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Iconic tower reopens to visitors for first time in seven months

PUBLISHED: 09:26 01 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:28 04 April 2018

Beccles mayor, Richard Stubbings, right, with Waveney District Council leader, Mark Bee, and councillor Caroline Topping, on the top of the refurbished clock tower at Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Beccles mayor, Richard Stubbings, right, with Waveney District Council leader, Mark Bee, and councillor Caroline Topping, on the top of the refurbished clock tower at Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

The iconic Beccles bell tower reopened to the public for the first time since renovation work was completed.

Beccles mayor, Richard Stubbings, left, councillor Caroline Topping, front right, councillor Graham Catchpole, back right, and tour guides Chloe Baker, and Roger Tuthill, on the top of the refurbished clock tower at Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Beccles mayor, Richard Stubbings, left, councillor Caroline Topping, front right, councillor Graham Catchpole, back right, and tour guides Chloe Baker, and Roger Tuthill, on the top of the refurbished clock tower at Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The tower, which stands in the heart of the town, had seven months of vital repair and safety work, with scaffolding obstructing the view of the 16th century structure until earlier this month.

Due to unexpected delays, work on the tower finished five months behind schedule with an estimated cost of £123,000.

Councillors from Waveney District Council (WDC) and Beccles Town Council were both in attendance for the opening of the tower, with Beccles’ mayor Richard Stubbings, WDC leader Mark Bee, and WDC and Beccles Town Council councillors Graham Catchpole and Caroline Topping there to see the tower re-open its doors.

Mr Stubbings said he was delighted to see the tower reopened.

Beccles mayor, Richard Stubbings, admires the view of the town from the top of the refurbished clock tower. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Beccles mayor, Richard Stubbings, admires the view of the town from the top of the refurbished clock tower. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

He said: “It was beautiful. They have done a great job. It’s difficult to examine the stonework on the outside on the way up, but it looks to have been done very well.

“They have raised the railings at the top so it is even safer and it is a fantastic view from the top.

He added: “It is a fantastic way to see the town and the surrounding countryside. You can even see Lowestoft from the top.”

Mrs Topping, town councillor and Waveney District Councillor for Beccles, was one of the first people up to the top of the newly re-opened tower.

The refurbished clock tower at Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The refurbished clock tower at Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

She said: “It was a bit blowy up there this morning at the top and my hair was blowing all over the place.

“The view up there is amazing. You can almost imagine that you are in old Beccles with the gardens and the river running through the town.

“There are things that you can see from up there that you can’t see elsewhere so it is nice to be able to see them again.”

She added: “It is a rather expensive building to maintain and Beccles Town Council’s money that they get from running the inside does go in to running the building.

The refurbished clock tower at Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The refurbished clock tower at Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“It is a tourist attraction. Lowestoft and Southwold have their beaches and their seaside. The quay is our beach basically, so we have to maximise our little jewels like the bell tower.

The tower is expected to be open to the public every Saturday until the end of the year, with entry costing £2.50 for adults and £1.50 for children.

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