Fountain feature to be restored to Tullygarley

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There are plans to replace a local landmark that distinguished Tullygarley for many years.

A distinctive, ornate fountain was the centrepiece of the area until it was demolished in a road traffic accident in the 1950s and Tullygarley Community Development Group is keen to install a new one.

Funding is being sourced and a planning application is in the preparation stages for the project, which will be the culmination of a four-year strategic regeneration plan.

Bangor artist David Dudgeon, who crafted the beautiful wrought iron railings already installed in Tullygarley, has been commissioned to design and produce an intricate Edwardian structure, based on the fountain at Chaine Memorial Road.

“Unfortunately, in spite of a public appeal for photos showing what the original Tullygarley fountain looked like, we couldn’t find one that was taken close enough to the fountain to show any real detail,” explained community group chairman, Rusty Johnston.

The finished fountain – which will be for decorative purposes only – will cost over £11,000 and is the final piece in the jigsaw for Tullygarley Community Development Group.

“The fountain will be in the middle of the flower bed on the triangular traffic island that separates Glynn Road, Circular Road and Bank Road and will be a focal point for the community. Older people remember how people used to stop at the original fountain for a chat.

“We think it was installed in the early 1900s to replace a water trough that was provided for farmers and coal merchants to water their horses,” said Mr Johnston.

To date, the Tullygarley strategic plan has involved replacement of a paramilitary mural with a historical and cultural public art work, along with a children’s play park, landscaping and the replacement of the Twelfth of July bonfire with an environnmentally-friendly pyre.

Having applied for grant aid from the SPOD (Small Pockets of Deprivation) scheme, the group has already been given the green light from Roads Service to place the fountain on the traffic island, which will help with the planning case.

Alderman Jack McKee requested on the group’s behalf that Larne Borough Council officers should provide advice on submitting the application. He told colleagues at the council’s monthly meeting that he believed the substantial improvement work completed to date at Tullygarley merited a positive response.

Fellow town councillor Roy Craig said the association required help with the paper work.

Council chief executive Geraldine McGahey said officers would be happy to discuss the project with the Tullygarley group, although she highlighted the fact that the council does not own the property on which the fountain is to be erected.