PROPOSALS to remove civic names from Lyme's Millennium Clock have been branded 'sad' and 'churlish'.

Town councillor Owen Lovell has blasted suggestions that the re-painting of names on the clock at Cobb Gate is a waste of taxpayers' money.

Lyme Regis Town Council was due to repaint the black clock, which stands in the middle of the car park, and touch up the gold lettering.

It features the names of Coun Lovell, who was mayor in 2000, and former town clerk Mike Lewis.

But members of the council's town management committee called a halt to the repainting of the lettering until they could see how much it would cost.

Some members thought the names should be removed completely.

Coun Terry O'Grady said: “It is wasting taxpayers' money. We should get the clock painted and leave it as it is.”

Coun Lucy Campbell said: “I thought it was a really ugly clock in the first place. Fine, repair the clock and keep it in good repair but I don't see the point in doing extra bits of painting.”

But Coun Michaela Ellis disagreed. She said: “It was put there as a heritage thing for that time and it should be kept up.”

Speaking afterwards, Coun Lovell admitted the clock was controversial when it was put up at the turn of the millennium, but said it is the council's duty to maintain it regardless.

“How sad this is. It's just part and parcel of the council's job to preserve the town's history.

“If the town council does something then it's their duty to maintain it, whether they agree with it or not.”

Coun Lovell believes it is an insult to the former clerk Mr Lewis, who retired in March, and former councillor, the late Spencer Hogg, who had the idea for the clock.

“With the town clerk not having left five minutes ago after 35 years of service to the town, it seems a bit churlish to airbrush his name out,” he said.

“It was dear old Spencer Hogg who had the idea and he found out what would work and what would look good. “Just as a memorial to him alone it stands down there.

“I'm sure one or two local people won't be too happy if you airbrush the names out.”

Coun O'Grady believes it has no significance in the town's history.

He said: “It's certainly not an iconic clock and it's certainly not part of our heritage as far as I'm concerned.”

The clock was originally lit, but when the mechanism corroded the council decided in 2010 not to fix it and leave it unlit.

Coun Lovell said: “It will end up as a black barrier in the middle of the car park as the clock will pack up and they won't bother to fix it.

“As for newly arrived councillors saying it's not part of our heritage, as far as they are concerned, whatever they take on as councillors is heritage.”