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pounds 220,000 costs for fun fountain; COUNCIL DECIDES TO SPEND SO FEATURE CAN BE USED.

Byline: By FIONA SCOTT Political Editor

THE ill-fated water feature in Coventry's War Memorial Park is to be re-opened next summer at a cost of pounds 220,000.

The Conservative cabinet of the city council decided behind closed doors last night to spend the cash to make it safe.

More than 60 families whose children fell ill with tummy bugs after playing in the feature are suing the council for damages.

More than 100 children were affected, some with the nasty bug cryptosporidium, which can cause repeat outbreaks of sickness.

As a result the feature was closed last summer only a few weeks after it opened - over budget and a year late.

A confidential council investigation revealed that major works are necessary to make the feature safe.

These include increasing the size of the water tanks underground, increasing the water flow and limiting the number of children playing in it at any one time.

Council leader Ken Taylor (Con, Earlsdon) said: "We want to be sure we get this right first time this time so people can enjoy this popular feature.

"If it fails again, the whole thing would be a total waste of money. We are confident this will work. The Health and Safety Executive have given us the all-clear - they're quite happy with the way it's going to be refurbished."

He said none of the firms involved in the original contracts would be involved in the refurbishment.

City council legal staff are looking at the possibility of recovering some of the money through legal actions against at least one of the original contractors.

Initially the feature would open for the school holidays in summer 2005 and Cllr Taylor said they would consider opening on Bank Holiday weekends.

At other times the feature will be closed down and cleaned.

Extra money will be spent paying for staff to supervise children playing in it - and limit numbers so the disinfection system works.

fiona.scott@mrn.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

REPRIEVED: The fountain in Coventry's War Memorial Park will be reopened next summer; CONFIDENT: Cllr Taylor
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 8, 2004
Words:345
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