Fountain memorial scheme progresses

An architect taking measurements ahead of a planning application being submitted for the Wooler fountain memorial.
An architect taking measurements ahead of a planning application being submitted for the Wooler fountain memorial.

A community bid to erect a memorial to mark a historic fountain in the centre of Wooler is making progress with plans being drawn up.

It is expected that a planning application for the monument will be submitted to the county council in the next couple of months.

This week, architects were on site, on the piece of land between the meeting point of Market Place and Church Street, to take measurements as part of the submission.

The community initiative dates back to early last year when residents started questioning the whereabouts of the fountain – which stood in the market square before it was demolished in 1970 – after old photographs of it were posted on the Wooler and district memories for all Facebook page.

Initially, it was hoped that the original fountain could be rebuilt, but this was quickly altered to a scheme for a replica or memorial to the fountain on the same site.

Yvette Hope, treasurer of the Wooler Fountain Memorial Committee, said: “It will not be a fountain unfortunately, because we don’t have the money or the manpower as it would need so much looking after. It will be more a meeting place with seats beside it.”

The planning application is a key step as Wooler Parish Council has agreed to take ownership of the land, but only once planning permission has been granted.

Fund-raising has therefore taken a back seat for now, as has an application for charitable status, as the entire project relies on the permission. However, a number of people have made offers of support, both financial and expertise, and the committee plans to apply for a number of grants.

It is hoped the memorial will be completed by 2018.

Erected in memory of William Wightman, an official of the Parish Guardians who was responsible for laying on a proper water supply in Wooler in the 19th century, the fountain was once an elaborate, decorated, Gothic-style structure in pink polished granite and sandstone.