Replacing The Missing Gas Lamps Project
By Simon Freeman, Gas Lamps Working Group
Q. What is the background to the project?
Frequently Asked Questions
A. Parishioners may recall that, following a positive response to a public consultation with parishioners in 2010, the Parish Council took ownership of and commissioned the restoration of the 48 gas lamps within the Parish during 2011 to 2013. Of these, 27 are sited along Wells Road and it became apparent soon after the refurbished gas lamp lighting was fully commissioned that there were significant differences in the spacing between those gas lamps. A measured survey suggests that around 11 lamps are missing along Wells Road between the boundary with Great Malvern and the junction with Holywell Road. The assumption is that over the years these have been damaged beyond repair and removed.
Q.What is the purpose of the project?
A. To replace these 11 missing gas lamps and reinstate the heritage of the area.
Q. What would be the benefits of the project?
A. Further enhancement of the footpath lighting along the Wells Road with the use of gas powered lights whilst minimising light pollution and a further partial restoration of the original Victorian “street scene”. All this will add to the character and unique ambience of the Wells.
Q. What sort of gas lamps would be installed?
A. Original salvaged lamp posts would be used where available or faithful replicas. Original lanterns are unlikely to be available but, as has been demonstrated by the restoration of the existing gas lamps, modern replicas are virtually indistinguishable.
Q. What is the likely cost of the project?
A. The indicative capital cost of the scheme is estimated to be in the range of £70,000 to £90,000.
Q. How will the cost be funded?
A. We will apply for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. In addition, we will have to provide a contribution to the project in volunteer time and cash and will seek to apply for other grants from external bodies to cover the cash element.
Q. Who will maintain the new gas lamps?
A. The current intention is that they will be added to the existing contract to maintain the existing gas lamps.
Q. When will the project happen?
A. We first have to sort out a number of technical difficulties around gas metering and then make an application for funding. Without sufficient funding, the whole project is unlikely to go ahead. Our working estimate is to make the application for funding during the second half of 2017, and if successful, implement the project in 2018.
Q. What will be the effect on the precept if the project goes ahead?
A. Any financial contribution by the Parish to the capital cost will be met from reserves but this is not expected to be significant. No increase in the precept will therefore be required to cover any of the capital cost. There will be a proportionate increase in the existing running and maintenance costs of the gas lamps which will be met out of current income.
Q. How was the decision reached to promote the project?
A. The Gas Lamps Working Group of the Parish Council meets periodically to review all aspects of the operation of the existing gas lamps. The benefits of replacing the missing gas lamps on Wells Road emerged from those reviews and were subsequently approved by the full Parish Council.
Q. Have the parishioners been consulted?
A. A public consultation took place during August/September 2016 and a total of 72 responses were received of which 66 (over 90%) were in favour of the project.
Q. How will the project be managed?
A. Malvern Wells PC will be the 'contract holder' on the project and will have financial, legal and overall control throughout the project. Malvern Hills AONB are currently providing invaluable assistance in putting together a bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Scheme. If the bid is successful, it is intended that they will be asked to manage the implementation of the project.
Q. How can I help with the project?
A. The Gas Lamp working group would welcome volunteer help from anyone who has skills in working with the gas suppliers, community projects, Heritage Lottery projects, and marketing and public relations. If you would like to make a financial donation to the project, please contact the Clerk. We are currently considering ways to acknowledge the donors on the gas lamps.
Q. How will I be kept informed of the progress?
A. Progress reports will be published in Wells News and updates posted on the Parish website.