The new water feature that replaced the Red Bull pub on the corner of Staithes Lane was tested for the first time this week.
In keeping with the apparent intent the create a Versailles of Superstores or at least pose a local challenge to the Alnwick Gardens - the fountain is evidently capable of projecting a narrow jet of water some twenty feet into the air. The test was a half-power with merely a ten foot high jet and conditions were a bit windy - which isn't all that unusual on that corner, particularly since most of the surrounding buildings, trees, walls and hedges have been demolished and replaced with an expanse of tarmac.
So - I gather - the unfortunate workmen who were deputed to roleplay Morrisons' customers or simply passers by on the pavement were thoroughly soaked as the water sprayed over the steps, the ramps, the balustrades and halfway across the road (giving passing cars an unexpected patch of wet road on which to brake as they approach the pedestrian controlled lights).
So - NCC Highways have decided that the water feature can only be turned on in near windless conditions. At least that means the rarity of the event will make it another visitor attraction for the town.
But even that might not be the case: while out canvassing this evening, I just happened to meet someone who designs urban public realm water features and he told me that it was a well-established fact that even in still air, the spray from a fountain travelled horizontally as far as the fountain is high. A twenty foot fountain will generate spray over a twenty foot circle even in windless conditions - and that he would not have put such a feature in that location.