A monument which locals have described as one of the last reminders of Watford's rich printing history has been saved from demolition for a second time.

The Sun Clock Tower in Ascot Road was under threat after an applicant appealed Watford Borough Council's decision to refuse to knock it down.

But a Government planning inspector recognised the former industrial pump house as a "landmark building" and dismissed the applicant's appeal.

In their report, published on Friday, the inspector said the loss of the Art-Deco style Clock Tower would "erode the distinctiveness of the surrounding area, harming its character and appearance".

They described it as "striking" with "distinctive architectural qualities" and objected to the loss of the locally listed building.

Watford Observer: The Sun Clock Tower. Credit; Mark Crowley/Watford Observer Camera ClubThe Sun Clock Tower. Credit; Mark Crowley/Watford Observer Camera Club

More than 200 people formally objected to the application when it was first submitted to the council earlier this year.

The council refused the application, recognising the Clock Tower as an "important local landmark building with architectural interest, which retains historic significance for the local area".

Related: Application to demolish historic clock tower refused

Related: Sun Clock Tower refusal decision appealed by applicant

In his appeal, applicant Paul Stacey described the clock tower, built in 1934, as "hazardous" and "unfit for purpose".

Although they recognised the building is currently vacant and acknowledged Mr Stacey's comments about break-ins and vandalism, the inspector stated in their report there is "little firm detail to substantiate the assertion that the building is dangerous".

They added: "While I acknowledge that the building is currently in visibly poor condition, I am not therefore persuaded that this fact justifies its demolition."

Related: Calls to restore Sun Clock Tower after it is saved from demolition

Watford Observer: The Sun Clock Tower and the site it sits within. Credit: Stephen DanzigThe Sun Clock Tower and the site it sits within. Credit: Stephen Danzig

Mr Stacey also wrote in his appeal that the site the tower sits in provides a "redevelopment opportunity" for the council.

The inspector responded: "Without detailed proposals and bearing in mind the positive contribution that the existing building makes to local distinctiveness, I am also unable to ascertain whether or not redevelopment of the site would benefit the character and appearance of the area."

The inspector formally concluded: "The benefits of the proposal are insufficient to outweigh the total loss of the locally listed building and the harm to its significance as a non-designated heritage asset.

"I therefore conclude that the proposed demolition of the locally listed building would not be justified, and I find that the development would cause unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding area."

Watford Observer: The Sun Clock Tower in the shadow of a 24-storey building under construction. Credit: Lynda Bullock/Watford Observer Camera ClubThe Sun Clock Tower in the shadow of a 24-storey building under construction. Credit: Lynda Bullock/Watford Observer Camera Club

The Sun Clock Tower is a former industrial pump house building with a clock tower, built in 1934.

The building was constructed to extract water for industrial purposes for the Sun Engraving Company, which had a large printing works next door.

The building closed down as a working site in the 1980s and fell into disrepair, although some restoration has been carried out on the roof. The building is still visible to passers-by.