The fountain in Wisbech will be repaired for the last time after vandals struck

PUBLISHED: 12:49 05 February 2018

Vandals attacked the fountain in St Peter's Church gardens, Wisbech.

Vandals attacked the fountain in St Peter's Church gardens, Wisbech.

AdGarry Samuels

The fountain in Wisbech will be repaired by Fenland District Council for the last time after being hit repeatedly by vandals.

Vandals attacked the fountain in St Peter's Church gardens, Wisbech. Vandals attacked the fountain in St Peter's Church gardens, Wisbech.

The council says it cannot afford to keep shelling out public money to repair the damage of vandals.

The latest repairs will cost around £3,000.

One councillor has called for an end to “senseless” vandalism in Wisbech while another has said why not call on the help of students to come up with an alternative design made of durable stainless steel.

Councillor Peter Murphy, the council’s portfolio holder for the environment, spoke out in disgust after the water feature in St Peter’s Church gardens was destroyed for the second time in eight months.

This picture was taken in July 2017 - Wisbech fountain runs again after vandalism forces major repairThis picture was taken in July 2017 - Wisbech fountain runs again after vandalism forces major repair

He said: “The fountain is there for everyone to enjoy and we had hoped when it was replaced last year that it would be respected and looked after for years to come.

“Sadly it has been wrecked by vandals once again, to the outrage and frustration of many in the community.

“It will cost around £3,000 to replace the fountain and repair the pond and take around eight weeks for the work to be completed, but this will be the last time the council can repair it.

“We don’t want to be defeated by these senseless criminals but we can’t afford to keep spending taxpayers’ money repairing the damage they cause.”

The latest attack happened on Monday evening, January 29, when it is believed the fountain was targeted by a group of vandals.

The fountain was pushed over and it smashed into pieces, damaging the pool lining. CCTV footage has been reviewed, but it was not focused on the location at the time of the incident.

The fountain had been in action since July last year, when the council replaced the one destroyed by vandals in May and renovated the pond at the same time.

A replica of the original 1963 fountain was installed, a new pump and filtration system were fitted and the pond repainted. The pond fish were temporarily re-homed during the work.

Councillor Virgina Bucknor said: “Instead of spending £3,000 again on another structure (which had no reinforcing rods through the centre), can you take a step back for a moment?

“Last time, there was a panic to get it dealt with quickly as it was just before Rose Fair.

“This time, what about asking Wisbech residents what they want?

“Do they want just a mock replacement again or could we get local designers, the college, etc to come up with alternative ideas and then residents vote on what they would like?

“You could select three of the best designs and let Wisbech people vote on the one they would like.

“People may think a structure made of stainless steel with the cross keys of Wisbech for example might be good as one resident has suggested.”

Phil Hughes, head of leisure services at Fenland District Council, said however that as the fountain is in the churchyard) it’s felt that a more traditional approach to the fountain is more in keeping with the surroundings.

• Anyone who with information about the vandalism is urged to contact police on 101, quoting the crime reference number CF0057050118.

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