MAKE IT York was set up specifically to take a less bureaucratic, more businesslike approach to managing York's city centre outside of direct city council control.

Yet at the first whiff of a controversial decision - on whether to demolish the Parliament Street fountain - city councillors have stepped in to conduct a review.

Make It York had made it clear it thought the fountain should go to open up a 'wider, more open space' in York's principal street - although it stressed no decision had yet been made.

Following the launch of an e-petition calling for the fountain to be saved, however, its future will now be discussed at the city council's cross-party Learning & Culture committee.

In one way it is good to see democracy at work. And Make It York managing director Steve Brown has stressed - in a statement of clarification - that any decision which will affect the 'fabric or infrastructure' of the city centre remains the responsibility of the city council to make. His organisation will limit itself to contributing an opinion on such issues, he says.

That is all very well. But where does it leave the whole idea of an independent body that was set up to run the city centre free of local government bureaucracy?

As we have said before, we actually think demolishing the fountain would be no bad thing, provided that was as part of some wider scheme to make better use of Parliament Street.

The broader issue here is about the role of Make It York. Will every substantial decision on the city centre in future be taken by the city council? And if so, what was the point of setting up Make It York in the first place?