Local Democracy Weekly: Is Lincoln more creative than a water feature?

City of Lincoln Council leaders this week agreed to spend £300,000 on proposals which could include a water feature, as part of the Cornhill regeneration.

The council’s idea would reflect similar features found in Trinity Square and Victoria Square in Hull, which include water jets and mirror pools that pulse.

It has allocated £300,000 towards the delivery of the overall scheme, funded by retained business rates, and to help secure external match-funding.

But is a water fountain or feature truly a good idea? It has only just been given the go-ahead so details need to be finalised, but it will be interesting to see the cost of maintaining such a feature, and how much water it will use.

Most local people appeared to be positive about the ideas put forward, with many who reacted to the news saying it would be a fun thing for young people to enjoy.

Some, as in many cases when the public purse is being spent, suggested the money would be better spent elsewhere – tackling homelessness, antisocial behaviour or helping small businesses.

Others suggested alternatives to the floor-based water jets, including structures requiring less power and maintenance.

In London, the traditional-looking fountain in Trafalgar Square has enough space to sit on the edge as tourists, visitors and residents relax in each others’ company. Could a similar feature attract people in the way Lincoln council is hoping for?

The council’s plans also include the demolition of the kiosk which faces on to the High Street, though the Speakers Corner tree on the same location, originally up for the chop, will be protected with seating built around the greenery.

We can always look at the negatives – the cost, the risk of anti-social behaviour (I’m looking at you Skegness and your occasionally bubbly fountain ) and more – but as the plans progress let’s bear in mind the positives too: a new attraction for the city centre, a gathering place for people to relax and a potentially very positive atmosphere.— DANIEL JAINES


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