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Developer has a change of heart over Victorian drinking fountain

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A VICTORIAN drinking fountain has been reinstalled after a lengthy planning dispute between South Norwood residents and a developer was resolved.

The fountain was bought by the people of South Norwood for Queen Victoria's golden jubilee in 1887 but was lost when the wall it was in was demolished to create a car parking space ten years ago.

It has now been put back in almost exactly the same spot on the corner of the new Tesco Express in South Norwood Hill.

Ajay Marria, the developer of the flats above the Tesco Express, fought to change the conditions attached to his planning permission to avoid reinstalling the fountain.

However, he said he has now changed his mind and is happy to have done something for the local community.

He said: "I am based in Croydon so I want to do something as a local developer.

"After the story went in the Croydon Advertiser, I read a lot more into it and what the fountain meant to the local community and started to see how important it was. So it's worked out well."

South Norwood historian John Hickman had fought to reinstall the antique fountain and campaigned along with The Norwood Society and North Croydon Conservation Area Advisory Panel.

He had claimed the fountain's removal was an "act of vandalism".

Mr Marria originally wanted to alter the conditions on his planning application, which said he would not be able to sell his flats unless he reinstalled the fountain.

The disused drinking font was found in Croydon Council depot in Purley in three pieces, which Mr Marria initially thought meant it was broken.

He wanted the council to repair it but Mr Hickman discovered it was actually constructed in three separate pieces.

Mr Hickman said: "This is a victory for South Norwood and its residents. There are many pieces of lost heritage in the area and we can't afford to see them slip away.

"I went and met up with Mr Marria after the article was in the Advertiser and he suddenly realised what it meant to the people of South Norwood.

"It rightly belongs to the residents of this area."

Developer has a change of heart over Victorian drinking fountain


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