The sculpture in Liverpool, now owned by Elliot Group following its purchase of Beetham Plaza earlier this year, could still be moved despite a listing by Historic England, with two sites under consideration for its relocation.
The fountain commemorates the start of the controversial Tryweryn Water Scheme, which led to the displacement of 70 residents of Capel Celyn village after it was flooded.
Commissioned in 1962 and delivered by Richard Huws, the fountain sits at the centre of Beetham Plaza, although its original site was intended to be at the junction of Bold Street and Hanover Street.
After buying Beetham Plaza in January this year, Elliot Group had proposed to relocate the fountain to accommodate plans to build a 100-room aparthotel to be occupied by Epic, with Falconer Chester Hall as architect.
The developer submitted an application earlier this year but in May asked for the application not to be considered pending a possible listing by Historic England; that listing has now been confirmed by the heritage body and following a campaign supported by local councillors including Cllr Nick Small.
Elliot Group director Elliot Lawless welcomed the listing and added that two sites were still being considered for the fountain’s relocation, one of which is understood to be Williamson Square.
“We’re proud to own such a wonderful piece of Liverpool heritage. It’s got a fascinating back-story and is a unique piece of engineering,” he said.
“We entirely respect Historic England’s ruling but listing does not, of itself, preclude the fountain from being moved to a more prominent location where more people can enjoy it. We’re still considering that option and are discussing two possible sites with the council. There’s quite a bit of work to do in that regard and I have a team of heritage consultants advising me.
“In the meantime, I’m hoping that this news will encourage more people to come and see and enjoy it in its current setting.
“Residents in Beetham Plaza and others in the area have long complained that it can attract anti-social behaviour and so more visitors will help eliminate that sort of nuisance. We’ll also begin a programme of maintenance and improvement to the fountain, as we take our role as custodian very seriously.”
Elliot Group is being advised by Stephan Levrant Heritage Architecture on Beetham Plaza.
The mixed-use Beetham Plaza was completed in the 1990s and includes 42 luxury apartments, the restaurants Etsu and Silk Road, 4,500 sq ft of offices, and an underground cark park.