Published July 16, 2018 at 16:31
Councillor Jackie Oakes, Acting Chair Bacup THI Board, and Councillor Jimmy Eaton have today issued this letter to Lancashire County Council:
You will be aware of the much anticipated public realm and highways works that have now commenced in Bacup. This has brought renewed focus on the former fountain which is at the centre of the town centre and whether this could be restored to be a water feature or alternatively enhanced with smart lighting to give a similar appearance to water.
On 3rd May we received the following position statement from Lancashire County Council: “I can confirm that at the present time the County Council is unable to prioritise investment in the refurbishment, management or maintenance of the Coronation fountain in Bacup.
“Should an appropriate third party wish to investigate the restoration of the fountain then the County Council would assist in identifying the issues to be addressed and looking for solutions.
“A restored fountain would be an attractive feature and there is currently no safe pedestrian access or standing area next to it. Road safety and public health in particular would need to be addressed and we would want any third party to enter into a formal agreement about its ongoing operation and maintenance which ensured no additional obligations fall upon the County Council in the future.”
This statement, although welcome, leaves some ambiguity in regard to its future operational use. The Bacup THI board passed a motion on 12th July supported by both political groups asking for Lancashire County Council to actively seek a workable solution to this ongoing issue in particular; will a water or a lighting solution be agreeable to the County Council as the highways authority?
It is unclear if funding can be raised for the restoration but, if this is forthcoming from the community, we are asking the County Council in view of the strength of feeling to reconsider if it would be possible to take responsibility for the annual maintenance costs. It would also be logical to carry out the works on the former fountain with the current public realm work to minimise disruption.
A swift response to this issue would be very much welcomed.