The search for a new home for Spalding’s historic drinking fountain could be about to come to an end – at its old home.
A planning application is set to be submitted to site the Johnson Water Fountain in a “prominent” place in Ayscoughfee Gardens.
It had previously been erected there, before making way for the more recent war memorial and has been in storage since.
The fountain was originally in Hall Place having been gifted by the Spalding Water Works Company in 1874 as a thank-you to benefactor Mary Ann Johnson who helped fund fresh water to parts of the town.
Its relocation has been a hot topic with Spalding’s Civic Society leading calls to return it to the town centre.
However, Coun Rodney Grocock, South Holland District Council’s portfolio holder for assets and planning, says that’s not feasible.
Other options including siting it in front of The Vista, the Lincolnshire County Council building next door to Ayscoughfee, have been ruled out while an idea for it to be included in Spalding Cemetery was abandoned after a host of negative feedback.
Now South Holland District Council has allocated £24,000 in its budget to install the fountain back in Ayscoughfee alongside other improvements including £44,000 towards a new bandstand.
Coun Grocock said the 70 tonne fountain would not be working due to its internal lead piping being damaged and wasn’t in a position to say exactly where in the gardens it would be placed, but said a planning application would be submitted “very soon”.
“We’ve debated this so many times it must be one of the most debated issues we’ve had,” said Coun Grocock who took on the mantle of bringing it out of storage with the now defunct World War Two Committee.
“I’m looking forward to finally bring this fantastic structure out of storage for everyone to enjoy.”
On the previous calls for it to be in the town centre, Coun Grocock continued: “It’s not logistically feasible for the single reason modern day Spalding is completely different compared to when it was removed from Hall Place.
“We now have new legislation, traffic is allowed through at certain times and also, if it was placed back in the town centre, it would just get damaged.
“That’s why we’ve made a decision to place it back in Ayscoughfee.
“When it was in there before it was almost hidden away under trees and covered in bird poo.
“We’re going to put it in a really prominent position with iron railings around to protect it. There will be a board explaining its history and its importance to Spalding.”