Tracey Fowler, Reporter
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
A TWO-YEAR battle to return a lighthouse bell to its hometown could be nearing an end.
Portishead Town Council has agreed to spend a maximum of £12,100 to install the Battery Point Bell in Wyndham Way, close to the beginning of High Street.
The bell, which was put in the lighthouse when it was built in 1931, was removed 12 years ago because of concerns over the strength of the lighthouse.
Portishead residents Carol Thomas and Annette Hennessy helped uncover the whereabouts of the bell at the Bristol Port Company in 2010 and started campaigning for the historical item to be put on public display.
Portishead Town Council agreed to support the project and a number of sites were investigated. After the deferment of making a decision where to site the bell early in 2011, councillors were accused of dragging their feet over the venture.
The area in Wyndham Way, the site of the old sea wall, was eventually approved after consultation with highways officers. Architects have now produced the design for a frame to hold the bell and planning permission has been granted.
At the April town council meeting, councillors debated the final approval of the expenditure. Some members said it was excessive and not appropriate when cuts are being made to other services and added responsibilities are being placed on town councils. Others, however, said this was a long-standing and agreed project of the council, relevant to the heritage and enhancement of the town, which should be seen through to completion.
A vote went in favour of the project and the bell is expected to be installed later this year.