A REPLICA of a Victorian drinking fountain removed from a north Durham village more than 60 years ago has been unveiled.

The Pant fountain was erected at the junction of Front Street and Snows Green Road in Shotley Bridge in 1886, marking the arrival of piped water into the village.

It was removed more than six decades ago as part of a village road scheme, eventually turning up at Beamish Museum where it can still be viewed.

A local partnership came up with the idea of a replica to replace the removed fountain when considering how to spend money invested in the community by developer Story Homes and the local authority.

Councillor Stephen Robinson, who represents the area of Durham County Council, said: “Sadly, we could not the original one back but this is an exact replica and it is absolutely beautiful.

“Some people have said they wanted to have to have water piped in but unfortunately that is not something we can do.

“The project has brought the community together and everyone has been very positive about it.”

North-East firm, Classic Masonry, was commissioned to produce a stone likeness of the original, which now has pride of place in the village.

Cllr Neil Foster, the council’s portfolio holder for economic regeneration, said: “It is really positive to see so many people and organisations coming together to deliver the schemes across Shotley Bridge.

“The installation and unveiling of the replica Pant is a great way to celebrate community pride in their village and the regeneration work that local people have led.”

Other environmental schemes being funded by Story Homes, as part of The Woodlands housing development at Shotley Bridge, and the council, are enhanced street lighting, additional parking bays on Cutlers Hall Road, new paving on Front Street and improvements to a planter on Snows Green Road.

The replica fountain was unveiled at a special ceremony today, (Thursday, May 12) which was attended by the Story Homes, Shotley Bridge Village Trust, Benfieldside, Blackhill, Bridgehill and Shotley Bridge Community Partnership, Beamish Museum, Durham Constabulary, St Cuthbert’s Church, local businesses and county council members and staff.

Richard Newsome, planner at Story Homes, said: “We are so pleased that our development, The Woodlands, has enabled Durham County Council and the Shotley Bridge Stakeholder Group to carry out a range of environmental projects which will help improve the village for residents and visitors.

“Story Homes is committed to supporting the communities around our developments, so it is fantastic that we have been able to fund the return of the water fountain to Shotley Bridge after more than 60 years.”