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Call for action over Norwich park's 'eyesore' fountain

Tarpaulin covers the broken fountain in Eaton Park, Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Tarpaulin covers the broken fountain in Eaton Park, Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2011

Calls have been made for action over a broken fountain in one of Norwich's most historic parks, with one councillor branding it an eyesore.

The domed mosaic fountain in the rose garden at Eaton Park was revamped as part of £1.6m worth of improvements to the park in 2003 and turned into a colourful art installation.

But children took to playing on the fountain and the tiles have become so weathered that they are flaking away.

Because of the dangers that poses, the fountain was declared off limits and has been hidden beneath a green tarpaulin for more than a year.

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton ward, said it was “an eyesore which blighted the landscape of a beautiful park” and said many would rather see a traditional fountain installed in its place.

She raised a question about the fountain’s fate at a recent council meeting after she was told replacing the tiles with non-slip ones which would not crack would cost £36,000.

Mrs Lubbock questioned why it would cost so much and said: “If it is the council’s responsibility to finance the renovation, could the cabinet member give some assurances that the public will have a say in how much money is spent in bringing this fountain back into use, especially if residents want a more traditional fountain replacement like the original one.”

Deborah Gihawi, cabinet member for play, parks and open spaces, said because the fountain was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) any changes to features in the park had to be approved by them.

She added: “Discussions have been held with HLF and it has been made very clear to the council that removal of the water feature would have to be the very last option available.”

The initial estimate of £36,000 had been revised, she said, and the repairs would cost less than that.

Mrs Lubbock invited Mrs Gihawi to visit the fountain yesterday and said afterwards: “We are between a rock and a hard place because we are tied in to maintain the fountain.

“The only alternative is if someone comes up with an another idea which can be funded within the budget and that the HLF is happy with.

“We may be stuck with this one, but I’ve been told they could replace the pieces with coloured non-slip granite and at least now we have been given the full information.”

Would you rather see the fountain replaced or repaired? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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