Fountain may have to move for new hotel.
Byline: PADDY SHENNAN ECHO Writer firstname.lastname@example.org @PaddyShennan
A DEVELOPER has submitted a planning application for a hotel which would involve the controversial relocation of a much-loved fountain.
As the ECHO has previously reported, Elliot Group wants to build a boutique hotel on Beetham Plaza, in the city centre, between Drury Lane and The Strand.
The company also wants to move the Piazza Fountain - aka the "Bucket Fountain" - from the Plaza, where it has been for more than 50 years.
But it is facing opposition, with more than 3,000 people having signed a petition.
Richard Huws, then a lecturer at the Liverpool School of Architecture, was commissioned to design the fountain by the Merseyside Civic Society in 1962. It opened on the then Goree Piazza, on May 2, 1967.
Elliot Lawless, of Elliot Group, said: "Beetham Plaza remains one of the most successful residential developments on Liverpool's waterfront, but the public square behind needs more animation and life to support its commercial tenants.
"If we re-site the fountain, it will enable us to develop a new hotel and new ground-floor restaurant and cafe space while investing in the public realm and a new lighting scheme. Residents and businesses will share in the benefits of this investment and the extra footfall."
The developer said it recently asked the public for ideas regarding "suitably visible" locations for the fountain, and added that Williamson Square and a refurbished Strand were popular suggestions.
Mr Lawless commented: "The fountain is a one-off, but it's hidden away in a corner that both locals and tourists rarely find.
"It merits a more prominent location so that it can become one of the city's 'must Instagram' attractions."
But a spokesperson for Friends of the Piazza Fountain said: "The fountain appears in every guidebook about Liverpool, and has many visitors every day.
"We would be interested to know the background to Elliot Group's comment that the public have suggested that Williamson Square or The Strand would be popular locations for resiting.
"An online petition to save the fountain has more than 3,000 signatories, and very few suggested that relocation would be their preferred option.
"Our bucket fountain is the last remaining example of a world-famous designer's sound sculptures, and was deliberately designed to recreate the sound of the sea.
"Its location on the Goree Piazza, close to the river, was deliberate, as it commemorated the role that Liverpool played in the Atlantic slave trade."
The Piazza Fountain faces possible relocation, to the annoyance of local residents Picture: COLIN LANE