OPTIONS for a water feature near the town centre to replace broken fountains are still being considered, after concerns were raised about the area attracting vandalism.

As previously reported, a decision was made by the borough council last year to permanently switch off the fountains near Eastrop Park after it wasted more than £8,000 trying to fix them.

READ MORE: Eastrop fountains to close after council spends £8k on maintenance

Cllr Arun Mummalaneni, a Conservative councillor for Basingstoke North West, questioned the borough council on its plans for the site, saying: “Once a beloved attraction in the town centre and a communal outdoor space for families with children living in residential high-rise buildings, these fountains are now deteriorating and vulnerable to vandalism.”

He said the area has been subject to vandalism because it is now underused, resulting in the seating area being replaced after it became damaged.

Cllr Laura James, cabinet member for residents’ services and housing, accused the previous Conservative administration of its failure to maintain the water feature, resulting in its permanent closure.

Responding to Cllr Mummalaneni, she said: “I wrote to the administration while I was in opposition to express my deep disappointment with the administration and your intention to close the fountains and, like you say, weren’t they beautiful? I remember the officer designing those fountains and we were so proud of them, they were incredible.

SEE ALSO: Council pays for sign asking public to 'keep out of water' at switched off fountains

“It was on your administration’s watch that the fountains deteriorated to the point they could only be repaired at a huge cost.”

She described the area, including the subway linking to the town centre which is continuously vandalised by graffiti, as a “disappointment”, adding: “We are looking at options for the future of water in this area and how it will link to the town centre and how it links to the access and the opening of the park – Eastrop Park.

“It’s great that the fountains are next to Eastrop Park and how it’s going to be cited and we’re really excited about the future and what that might look like.”

Cllr James said the plans are still being considered, adding: “We need to look at how we link that area and how we link to Eastrop so we want to make this an area we’re really proud of.”