A charity which campaigns to save 20th century architecture and design has thrown its support behind calls to save the Sun Clock Tower.

The Twentieth Century Society has written to the Government planning inspector and asked them to uphold a decision by Watford Borough Council to refuse the demolition of the historic monument.

Residents in Watford believe the clock tower is one of the last signs of the town’s rich printing heritage.

The council agreed, acknowledging the Sun Clock Tower was of "historic significance" and a "positive local landmark" to Watford.

But the building remains under threat after applicant Paul Stacey appealed the council’s decision.

Watford Observer:

Since the appeal process went live in June, members of the public and interested parties have had the chance to make representations to the planning inspector – either for or against the demolition.

In her letter of support for the Sun Clock Tower to the Planning Inspectorate, Coco Whittaker, who is a caseworker at Twentieth Century Society, said the council "acted responsibly and made the right decision to preserve this locally significant building".

Watford Observer: Credit: Lynda BullockCredit: Lynda Bullock

She also wrote: "Watford and Bushey were centres of the printing industry in 19th- and 20th-century Britain. The reputable Sun Engraving Company established a large printworks on Whippendell Road in the early 20th century. The printworks used the rotary photogravure process, a method of printing which demanded a constant and reliable water supply.

"This prompted the company to establish its own well and pump house in 1934. The building erected to accommodate the well and pumping equipment is now known as the Sun Clock Tower and was designed by George W. Knight of Stanley Peach & Partners.

"While Knight could have chosen to build a functional building to house the pumping equipment, he instead designed an aesthetically pleasing and eye-catching Art Deco structure with a prominent clock tower, decorated with ‘SUN’ and ‘SEC’ (for the Sun Engraving Company).

"The Sun Engraving Company’s printworks have been demolished and the Sun Clock Tower is the last structure to survive. It is an important monument to the history of the printing industry in Watford."

Watford Observer: Credit: Stephen DanzigCredit: Stephen Danzig

She added: "Being a small building on the edge of a generous plot, we are confident that it would be possible to develop the site while still retaining the building. The Sun Clock Tower could be creatively adapted for a new use as part of a wider development."

Ms Whittaker concludes her letter: "The Society maintains its objection to the demolition of the Sun Clock Tower, a locally listed non-designated heritage asset which makes a positive contribution to the character and distinctiveness of the local area.

"In our opinion, the local authority acted responsibly in refusing the application and we urge the Planning Inspectorate to uphold its decision."

Watford Observer: Credit: Mark CrowleyCredit: Mark Crowley

Residents can let the inspector know why the clock tower should be saved via the Planning Inspectorate website.

People can make comments via the 'interested party comments' section and comments must be submitted by July 15. An account will need to be created with the Inspectorate in order to make comments.

The case can be found at https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/

The appeal case reference is number is APP/Y1945/W/21/3271999 although only the last seven numbers of '3271999' are needed to search for the case.