IT’S been a focal point and meeting place for more than two decades, but now the future of York’s Parliament Street fountain is in doubt.

The marble fountain has been switched off since last year and City of York Council says its future is now to be reviewed as part of a scheme to improve the city centre.

Gill Cooper, head of culture, tourism and city centre, said the power supply to the fountain was removed when the Parliament Street toilets were demolished last year.

“The development of the fountain is part of the Reinvigorate York initiative to improve the city centre, which will see 14 different projects completed in the next two years,” she said.

“The future of the fountain will be considered as part of a wider scheme to re-energise Parliament Street and its junction with Piccadilly.”

Asked whether the fountain might be scrapped, a council spokeswoman said it was part of a wider scheme, and so it was too early to say what the final outcome would be.

The fountain has had a chequered history since it was created in the early 1990s as part of a revamp of the street.

It has been a regular target for pranksters who have added bubble bath to the water, sometimes producing so much foam that it has spread as far away as Market Street.

Repairs costing £10,000 were needed in 2002 after skateboarders cracked and split the marble, and ornamental fencing was installed around it to prevent further damage.

Press readers have asked in recent months whether the council had given up on the fountain. John Forrester wrote to say it hadn’t functioned for ages and was now used simply as a bench and repository for cigarette ends and other rubbish.

He said: “In other countries I have visited, fountains are invariably well kept. So why should York, a popular tourist attraction, have to put up with this eyesore? If the council do not wish to refurbish it, why don’t they just remove it and put something useful in its place?”

Peter Brown,  director of conservation watchdog York Civic Trust, said: “In an ideal world, I would love to see something like the fountains in Rome or in every little village in France. That would be marvellous. In the meantime, I would like the existing fountain to be connected up again.”