IT IS certainly a job for someone with a head for heights.
Working 150ft up, engineers are set to carry out a major repair project on Southampton’s Civic Centre Clock Tower.
That means the famous tower’s bell will be silent for at least the next five months, while its clock has also been switched off while the work takes place.
As previously reported, civic chiefs rubberstamped £350,000 of spending after extensive damage was caused by a violent storm.
The storm on Christmas Eve blew off a third of the building’s copper roof and damaged a main beam inside the tower.
That knocked the famous clock out of action, and although it was back up and running months later it has now been turned off as work begins.
Scaffolding has been put up around the 156ft structure, and work is set to last until the winter. The bell has also been turned off while works take place.
Contractors will repair and redecorate fractured stone-work, clock faces, bell frame steel and louvres.
It is hoped the project will be finished so the clock and bell will be back in action to help Southampton welcome in the New Year.
Although the work will cost the cash-strapped authority £350,000, the council has been unable to claim any money back on insurance as civic chiefs said it was not “cost effective” to take out a policy.
Labour council deputy leader and finances chief Stephen Barnes-Andrews said: “I know that the public love to hear the Clock Tower’s chiming bells and rely on its clock to tell the time, but they need to be switched off for repairs to help us preserve this wonderful landmark.
“The good news is that the repairs should be completed in time for winter and the bells will be back on to ring in the New Year in the way that our residents have come to expect over the years.”