Park fountain revamp hope

The Fountain in Ward Jackson Park. Below Conservative councillor Ray Wells
The Fountain in Ward Jackson Park. Below Conservative councillor Ray Wells

A PLAN to restore a prominent park fountain to its former glory could move a step closer this week.

Hartlepool Borough Council is considering proposals to refurbish the Grade II-listed fountain in Ward Jackson Park, off Elwick Road, after an approach from the Park Residents group.

The fountain has been out of order for several years and in order to get it working officers say “significant investment” is needed.

But the council is not in a position to pay for the work so it is hoping to secure external funding.

Two proposals have been put forward.

Option one is to replace the equipment in the sump to return the system to working order as per the original design. This would cost £20,000.

This option would, however, leave the fountain susceptible to flooding as the pump would remain underground.

Option two is to isolate the system from the pond, remove the existing pumps and control equipment and install a new system within the secure boat shed on site to provide complete functioning of the water feature at a cost of £60,000.

This system would rem-ove the majority of equipment from the underground chamber and place the new kit within the boat shed.
A report says the residents’ group is keen to start fund raising to raise enough money to carry out the capital works.

Mayor Stuart Drummond, cabinet member responsible for regeneration and neighbourhoods, will meet on Friday at 10am at the Civic Centre.

He is asked to support the Park Residents’ efforts to raise funds towards the refurbishment.

A report by Denise Ogden, assistant director of neighbourhood services, said: “The council welcomes the local support and interest from Park Residents Association in the care, maintenance and development of Ward Jackson Park.

“It is reassuring to see a community group potentially interested in contributing the time and support necessary to attract and secure the external funding need to fund this type of schemes, which due to the current financial climate, is not available to the local authority at this time.”

The park was developed in memory of Ralph Ward Jackson, a local industrialist, who was one of the benefactors and founding fathers of West Hartlepool. It opened in July 1883.

The fountain was manufactured by Glasgow firm Walter Macfarlane & Co and installed in 1902 to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

It was refurbished in 2000 but the system circuits and pumps are underground and are susceptible to flooding, which results in the power supply being isolated.

As a result the fountain no longer works.

Conservative group leader Ray Wells, who represents the Rural West ward, said renovation of the fountain was long overdue and that he was “disappointed” it ha taken so long to come to a portfolio holder.

Coun Wells added: “I will do my utmost to try and secure external funding.

“Ward Jackson Park is enjoyed by people right across town.”