Return the Johnson Drinking Fountain to Spalding Town Centre

Return the Johnson Drinking Fountain to Spalding Town Centre

22 January 2022
Petition to
Cllr Rodney Grocock and 3 others
Signatures: 512Next Goal: 1,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Spalding and District Civic Society

The Johnson Drinking Fountain was erected in Hall Place, Spalding in 1874 to acknowledge the philanthropy of Miss Mary Johnson who gifted the equivalent of £150,000 to the Spalding Water Works Company to install water mains to large areas of the town.

In 1954, it was removed to make way for experimental traffic measures within 24 hours of a council meeting that approved the dismantling by a narrow margin. No thought was given as to where it should go. There was no coherent overall plan. At the time one councillor described it as  “One of the biggest crimes that has happened in Spalding" It was not until two years later that it was decided to put the fountain together again, in Ayscoughfee Gardens, Spalding where it remained without a water connection until 2018.

In 2018 it made way for a World War 2 memorial. At the annual meeting of South Holland District Council, the Chair of the Council, Rodney Grocock said:-

It is my ambition to seek to reinstate the Drinking Fountain within Spalding town centre. I am, however, keen to ensure that this happens in conjunction with a wider consideration of town centre improvements."

After referring to policy 25 of the South East Lincolnshire Local Plan which requires South Holland District Council to "promote appropriate opportunities to support and extend the offer of the town centre as a destination" 

I would hope the councillors would support me in proposing that officers embrace the opportunity, when implementing this new policy and considering the public realm within Spalding, to reintroduce the Drinking Fountain to a prime location in the heart of the town centre.”

Three years later, Councillor Grocock has broken that promise by proposing that it should be relocated back in Ayscoughfee Gardens, claiming that it is "not logistically feasible to position the fountain in the town." In arriving at this conclusion, there has been no direct engagement with the people of the town or community groups. 

In towns and cities throughout the country, historic drinking fountains have been restored and brought back into use, as part of the solution to combat plastic pollution. In many cases, has been done as part of wider regeneration projects. 

The fact that many areas of Spalding town centre are fully pedestrianised, makes it an entirely plausible proposition to restore the Johnson drinking fountain to the town centre in fully functioning order.

We, the undersigned, call on South Holland District Council, Lincolnshire County Council, Historic England and Anglian Water to work with community groups such as Spalding & District Civic Society to find a solution that will restore the Johnson Drinking Fountain as a working fountain in the heart of Spalding town centre.

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Signatures: 512Next Goal: 1,000
Support now