Calls for historic Victoria Fountain in Brighton to be turned back on

Brighton’s Conservatives have called for a historic fountain to be switched on again.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 7:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 7:10 pm
Conservative councillor Dee Simson at the Victoria Fountain

The Victoria Fountain in Steine Gardens dates back to 1846 and famously features intertwined dolphins.

A group of Conservative councillors want Brighton and Hove City Council to clean the graffiti from the fountain and get it up and running again.

Cllr Dee Simson said: “The Victoria Fountain used to be a centre point and symbol of Brighton and a reflection of a City that took pride in its appearance and welcomed visitors. It has been left switched off for months (if not years) and overgrown with weeds; with the surrounding Old Steine Gardens left to decay.

The council said the fountain will need to be dismantled to assess what repairs are needed

“The area is in a dreadful state and also highly unsafe for women to walk after dark with nine out of the ten council lamps broken leaving the gardens pitch black."

Cllr Simson, who is the Conservative spokesperson for Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture, added: “It looks like the council has given up on maintaining this area, which is sad for the city. Turning the fountain back on and fixing the nine broken street lights will bring some pride back to our city centre and better welcome tourists to the city.”

Cllr Carol Theobald said “Old Steine Gardens and the Victoria Fountain are in a sorry state. There also used to be beautifully planted gardens that were maintained all year round to welcome visitors. The area is no longer well-maintained and the council has stopped the annual City in Bloom which is a shame. It was so sad to hear that the historic dolphins were left unattended in a field. The council really needs to do better and take a look at some of the pictures from the past to see how well-maintained this area used to be.”

A spokesperson for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “The Victoria Fountain has significant and complex structural problems. There is no easy or quick way to fix these. It was switched off for safety reasons. Some bolts are corroded and the existing water and electricity supplies require repair. It has been made safe temporarily.”

The spokesman said the fountain would need to be dismantled to be inspected and rebuilt, so works would be carried out in the quieter winter months. The spokesman added: “Once funding is confirmed we can proceed with the remedial repairs and refurbishment of the fountain for its re-erection in Summer 2023.”

The council said its city parks team had been under intense pressure due to staff shortages and recruiting issues since the UK left the EU.

However, some new staff have been recruited and the council is trying to catch up with work that had been delayed, said the spokesman.

The council said it will be scheduling work to improve the area around the fountain ‘as soon as we can’ including the broken street lights.

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