A £30,000 price tag for protecting one of Burnham’s most iconic landmarks has been branded as “ridiculous” by residents.

Burnham Clock Tower, which juts out the High Street, needs bollards around it to protect it from veering cars, according to the town council.

A meeting last Tuesday heard bosses at Essex County Council had estimated it would cost about £30,000 to add two bollards and carry out additional work on the highway.

Mayor Ron Pratt, who sits on the Maldon Local Highways Panel, said: “As this has gone ahead, we have asked highways whether we can put bollards and I think the estimate is something in the region of £30,000.

“They are saying they want a pavement around the bollards. All we want is a couple of bollards.

“Highways are looking at it and they expect the kerb to follow the route of the road and if we are putting bollards out, they say it would change the route of the road.

“We are in discussion with Essex County Council.”

If the money is spent, the kerb around the building, built in 1877, would have to be extended to allow the bollards to be installed and offset from the road by 450mm.

The bus stop next to the 19th century tower would also have to be moved under highways rules.

But Burnham resident, Anne Cooze, said: “Putting bollards round the clock tower is quite ridiculous. People driving on the High Street shouldn’t be doing more than 30mph – they are not going to hit it.”

Alex Jennings, 84, of Fernlea Road, said: “I am 100 per cent in favour of preserving anything of historic interest in Burnham. If the figure for work is in that region I am not sure how they arrived at it. I can’t see why a couple of bollards and moving the bus stop would cost that much.”

A spokesman for Essex County Council confirmed Burnham Town Council had been advised of the additional work required and its cost.

Burnham Town Council has been advised to submit the scheme to the Local Highways Panel for consideration.

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

Clock Tower history:

THE tower was built for just £178 as a memorial to Laban Sweeting, a respected local resident, oyster merchant and a member of the Burnham River Company.

On news of his death, the town was brought to a standstill and it was decided a permanent memorial should be built in his memory.

The clock tower was attached to what was the only school in Burnham at the time, the Endowed School, in 1863.