THE clock on Holy Trinity Church in Skipton is - or is not   - the responsibility of the town council, councillors have argued.

Given a quote by just under £6,000 to repair the clock, which has not been chiming since May, councillors were divided over whether responsibility for its repair lay with the council, or the church - even though documents going back to 1976 say it was bought by the then Urban District Council.

Maintenance of the town's closed burial grounds, previously the job of the Urban District Council, was passed over to the town council following local government reorganisation in 1974.

It was disputed that the clock, classed a 'public clock', possibly along with the one on Manby's Corner, was the responsibility of the town council at a meeting last week.

A report to the public services committee, states: "The clock was purchased by Skipton Urban District Council and therefore is the property of the town council. It has been maintained by the council for many years, and we have a document that confirmed it is council responsibility dated 1976."

But, Councillor Peter Madeley in a motion that was agreed by the committee said the council should tell the church it would not put up any money, although it would help find alternative funding - including asking the public.

It was also suggested that some residents living nearby preferred it not working and also that the clock itself could only be seen in the winter, as it was normally hidden by trees.

Cllr Robert Heseltine, who suggested public subscription would easily pay for the repair, told the public services Committee: "There are a number of people in relatively close proximity who would prefer it to be silent. We do have a clock that does not chime and that no one can see apart from the winter."

In May this year, the keeper of the church steeple told the council that the chiming mechanism had broken again. It was chiming out of time so the hour chime was turned off.

The report continues that clockmakers Smith of Derby said it would cost £5,994 to repair the clock mechanism, and if it was not repaired, the fault would keep reoccurring.

The report states that in March this year a working group of councillors met with representatives of the church to discuss funding.

Ideas included sponsoring a chime or crowd funding and approaching the Church Clock Society. Also suggested was using Heritage Action Zone money, Tarn Moor or 106 funding.

However, all options were ruled out and the working group had not met again following the May local elections.

Cllr Claire Nash, a member of the working group, said at last week's meeting: "It would seem it is not the church's clock, it is our clock. We are also responsible for the clock on Manby's Corner."

Cllr Robert Heseltine added: "I'm sure that we could raise the money by public subscription, and if the church wants to chip in, fair enough."

But Cllr Madeley said it was not up to the town council to pay." Why should we be giving money out while people can't afford to turn lights on. The church is a big organisation, it is not our job to pay for it."