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All's well that ends well as spruced-up spring flows again

By Kent and Sussex Courier  |  Posted: March 29, 2013

By Melita Kiely twreporters@courier.co.uk

  • FLOWING: Julie Macarty pours some of the spring water

  • IT'S BACK: From left, Berenice Styles, Jude Macarty, Marcu Soyke-Matthews, Liz Scholey and Anne Crockford TWPL20130327A-010_C

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THE famous spring upon which Tunbridge Wells was built will be flowing once more when it is reopened today after three years.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council closed the Chalybeate Spring in the Pantiles after E. coli and other bacteria were found in the water and a lack of rainfall substantially lowered the water level.

Visitors have been banned from sampling the iron-rich water since its closure in 2010.

Chairman of Tunbridge Wells Town Forum's Water in the Wells Michael Holman said he was delighted the spring was reopening.

He said: "It is absolutely fantastic, I am very pleased. Before, it looked like a continental public lavatory but now the water is flowing nicely – we have Mother Nature to thank for that and the recent heavy rainfall."

The two well chambers have been spruced up with a new coat of paint and the grand opening will take place at 1pm today (Friday) complete with dippers and dignitaries.

"I think the council has to be congratulated on getting it done," said Mr Holman. "It means we have reclaimed our town's heritage as a spa town founded on water.

"Having the water back will certainly help to get people back into Tunbridge Wells and I would like to see now, more water features throughout the town."

The water in the Pantiles was discovered in 1606 by a young nobleman and led to the formation of Tunbridge Wells. Over the past 400 years, visitors including Queen Victoria, Samuel Pepys and Daniel Defoe have sampled the water.

Chairman of the Association of Pantiles Traders Richard Simm said: "It's great news that the spring is back in action before the summer season.

"The Pantiles is now a lot more than just a place to 'take the waters' but as traders it is embarrassing to see people visiting Tunbridge Wells for the first time frustrated to find it closed."

A spokeswoman for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council said: "We are delighted that this important part of Royal Tunbridge Wells' legacy is open to visitors again.

"We understand that the temporary closure of the spring has been a disappointment to visitors but the spring is an important part of the history of the town and one that visitors will now enjoy."

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