Work begins on £50,000 fountain repairs in Northampton

Workmen at work on fountain in Market Square, Northampton.
Workmen at work on fountain in Market Square, Northampton.

Work has started on rebuilding the broken fountain in Northampton town centre, a scheme which is expected to cost £50,000.

Northampton Borough Council hopes the work will stop the fountain becoming contaminated, and bring an end to an ongoing saga since it was built in 2010.

The first phase of work, which, got under way last week, will involve upgrading the underground system serving the fountain.

The area has been fenced off and this will remain in place throughout the work, which is expected to take 16 weeks to complete.

Councillor Tim Hadland (Con, Old Duston), cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Since last year, we’ve been investing in many improvements for the town centre to help welcome visitors to Northampton, and we hope that this investment will attract more shoppers to the Market Square.”

The fountain was built under the previous Liberal Democrat administration, at a cost of £98,000.

But it has been switched off since August 2012, when higher-than-normal levels of bacteria were found in the water. These included legionella and other bacteria, including very low levels of e-coli.

At the time, former Northampton South MP Tony Clarke, raised concerns about the safety of the fountain. But these were labelled “irresponsible” by the Conservatives.

The borough council carried out a survey about the future of the fountain last year and said 58 per cent of respondents wanted to see the fountain remodelled and switched back on.

But the announcement about the repair works was met with a mainly negative response on the Chron’s Facebook page.

James Rogers said: “They messed it up building it in the first place and now they are wasting more money on it.”

Stephanie Bailey said: “Complete and utter waste of money, if they think a fountain is going to attract more shoppers to the town they seriously are deluded. Think they need to invest the money on something worthwhile.”

Jade Buffong said: “Considering how run down our town centre is. I can think of many more beneficial ways to spend £50,000 on Northampton.”

Ieuan Howells said: “I have a stall on the market and in the summer it doesn’t attract anything other than kids running through it and the occasional joker that puts bubbles in it.”