12:23PM, Thursday 16 June 2016
A fountain that has been described as looking like a ‘toilet brush’ has split opinion in the town.
Hoardings were removed from the feature in the middle of a roundabout in Clarence Road on Thursday to allow soft landscape works to be carried out, giving a first look at the installation.
The fountain is currently being tested and it is hoped it will have an official opening in August.
Construction on the fountain started in January and in March the Express revealed it had a budget of £100,000.
Plans for the feature were approved last year despite recommendations stating it should be refused on the grounds it would be a hazard to road users.
The fountain is being funded by S106 developer contributions and the nature of the funding means it must be spent on ‘arts and heritage’.
The Royal Borough has confirmed the project stayed within budget and the maintenance of the feature will cost a further £3,000 a year.
Mark David, of Dedworth Road, described it as looking like a toilet brush and said the location of the fountain could distract drivers and cause accidents.
The 31-year-old added: “It’s not that I don't like it, I just think it could not be in a more stupid place – for accidents and for residents not getting full use of it by not being able to use it.
“If it was in the gardens then children could play in it which would be more worth the money than sticking it in the middle of a roundabout.”
The fountain’s design features a semi-circular row of jets angled to spray water from the outer edge of the pool towards the centre.
In the centre is a dandelion sphere fountain, made up of 380 nozzles to create a watery sphere.
Cllr Ed Wilson (Con, Clewer South) said: “Both positive and negative responses have come back to me.
“Some people have been saying ‘should you be spending that type of money on that thing?’
“It is not something that has been done with council tax money, it is paid for by S106 money.
“It is specifically for public art. You can’t use that to fill potholes.
“Any kind of public display you’re going to get people who like it and people who don’t.”
Cllr Wilson added that the council would ‘need to monitor’ the area and ‘look at it again’ if more accidents start happening on the roundabout.
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