A local authority leader has allocated £1,500 to repair a historic clocktower and restore its chimes in an apparent U-turn.

Hyndburn Council leader Cllr Marlene Haworth has made the grant to the Great Harwood Civic Group for the work to the Mercer Memorial Clock Tower in the township.

The move follows Great Harwood Labour councillors Noordad Aziz and Colin McKenzie condemning her refusal to find the money to refurbish the bell in the landmark monument earlier this month.

The 1921 clocktower was built to celebrate the work of scientist John Mercer who invented and gave his name to 'Mercerised' cotton cloth.

But following the intervention of Great Harwood, Rishton and Clayton-le-Moors Conservative County Councillor Carole Haythornthwaite, Cllr Haworth has reversed her decision.

She has used £1,500 from her special £20,000 Leaders Budget to pay for the work and is working on plans to establish a future maintenance budget for the clock.

Cllr Haworth, Leader of the Council, said: “I am pleased to confirm that I have allocated £1,500 to the Great Harwood Civic Group from my leader’s budget for repair works to the Mercer Memorial Clock Tower.

"This is following a request that came directly to me from County Cllr Haythornthwaite after the community approached her asking for help.

“I am now working alongside officers at the council to establish an ongoing annual budget for repair and maintenance work, ensuring we prevent this extent of work being needed again in the future.”

Overton ward's Cllr McKenzie said: "I welcome this U-turn by Cllr Haworth but the council should have paid for this anyway. It looks like the civic society will still have to find £500 for the work."

The announcement of funding for the Mercer Memorial Clock Tower follows the confirmation of new lighting installations for both Rishton and Oswaldtwistle War Memorials.

St Andrews Conservative councillors and council deputy leaders Peter Britcliffe and Steven Smithson are finalising these plans.

Mr Mercer (1791-1866) discovered the process to give cotton cloth a silk-like sheen by accident while experimenting with caustic soda.

The clock memorial to him was erected on Great Harwood's Towngate by public subscription and unveiled by Alderman Thomas Broughton, the then Mayor of Accrington.

Cllr Haworth added that Cllr Danny Cassidy was making arrangements to add the names of heroes that are currently missing from war memorials in the borough