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Historic fountain 'should be returned to South Norwood'

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A HISTORIAN wants Croydon Council to reinstall a drinking fountain bought by the people of South Norwood to commemorate Queen Victoria's golden jubilee.

John Hickman wants Croydon Council to transport the fountain and put it back in its original spot on South Norwood Hill.

The fountain, erected in 1887, remains in a council depot in Purley after it was removed in what Mr Hickman called "an act of vandalism" ten years ago.

The wall the fountain was in was demolished to make room for an extra parking space but 1-9 South Norwood has subsequently been redeveloped.

However, permission for the development, which began in autumn 2010, was predicated on the fountain being installed into a wall next to the site.

But Mr Hickman and community group People for Portland Road are still waiting for the antique font to be reinstalled at the site opposite Stanley Halls.

Mr Hickman said: "It was bought by the people of South Norwood for South Norwood so it can't be right. As a community, we paid for it."

The fountain was the idea of Algernon C.P Coote, of Lancaster Road, in 1887, and £42 was publicly subscribed.

Mr Hickman, who recently offered to buy an antique lamppost outside his house on Albert Road, believes its removal was an act of vandalism because it is in the South Norwood Conservation Area.

The "act of vandalism" was seen by the now-deceased Hugh Byford, who forced Croydon Council to collect the drinking fountain and place it in storage.

An application was made by the developer of 1-9 South Norwood Hill, Ajay Marria, in May to remove the conditions pertaining to the drinking fountain's reinstallation from his planning permission.

Mr Marria claims the fountain is broken into three parts, although Mr Hickman disputes this, saying those are its three original parts.

Retired scientist Mr Hickman added: "I am worried they seem to be trying to avoid putting something of such historical significance back.

"And quite frankly, they have no right to either."

But Mr Marria, of Norbury, said he had been down to the depot and the fountain was definitely damaged, but added: "If the council repairs the fountain, I have said I will put it in the development."

A council spokesman said: "The fountain is still going back in as part of the planning conditions on the development."

Historic fountain 'should be returned to South Norwood'


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