Calls to restore Barnstaple’s historic Willshire fountain are gaining momentum.

The iconic landmark in Barnstaple Square has been repaired on numerous occasions in recent years by North Devon Council (NDC), and two new water pumps were replaced last year.

Those pumps have now burnt out, however, and local county councillor John Mathews says the district council could be facing a repair bill for 'tens-of-
thousands-of-pounds'.

"To me, it's a part of Barnstaple, as is the Albert clock," said Mr Mathews.

"The fact it isn't working is annoying and frustrating.

"If there is no money available to fund it a public subscription may help to get it going again."

Barnstaple resident Richard Raymond, who has raised the problem with Cllr Mathews several times, said: "As a Barumite I'm still very proud of Barnstaple and when I see coaches coming in over the Strand it's not my idea of how to present the town."

Mark Kentell, NDC's contracts delivery manager, said: "We've been having maintenance issues with the fountain for the last 12 months now and have tried a number of different repairs during this period.

"We are now looking at modifying the plant under the fountain so that we can bypass the existing system that has been malfunctioning despite our best efforts to maintain it."