Plans to restore the city’s Victoria Fountain are underway, according to the council.

Brighton and Hove city council said a contractor for the repairs is “expected to be appointed in late November”.

The Victoria Fountain, built in 1846 in Old Steine Gardens in Brighton, was switched off for safety reasons in January after "significant and complex structural problems" were discovered, with expensive specialist work required.

A sinkhole that appeared in the gardens following last year’s Christmas market was thought to have led to further deterioration in the structure.

However, surveys undertaken by structural engineers confirmed that this was not the case.

The process to find suitable contractors for the work has taken the council “longer than hoped”.

Councillor Martin Osborne, chair of the tourism, equalities, communities and culture committee, said this was partly due to pressure in the construction industry.

He said: “The construction industry locally and nationally is experiencing severe pressures due to spiralling costs and a shortage of people with specialist skills.”

Two unsuccessful attempts at tendering the work needed on the Victoria Fountain were carried out.

A total of 12 contractors from the council’s frameworks were invited to tender but no responses were received.

 “The Victoria Fountain is a valued part of our local heritage and we’re looking forward to seeing it restored to its former glory,” said Cllr Osborne.

“It has an important central location on Old Steine Gardens and contributes significantly to the look and feel of the city.

“Despite this we are doing our best to get the Victoria fountain repaired as soon as we can.”

The council said a third tendering exercise has had “a better response”.

Subject to work starting in mid-December, the refurbishment is expected to be completed before the end of spring.