YORK'S Parliament Street fountain, a city-centre focal point and meeting place for more than two decades, is set to be demolished.

Make It York, the city’s new destination management organisation, says the fountain should go to create a more attractive open space which could be used by festivals.

Chris Price, city centre and markets manager for Make It York, said it had recently been in discussions with City of York Council over the fountain.

"We’re keen to ensure the space in Parliament Street is attractive and believe it’s the right decision to remove the fountain," he said.

"This would open up a wider, more enjoyable space on the street which festival organisers for example could use in the future. Our understanding is that works are planned for the autumn."

York Press:

FLASHBACK: The fountain in full working order, in this picture from 2000

A spokeswoman said the Great Yorkshire Fringe would be setting up in Parliament Street soon, and would have to work around the fountain, but events such as this would in future have a more workable space.

Asked which location might now be used by people as a convenient reference point for meeting friends and family, she said the likely meeting point would be the newly refurbished Shambles market, which would create more business for market traders.

She said: "One of our new priorities as Make It York is to create a successful Shambles Market and as part of this we’re currently in the process of creating a new ‘meeting point’ area for both visitors and locals to meet up, have lunch and really creating a new buzz for the market. We have new parasols arriving, and new chairs and tables."

Mr Price said: "In Europe, and particularly in France, the market place is often known as ‘the place to meet’ and this is what we’d like to aim to achieve for York.

"It’s a lovely space, right in the heart of York, surrounded by produce fresh from Yorkshire, so the perfect spot to suggest meeting with friends alfresco, especially during the summer months."

The fountain has had a chequered history since it was created around 25 years ago, as part of a revamp of the street.

York Press:

It was a regular target for pranksters who produced foam by adding bubble bath to the water. Ornamental fencing was installed to protect it in 2002 after skateboarders cracked and split the marble. The power supply to the fountain was switched off in 2012 when the Parliament Street toilets were demolished.

Council leader Chris Steward said he was not aware of the decision but the fountain could not not have been left switched off forever, adding: "Something had to be done."