At long last the Laura Place fountain is appearing on a list of applications for planning approval – in this case for B&NES to grant itself permission to commission someone to carry out major repairs.
According to the details on the application:
“Vehicle collision has caused damage to the stone fountain necessitating repairs and refurbishment works to bring the fountain back into use
This public feature is in a state of dilapidation and decay, it is within the public realm and is in a prominent position within Bath.
Allied with these works is the requirement to overhaul the existing pump mechanisms and install new electrical services.”
Basically, if you read through the report of a survey carried out by Cliveden Conservation Workshop Ltd of Kilmersdon, there are many areas where the stonework needs repair or replacing – with a new waterproof lining required to the main bowl.
The fountain was not part of the original plan for developing the Bathwick Estate – newly accessed by the building of Pulteney Bridge. After completion of Great Pulteney Street in 1877, local residents petitioned and successfully raised significant funds to build a grand column (rather like Nelson’s Column in London).
However, as construction of the tower started, the residents realised the addition would tower over the area (it would be 50 per cent taller than the houses), and so they petitioned for it to be cancelled.
After some negotiations the half-built was pulled down and the much smaller fountain installed instead.
The purpose of the fountain was to commemorate the centenary of Bath and Western Counties Agricultural Society. It received its current Grade II listed building heritage status in 1972 and has, over the years, seen a number of repairs thanks to incidents such as vehicles impacting the fountain.
Indeed, the centrepiece of the original Laura place fountain was damaged beyond repair during freshers’ week in 1969 and replaced with a modern design in 1970.
The application – and the conservation report – doesn’t say how much repairs will cost. Will our cash-starved council think it worth repairing? We shall see. A decision is expected to be reached by May.
Have a look at the application yourselves via: