Residents’ views wanted on plan for Wooler monument

An artist's impression of proposed fountain monument in Wooler.
An artist's impression of proposed fountain monument in Wooler.

A councillor is encouraging residents to send him their views on a scheme to erect a memorial to mark a historic fountain in the centre of Wooler.

The application, which has split opinion, is due to go before Northumberland County Council’s planning committee in the new year.

County councillor for Wooler, Anthony Murray, will be speaking at the meeting and he is keen to gauge residents’ true feeling before he makes representations.

He said: “An application to erect a fountain in Wooler Market Square is to go before committee in the new year.

“There is mixed feeling in Wooler about this development and I want to be in an informed position before I speak at the meeting.

“I am making a request for local people to let me have their opinion in the next week or two.

“They could do this by letter, email or telephone and it would help me to properly represent the point of view of the people of Wooler when I address the committee. Please get in touch and we can discuss the issue further.”

To contact Coun Murray, email or call 01668 281062.

The original fountain, in the Market Square on High Street, was erected in 1879 as a tribute to William Wightman, who brought a proper water supply to Wooler in the late 1850s. In the severe winter of 1966, cracks appeared in the pillars and Glendale Council made inquiries as to who owned the fountain. On discovering that no one did, they decided, in 1970, to have it demolished so the road could be widened.

A design and access statement submitted with the planning application states: ‘It is proposed that the fountain be rebuilt in sandstone as was the original, following the original design as much as possible.

‘The original dedication to William Wightman will be reinstated to the fountain. However, this will be a fountain in name only, as there will be no water supply to the monument.

‘It is proposed to add approximately four wooden park benches round the fountain which will be dedicated to past worthies of Wooler, the names to be decided by the people of Wooler’.

The community initiative dates back to early last year when residents started questioning the whereabouts of the fountain. Initially, it was hoped that the original could be rebuilt, but this was altered to a scheme for a replica or memorial on the same site.

Wooler Parish Council has agreed to take ownership, but only once planning permission has been granted.