Plans for historic Kent monument to be returned to 'rightful place' after 60 years

How the Driver Fountain could look once moved back to Luton Arches
-Credit: (Image: Arches Local via Medway Council planning portal)

An historic landmark in Kent could be returned to its original location if recently submitted plans prove successful. Proposals have been submitted to Medway Council by Chatham-based resident-led group Arches Local which would see the Driver Fountain moved back to the Luton Arches.

Built in 1899, the fountain was funded by the then Mayor of Chatham, councillor William Dawes Driver, and dedicated to his father, Joshua Driver, who died the year prior. It was originally installed at Luton Arches and featured three drinking basins as well as a horse trough.

In 1961, the fountain was unplumbed, disassembled and moved to a corner of Chatham Cemetery, where it still stands today. Though the monument is not a designated heritage asset, or locally listed, it is said that it holds "strong historical and sentimental value to the community".

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The proposal goes on to state: “The proposed relocation therefore aims to reinstate it to its rightful place, enhancing cultural and historical awareness. It will serve as an educational resource and a point of local pride once again.”

Arches Local is part of the Big Local programme and aims to connect the people of Chatham with the town’s history, public spaces and culture. The application is awaiting a decision from Medway Council and the plans can be found in full on the council’s planning portal using the reference MC/24/1337.

This article has been amended and we are happy to clarify that Arches Local is not a charity but a resident-led organisation. We would also like to clarify that the fountain will not be returned to the exact spot at the front of the Luton Arches if the project is successful. We would like to apologise for any confusion caused.

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