ghulam Hussain and Nick Wayne by the Oakwood Clock. PIC: Mark Bickerdike
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People in a Leeds suburb are launching a huge campaign to restore a treasured landmark.

The Oakwood Traders And Residents Association is aiming to raise the £120,000 needed to save Oakwood Clock.

The group is planning to contact organisations, businesses and householders across the area, asking them to contribute what they can to the fund.

And the Friends of Roundhay Park (FoRP) has pledged the first £1,000 to kickstart the fundraising drive.

Roger Williams, local businessman and committee chairman, said: “We want to restore it to its former glory and try to ensure that it is maintained in that good state.

“And we want to get it done as soon as possible.”

He added: “It’s a much-loved feature of Oakwood and I think everybody wants to see it restored. It’s looking rather sad at the moment and it reflects badly on the whole area.”

The base of the clock, off Roundhay Road, was recently fenced off for repairs after a rotting post collapsed.

Julia Wilson, chairperson of FoRP, said: “It wasn’t dangerous but it looked horrendous.”

It was thought the landmark’s future had been secured as long ago as 2009, with the promise of cash from Tesco under plans for a larger store to replace its existing shop on Roundhay Road.

But with the supermarket project now not expected to get underway until at least 2014, locals feared the clocktower wouldn’t survive the wait.

As well as asking locals to fund the project, the committee will also be applying for charity funding to restore the tower.

And plans for a raffle, with cash prizes and gifts provided by traders in the local area, are already under way.

Mr Williams said that with the right prizes, he hoped it could raise as much as £30,000.

Although the clocktower is a public building, cash-strapped Leeds City Council cannot afford to restore it.

But all three Roundhay councillors – Coun Ghulam Hussain, Coun Christine Macniven and Coun Bill Urry – are backing the project and hope to provide some funding through their MICE money.

Oakwood clock was made by William Potts & Son, one of the most important makers of turret clocks in Britain and the last firm of clockmakers to receive the Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria. It was originally situated at Kirkgate Market in Leeds city centre but moved to Oakwood 100 years ago.

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