Burntisland folk delighted at news clock chimes will sound this Christmas

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Residents in Burntisland are looking forward to a much merrier Christmas this year after being told their beloved clock chimes are to be returned.

Three years after they fell silent, the chimes are set to ring out once again, thanks to the wonders of new technology.

With the cost of replacing the clock being too restrictive, the sound of the chimes striking out the hour will be heard over the festive period, with speakers to be mounted in the tower to chime out between 7am and 10pm.

And the news is being welcomed around the town where traders and townsfolk say they have missed the clock chiming between dawn and dusk.

The clock fell silent in November 2010 following a noise complaint from a local resident, despite a huge protest from hundreds of people living and working in Burntisland.

Further works in 2012 revealled that the structure was unsound, with cracks discovered, and the clock and part of the tower was removed for public safety.

With the estimated cost of repair around £350,000 and an appeal to Historic Scotland last year proving unsuccessful, it could be some time until the clock is brought back, however the reinstatement of the chimes is the next best thing according to local councillor George Kay.

“We’re still trying to find the money to repair the clock tower, but somebody came up with the idea that even if we couldn’t bring back the tower, we could bring back the chimes,” he told the Press.

“The mechanism has always been in place, so all it will take is for somebody to install the necessary gadgetry and the chimes will be played on the hour.”

Ross Tulloch, Fife Council professional for structural engineering, said: “Following representations from local councillors and the community council, the chimes from what was the town clock are set to be reinstated in time for Christmas.”

Alex MacDonald, chairman of Burntisland Community Council, said: “We always have in mind the bigger picture of restoring the clock tower and putting the Burgh Chambers into regular use. However, that’s a longer term project which will require significant funding. So this early move to reactivate the chimes is very much a step in the right direction.”

Ian Archibald, chairman of Burntisland Heritage Trust, said: “The return of the clock tower in full working order polled the highest number of votes in the Burntisland Community Futures report.

‘‘Given the season we are no doubt expected to sing ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ but replacement of clock chimes is no substitute for the real thing.”