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Floozie fountain to be filled with flowers while council works out how to plug leak

Floozie fountain to be filled with flowers while council works out how to plug leak

🕔26.Jun 2015

Birmingham’s ‘Floozie in the Jacuzzi’ fountain in Victoria Square is to be filled with flowers and plants over the summer after city council leaders admitted they couldn’t afford to keep the spectacular water feature running.

The fountain, near the Council House entrance, which cost £3.5 million to build, has not been fully operational since late 2013.

In 2010 the Birmingham landmark was given a £300,000 facelift by the council.

Since then attempts to identify and plug a leak have failed, leaving the local authority facing “unsustainable” £2,000 a day running costs to switch the fountain back on – £730,000 a year.

Deputy council leader Ian Ward explained that it had been decided to fill the fountain with flowers and plants pending a full feasibility study to establish the full extent of the problem and the cost and timescale of repairing it.

Cllr Ward said:

Victoria Square is one of Birmingham’s most popular and best used public spaces, with the fountain being the first thing many people see when entering the square.

We recognise that Victoria Square does not look its best when the fountain is not flowing and are determined to resolve this issue as soon as we know the full extent of the work and costs required. We know that if we left the fountain flowing then it would cost around £2,000 a day – more than a £100,000 a year – in water alone, which is simply not financially sustainable.

However, rather than continue with the fountain switched off, we want to ensure that Victoria Square is as attractive as possible for those who use it on a daily basis and that the ‘Floozie’ remains a focal point.

As a city, we have won national recognition for our high quality floral displays, as evidenced by our continued success at the Chelsea Flower Show, so it is a logical progression to extend this expertise to one of our best known landmarks until such a time as the fountain is up and running again.

Cllr Ward added that he planned to have the planting completed by mid-July, including the upper pool housing the Floozie, the lower pool which features two smaller statues and the cascade steps between the two, creating a colourful centrepiece to Victoria Square.

The Floozie, or The River as it is formally known, was completed in 1994, when Victoria Square was officially reopened by Diana, Princess of Wales.

Built by Indian sculptor Dhruva Mistry following an international design competition, the fountain is meant to represent youth and eternity.

Words from the poem Burnt Norton by T S Eliot are engraved on the rim of the upper pool:

And the pool was filled with water of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.

The water in the pool flows at a rate of 12,000 litres per minute, when it is working.

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