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Time called on extravagant Arndale clock

THE death knell has sounded for the unique Father Time clock in Accrington's Arndale Centre.

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FLASHBACK... Crowds gather at the opening of the Arndale in 1987.

THE death knell has sounded for the unique Father Time clock in Accrington's Arndale Centre.

The extravagant centrepiece, which at one time drew in big crowds, is set to be pulled down to make way for an open-plan café in the Arndale's main gathering point.

The change, set to be given the green light by planning chiefs today, will mark the end of an era.

The colourful clock - which opens on the hour from a globe shape into a flower, revealing fairyland creatures playing Rock Around the Clock - has been in place since the centre's opening in 1987.

However, it has not been working since October, due to problems with its three motors.

Arndale manager David Jones admitted that, although pleased with the new plans, he would be sad to see the clock go.

He said: "We appeal to anyone who could provide a home for it to come forward. We are in talks with Hyndburn FIRST about possibly putting it in the Market Hall but nothing is finalised."

"We would be very interested to hear people's ideas about where it could go, and personally I would like to ensure it is still on public display."

Shoppers have greeted the news with mixed reactions.

Isabelle Speak, who lives in Clitheroe but works in Accrington, said: "Children always stop to have a look and they love it. It is so unique. There are similar things in other shopping malls but this is great for Accrington and it will be a sad loss."

Another shopper told the Observer: "It's not right that it should be moved. It seems like a waste of money. I didn't like it to begin with but I'm quite fond of it now. The café will be nice but could they not build it around the clock?"

Councillor Brian Walmsley, Cabinet member for leisure and public open spaces, said: "It would be a shame to see it move from there and I wouldn't like to see it put somewhere else because the kiddies like watching it and it has become a real feature."