It is now August 2023. Do you remember when you last visited Crawley’s Queens Square on a nice summer’s day seeing the water jets switched on? It wasn’t last year when we had our hottest ever summer or earlier this summer when we had our hottest ever June. I recall always seeing a nice and friendly family atmosphere as young children cooled off in the water jets, and how this large water feature was working as intended, being a focal point for the square as part of a welcoming and bustling town centre.
The answer to this question is that it had to be in either 2018 or 2019. Amid much fanfare, the fountains were first switched on in the autumn of 2017 following the major refurbishment of Queens Square.
The summer of 2019 when the fountains were last operational in summer feels like a very long time ago. Covid-19 didn’t exist at this time, Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in July that year, Jeremy Corbyn was Leader of the Opposition with Labour councillors here in Crawley busy campaigning for a second time to try and make him Prime Minister at the general election later that year, and Keir Starmer was Shadow Brexit Secretary, trying to frustrate the will of the people by opposing all Brexit deals.
So much has happened since the summer of 2019, but sadly one thing that hasn’t happened is Crawley seeing any summer with our town centre fountains switched on. Of course, Covid-19 was understandably an issue in 2020, but in 2021, Crawley’s Labour council were slow in reopening up council facilities, so we didn’t have the fountains on that summer either. The equipment broke down in November of that year and hasn’t worked ever since.
In frustration at Labour inaction, I submitted a formal written question to the recent Full Council meeting, pressing to get the fountains repaired. I’m pleased to say that works are now due to start onsite this week, but it’s disappointing that they aren’t likely to be finished until the end of September, a fourth successive summer without them on.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
2nd August 2023