IMPROVING Ilkley has unveiled plans to begin the restoration of the fountain at the top of Brook Street in Ilkley.

The charitable trust has received £15,000 from Ilkley BID to move ahead with phase one of their ambitious plans to create a seating area and a performance space with a working fountain at its heart.

Improving Ilkley trustee Karl Milner said: "Having satisfied the conditions set by the landowner (Bradford Council) Improving Ilkley are delighted to announce we have agreement to proceed with the first stage of the fountain development.

"This will allow us to replace the original gravity fed mechanism, repair the font and get the fountain fully working again.

"We would like to place on record our grateful thanks to Ilkley BID for their unwavering support as without them this project would not have been possible.

"Work will begin as soon as contracting is completed and we are hopeful of having the fountain working by Christmas."

The second stage of the project will be to create a space with impact featuring the fountain at its heart.

To celebrate 50 years of the Ilkley Literature Festival proposals are being developed to create three related public spaces that celebrate the spoken word. These will include a seating area and a performance space.

A competition similar to that run to commission the original Victorian fountain will be run by Improving Ilkley and through the Ilkley Gazette.

Karl added: "The winning design must sit comfortably within its surroundings and celebrate the spoken word.

"We expect this phase of development to require a planning permission and look forward to providing more details about this and the plans as we progress through phase one."

Helen Rhodes, Ilkley BID Manager, said: “Ilkley BID is delighted to work with Improving Ilkley and to provide £15,000 to fund the amazing fountain restoration project. The fountain is so important to Ilkley and it will be a pleasure to see it taking its rightful place right in the heart of the town to be enjoyed by residents and visitors now and for many years to come.

“This legacy project fulfils one of the BID’s aims to maintain Ilkley as an attractive place and enhance visitor experience and having previously worked with Improving Ilkley on the station plaza planters, we know that this important restoration work is in very safe hands. We can’t wait to see it brought back to life in all its glory.”

A meeting in public is being held today (Tuesday, October 11) at 6pm in the Town Hall when the proposals will be presented to the public.