Elliot Group has acquired Liverpool’s Beetham Plaza, the site where the fountain is located, and is planning to build a £15m boutique hotel but there is local opposition to the plan. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool developer Elliot Group says the city’s famous bucket fountain can still be relocated despite it being given a Grade-II listing by Historic England.
Elliot Group has acquired Beetham Plaza, the site where the fountain is located, and is planning to build a £15m boutique hotel and, as part of the plan, has offered to pay to relocated the installation to a more prominent city centre location.
However, the project has met with local opposition. A campaign group led by local Labour councillors Nick Small and Maria Toolan is adamant the bucket fountain should stay exactly where it is.
Richard Huws’s unique water installation was commissioned by Merseyside Civic Society in 1962 to commemorate the start of the Tryweryn Scheme, which would provide drinking water to Liverpool. Around 70 people in the Welsh village of Capel Celyn lost their homes as a result of the scheme which was opposed by Huws.
Elliot says it welcomes the news of the listing of the fountain but added that doesn’t mean it can’t be moved. Founder Elliot Lawless said: “We’re proud to own such a wonderful piece of Liverpool heritage. It’s got a fascinating back-story and is a unique piece of engineering.
“We entirely respect Historic England’s ruling but listing does not, of itself, preclude the fountain from being moved to a more prominent location where more people can enjoy it. We’re still considering that option and are discussing two possible sites with the council. There’s quite a bit of work to do in that regard and I have a team of heritage consultants advising me.
“In the meantime, I’m hoping that this news will encourage more people to come and see and enjoy it in its current setting. Residents in Beetham Plaza and others in the area have long complained that it can attract anti-social behaviour and so more visitors will help eliminate that sort of nuisance.
“We’ll also begin a programme of maintenance and improvement to the fountain, as we take our role as custodian very seriously.”
The original home for the fountain was intended to be at the junction of Bold Street and Hanover Street, but this was rejected by planners. Two further sites were rejected before developers Thames Estates and Investments offered the newly-created plaza to the rear of a new office development on Goree as home.
Cllr Small added: “”I welcome the decision by Historic England to list the Piazza Fountain and viewing platforms and to recognise the importance of its location in Beetham Plaza. This will help protect the fountain in its current location for years to come.”