We were relieved to hear on Friday that RBWM Leisure Services have decided to withdraw the planning application for the illuminated jet fountain on the Heatherwood roundabout.
We had met with them and other interested parties earlier in the week and explained the main reasons for our objection:
– Although this is not a planning issue, there was strong feeling among the local community that there are better ways of spending public funds
– From a planning perspective, the Heatherwood roundabout is in Green Belt and this would constitute inappropriate development, without there being any Very Special Circumstances to justify it
– It is not in keeping with the character of the area and concern over potential impact on trees on the roundabout
– Our biggest concern however was safety: a RBWM Highways Safety Audit specifically advised against locating a fountain here as “it may directly lead to driver distraction and collisions”.
There has also been some confusion created by incomplete or confused communication about this fountain being linked to a proposal for a war horse memorial as well as a commonwealth commemoration involving several flags, which could also impact on road safety. We understand that the concept originally diid include all these elements, but the planning application only related to the fountain. We wish to stress that, in line with what local residents have said to us, the NP Delivery Group is in favour of a war horse memorial, provided funds can be raised for it by public or corporate subscription. We have also put forward the suggestion that this should ideally be located somewhere where as many people as possible can see and appreciate it. One such option would be as a centrepiece to a open piazza that will, we hope, form part of the rejuvenated centre of Ascot.