An iconic clock tower in Watford built at a former printworks could be demolished.

Watford Borough Council has received an application to knock down the historic Sun Clock Tower in Ascot Road in the west of the town.

The locally listed building has deteriorated over the last couple of decades or so and it could soon be wiped from the town’s history altogether.

The application has been submitted by an individual called Paul Stacey and seeks the "demolition of the derelict clock tower".

The Sun Clock Tower in 2020. Credit: Google Maps

The Sun Clock Tower in 2020. Credit: Google Maps

No concrete details about what the future of the site holds have been given within the application, however a document attached suggests the land could be primed for residential redevelopment.

A council planning officer will decide whether to grant permission to knock the clock tower down.

The striking white tower was built in the 1930s by Sun Printing works and was originally a water pumping station.

Printing had become the biggest industry in Watford; the biggest printers in the town were Sun Printers Ltd and Odhams Press, and the town soon became world-renowned for printing.

After the war, the printing industry began going into decline, with Odhams Press closing in 1978, before The Sun moved out of Watford during the 1980s with much of the site in Ascot Road redeveloped into a hotel – The Rising Sun - along with industrial units.

The site became derelict and increasingly in need of restoration.

The clock tower site pictured in the early 2010s

The clock tower site pictured in the early 2010s

A developer called Stuart Taylor wanted to turn the tower into offices but the council moved to protect the tower in 2013 after issuing an 'Article 4 Direction' notice, which meant the owner would not be able to demolish the landmark without getting planning permission from the council first.

Mr Taylor, who owned the clock tower, was also taken to court by the council over trespassing. He lost the legal battle after a judge ruled against him in a dispute over part of the land on the plot around the clock tower, which is owned by the council.

The council said at the time the clock tower land had been earmarked for use in building of the new Croxley Rail Link Metropolitan Line station in Ascot Road – the Met Line extension has since been scrapped.

Ascot Road, near Morrisons, is currently undergoing major redevelopment, including the creation of a 24-storey tower.

The latest planning application for the Sun Clock Tower can be found here.