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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Concern at Diana fountain delays
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana would have been 41 on Monday
The design for the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain must be finalised by the fifth anniversary of her death, a minister has demanded.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell is described as "greatly concerned" over delays in commissioning the fountain.

She has told the Royal Parks Agency the design team must be ready to begin work by the end of August.

Fountain timeline
Diana died Aug 1997
Permanent memorial fountain announced Sept 1999
Design competition launched Sept 2001
Design shortlist chosen Dec 2001
Design team reportedly chosen Jan 2002
Team still unconfirmed July 2002
"It is deeply disappointing that, five years on, nothing has happened."

The monument is supposed to be completed by summer 2003, the sixth anniversary of Diana's death.

The princess, who would have been 41 on Monday, was killed in a car accident in Paris in August 1997.

Her brother, Earl Spencer, said: "It is clear from the vast number of people who visit Althorp and the enormous amount of correspondence I receive that there is a significant desire for a permanent memorial to my sister."

The decision to build the memorial was first announced by Prime Minister Tony Blair in September 1999.

A committee, headed by Diana's friend Rosa Monckton, was set up to oversee the project, and a competition to design the fountain was launched in September 2001.

'Controversy'

It was reported on Monday that the committee chose the design team in January of this year, but officials from the Department for Culture Media and Sport have delayed in approving it.

The Mirror said the choice was so controversial, the department has spent months trying to find a compromise.

A culture spokesman said officials had failed to properly guide the committee.

Peter Pan playground, Kensington Palace Gardens
An adventure playground opened two years ago
"The eight people on the committee... they are fine," he said.

"The support officials who are helping them make the decision seem to have been going slowly.

"It is a cause of great concern to Tessa. She has called them together and told them she wants a final decision taken by the time of the fifth anniversary at the end of August."

He said that building would begin shortly afterwards.

'Reflection, playfulness'

The 3m fountain is being paid for from public funds, partly met by the sale of official commemorative coins.

The structure, which was always planned to be completed in 2003, is not expected to include any statue or representation of Diana.

Culture secretary Tessa Jowell
Tessa Jowell: Concerned
The Royal Parks Agency website says its design will be "fresh and imaginative".

It will reflect "the person, the place, the surrounding historic landscape, and especially the qualities of water - movement, reflection, playfulness and its role as an essential element of life."

The fountain will be built beside the Serpentine Bridge in Hyde Park, close to Kensington Palace where Diana resided following the collapse of her marriage to the Prince of Wales.

It will link with two other memorials to her - a landscaped walk and a children's playground in Kensington Gardens.

See also:

08 Nov 01 | England
29 Jun 01 | UK
18 Jul 00 | UK
30 Jun 00 | UK
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