Derby pump firm says switching on waterfall costs £22,000 less than council's quote

This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.

A Derby pump firm says it wouldn’t cost any more than £10,000 a year to switch the Market Place fountain back on – and it has even offered to maintain it for FREE.

GM Treble says it runs “arguably more impressive water features” for Nottingham and “none of which” cost £32,000 per year to run.

The £32,000 figure was quoted by the Labour-led Derby City Council when we asked how much it would cost to turn the controversial fountain back on – but Tory politicians and readers have cast doubt on the sum.

Derby manager for GM Treble, Gary Stott, said if the waterfall was switched off at night the maximum running costs for water and electricity would be £10,000 per year.

He said the remaining £22,000 of the council’s budget would have to be accounted for by litter-picking and the cleaning of graffiti.

Three-year-old Grace Harrod of Carlton plays in the water fountain in Nottingham's Old Market Square, which is maintained by GM Treble.

Three-year-old Grace Harrod of Carlton plays in the water fountain in Nottingham's Old Market Square, which is maintained by GM Treble.

But he said he did not believe that much money could be spent on those two jobs.

He said: “That figure seems somewhat inflated. It seems hard to justify £22,000 to clear up litter. They have got litter guys who deal with that anyway as part of their normal function.

“If the issue is graffiti, they would clean it off whether it was switched on or not. If I put graffiti on it now, I’m sure someone would be there tomorrow to clean it up.”

Mr Stott got in touch with the Derby Telegraph when he saw our stories about the Market Place waterfall to say he believed the council were “paying a huge premium for a basic water feature”.

He said GM Treble - which has worked on the Queen's Leisure Centre and the Market Hall - looks after an impressive water feature and fountain in Nottingham’s Old Market Square, run by Nottingham City Council.

Mr Stott said the annual running costs for the feature was "a fraction" of £32,000 – so Derby City Council’s figure for a less complex fountain was “extraordinarily high”.

He said he believed the council should invest £10,000 a year in the fountain to improve the appearance of the city centre.

And in an attempt to convince council chiefs to take the plunge he said GM Treble would be happy to provide free engineering maintenance.

He said: “Derby city centre is maybe not the most welcoming of places in my mind. It can be a bit depressing.

“The one thing we have got is a potentially-nice water feature which is switched off and looks like a concrete eyesore.

“The square could be so nice if there was running water and some nice little cafes, with people sitting around the Market Place.”

Employees at GM Treble, from left: Matthew Harris, Gary Stott, Colin Kiddy and Sam Lowe

Employees at GM Treble, from left: Matthew Harris, Gary Stott, Colin Kiddy and Sam Lowe

Mr Stott, whose firm has been in business for 50 years and employs more than 60 people, said he would hate to see the waterfall go.

He said: “It seems ludicrous that anyone would want to rip it down. It seems Derby City Council want to demolish just about everything. It seems to be the buzzword.”

A spokesman for the council said: “We thank the company for their offer and they are welcome to contact the council directly.”