TRY-OUT THE NEW £1,080 “PENARTH BENCH” – JUST DON’T LEAN BACK!

The new locally designed, locally commissioned, local manufactured Penarth Bench is now available for the public to try out in Bradenham Place -

The new locally designed, locally commissioned, locally manufactured Penarth Bench is now available for the public to try out in Bradenham Place. There’s no backrest for those sitting in the middle

Residents of Penarth who happen to be passing by Barclays Bank today had their first opportunity to try out the prototype of the new concrete-and-timber “Penarth Bench”

The new bench – made by local firm Concrete Carrot, of Station Approach –  was commissioned by Penarth Town Council and designed by local architect Chris Loyn who is president of the Penarth Civic Society  .

The concrete end pieces carry a representation of Penarth Pier by the PYA and are embossed with bilingual identification

The concrete end pieces carry a representation of Penarth Pier by the PYA and are embossed with bilingual identification

The bench comprises a wooden slatted seat and  two concrete end pieces  which are embossed with a representation of Penarth Pier created by the Penarth Youth Action  – the body said to represent most youth organisations in Penarth.

The new bench – which is called a “Penarth Bench” replaces the old broken bench in the same location which – at one time – was the focus for anti-social behaviour by local teenagers and is still a target for graffiti vandals.

[ PDN Note: A survey by local resident Julian Marsh in June this year  revealed that of all the 77 public benches (i.e. benches with backrests to them)  in Penarth – only one (the broken bench outside Barclays Bank) –  was  actually located in Penarth Town Centre. Mr Marsh had found that the “Barclays” bench ( it didn’t actually belong to the bank)  was “Very likely the most used bench in Penarth”. Mr Marsh had found that the  top rail of the old  bench had been missing “for at least 5 years –  and been in situ for 15 years” .]

The only public bench in Penarth Town Centre -the one outside Barclays Bank - has had its top rail missing for years

The new bench replaces the old one which allegedly had one of its backrest rails missing for many years. The new bench has no timber backrest

As the new “Penarth Bench” doesn’t appear to have a continuous backrest it probably doesn’t qualify to be called a “bench”. (Only those people sitting at the two ends have a back support – there’s none in the middle)

The cost of the new bench is £1,080 and is funded from the Penarth Town precept  – the element of the council tax which is raised by Penarth Council  .

The new Penarth Bench slopes to the left - because there's no compensation for the slope of the pavement . The graffiti on the bank wall behind has been there for several months

The new backless Penarth Bench, commissioned by the Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council is inclined to the left – because there’s no compensation made for the slope of the pavement at this point . The graffiti on the bank wall behind has been there for several months

Subject to public reaction, further “Penarth Benches “will be installed in other locations around the town centre  even though it’s £300 more expensive than the Vale Council new Penarth Esplanade benches  .

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52 Responses to TRY-OUT THE NEW £1,080 “PENARTH BENCH” – JUST DON’T LEAN BACK!

  1. The Tax payer says:

    This has got to be a joke ? Do the VofG council attend a course on how to best waste money 😩

    • Mgg says:

      Which part is a joke ? Please expand . If you actually know enough words to make a reasoned argument. And its Penarth Town council .read the article !!! before leaping to critiscise .

  2. Anne Greagsby says:

    This ‘bench’ is shorter than the old one. It looks ugly. In fact it has an urinal look. The impression on the concrete end is only visible close up. After rain the wet concrete is an unappealing back rest. With no back it is unsuitable for the elderly and disabled. I hope the town council will discuss this before more arrive. Let’s have traditional street benches, they’re great.

    • Mgg says:

      And more expensive and high maintainence .And look the same as anywhere else .Ps Please tell me where there is a magic bench that doesn’t get wet in the rain .

  3. Chris David says:

    1) will look good in the Tate when its moved there. 2) Because it will result in an accident claim when someone tips over backwards. 3) It cost even more than the £800- bogus cabinet chairs. so whilst it looks nice its probably not practical or cost effective if and when the VoG replace the others eh! Such a pity.

  4. 249ers says:

    Definition of bench :- A long seat for several people, typically made of wood or stone:
    I believe seating doesn’t have to have a back to be called a bench but a back would have made sitting on it more comfortable.

  5. Why on earth would you want a bench at the cost of over a £1000 with part of the backrest missing?, I see its called the Penarth Bench? maybe that’s apt as theres always something missing in Penarth be it Police , working CCTV cameras, Christmas lights that work, litter clearance etc. If you need it in Penarth the powers that be can be relied on not to give it. As for the Pavilion impression on the supports any person with any artistic leaning could have done them with the right materials , they are primitive. Just imagine 3 old people sitting on this bench for a rest and the one in the middle decides to lay back, forgetting there’s no back rest and gets injured in the process, either make a proper back rest or remove the primitive bench , I wouldn’t pay £100 for that never mind £1000. It is a LIABILITY and a HAZARD in its present state.

    • Mgg says:

      The imaage was designed by local youth group Penarth Youth Action . Im surevthey wouod be glad to hear your description of their hard work. .

  6. Tim Hughes says:

    I like it; it is comportable, robust and will be low maintenance. I expect the cost of additional ones will be lower as making the shuttering with the imprint of the pier in it will not need to be repeated; should be able to get a few out of one shutter. I think bench is most probably an ok description for a public seat with or without a back.

  7. penarthblog says:

    So what are the critics doing? At least something has been done, obviously it’s not everyone’s taste and if you ask 10 people to design such a bench, 10 different designs will emerge. I would invite such critics to participate in the dialogue as their contributions would be invaluable.

  8. Fiona Whitfield says:

    Didn’t even notice it but the old seat always seemed to be occupied so I sit at bus stop to eat at lunchtime by the library

  9. Chris David says:

    Definition of comportable

    obsolete : endurable, tolerable
    Source Merriam Webster. Indeed Mr Hughes indeed. And in keeping with your usual part accurate and variable diatribes heh 🙂 I think I agree- with the caveat not practical or costable (sic) heh.

  10. Mgg says:

    Their is a back rest at each end . !!! So elderly can benefit and use the bench . There is evidence of no backrest being of benefit to those who can sit without the need .
    Ps read the article .. The bench was delivered by Penarth Town Council Not the Vale so unfortunately no opportunity to criticise VOG this time .

    • Frank Evans says:

      MGG you seem to be particularly defensive on this one. Sheer waste of money with pavements so uneven all around penarth.
      Spending for the sake of it.

  11. Kevin Mahoney says:

    Everythings subjective some people might like this.

    Personally I think that it looks a horrendous concrete monstrosity and would also question why anyone would site a bench with an inbuilt slope? I would hope it was not just because it was too difficult to work out the dimensions of the concrete casting to compensate for the slope in the pavement

    • Tim Hughes says:

      Do you think the steel one whichs sat in exactly the same place had different length of steel in it?

    • Jane Foster says:

      Street furniture is increasingly being designed to deter the homeless from sleeping there. I suspect the slope, sharp concrete “urinal” ends and lack of backrest are all in keeping with this philosophy.

      • Tim Hughes says:

        If that is true it is very sad. But I think the large flat surface coupled with the wrap around ends would all be beneficial for a sleep.

      • Mgg says:

        Wot? Dont be so ridicilous How on earth does this specific design deter sleeping ? in fact you could say the angled ends alows one to put a cover over your head and a cover on your bag at thd other end so it encourages sleeping. Ps to others .this bench seats 4 esplanade benches 3 so cost comparisons are not vald unless you do,pro rata .

  12. Lm says:

    Why has it cost so much?
    You could probably buy about 6 good wooden benches for that money
    What is wrong with this council!

  13. Byrn says:

    I can’t believe this thing cost £1080. One could buy a couple of proper sofas made by craftsmen for far less than that. Even a poor handyman could knock up a better designed and more usable seat.

  14. And I bet you never use it Tim Hughes ??? its ugly too short , incomplete, a hazard and not pretty or inviting at all ,plus its too small in length.

  15. Another Tax payer says:

    What an absolute waste of money!!!!!!! Penarth town council have a lot to answer for!

  16. Peter Church says:

    £1080 😦
    We are being taking for a ride.

    Labour, Wasting your money at every level of government.
    And now the AMs are getting Tax Raising powers without any referendum, scandalous.

    As RT Davies says; drain the swamp in the Bay!

  17. penarthblog says:

    You may not like it, but at least it’s replaced a worn out bench. It’s easy to criticise from the comfort of your home. If you don’t like it, then get involved instead of posting.

    • Mark says:

      I notice you’re always telling people who post to “get involved”. How involved are you then?

      • penarthblog says:

        Why aren’t you?

      • Mark says:

        The difference is, ‘penarthblog’, I’m not always telling people to ‘get involved’ (or holding court) as you do.
        Are you capable of being held to account – i.e. answering my question about how involved you are – or do you simply expect others to be held to account on your suggestion/instruction?

    • Ivor Bagman says:

      The bench was not worn out.
      All it needed was a length of hardwood
      £50 maximum to repair.

    • penarthblog says:

      Yes I am involved in the work done on the bench. You’ll obviously want to know why. I volunteered to be a member of the Interim Momentum Group, now called the Future Partnership Group, I did so as I believed and still believe that Penarth is a wonderful place to live and I wanted to make a contribution instead of sitting on the sidelines. I believe everyone has a role to play in the communities they live in and the debate here both for and against the bench is encouraging as it demonstrates to me the love and concerns for our town, this view reinforced by the recent debate about shop front colours. I suppose in the end we all want what’s best for our town.

      • Anne says:

        Why is the momentum group so secretive? There are no public meetings or minutes and no reports to the town council even. We don’t even know who is on it or which Cllrs do or don’t attend its meetings.A minimal google search would inform you that at 16 inches this bench is too low for elderly and disabled people and the arm ‘rest’ is unsuitable as an aide to sitting down or getting up. Any misjudgment of a frail person while attempting to sit down could mean a life threatening fall because of the lack of a back on the chair. People use this bench as it is the one of a few. We need more benches in Penarth especially on the steep hills to enable the elderly to get about. But this bench is not suitable nor is its design appropriate for conservation areas. .

  18. penarthblog says:

    You may not like it, but at least it’s replaced a worn out bench. It’s easy to criticise from the comfort of your home. If you don’t like it, then get involved instead of posting, start volunteering.

  19. DK says:

    I went to look at it last night and as much as I like modern architecture and design, in my opinion, I think this bench is too much form over function. To start off with the concrete vertical backrest is very uncomfortable to lean back against for more than about a minute; a back rest should at least be sloped or curved to suit the shape of a back. Aesthetically I do not think it fits in well with its surroundings in the current position. The bench has strong vertical and horizontal lines but the footway slopes laterally and longitudinally which makes the bench look “wonky”, particularly when viewed from the front. This is exacerbated by the vertical joint lines between the dark tiles on the wall of the bank behind it. Maybe if the bench were placed on a horizontal surface, away from other points of reference, it would look a lot better. One final niggle, which was pointed out by my wife, is that the bench is anchored to the ground with the large metal angle brackets which look cheap and not in keeping the minimalist style. For the relative high price of the bench you’d expect them either to be hidden/recessed in to the base or something more in keeping. I do like the Penarth Pier imprint on the ends though but I’m not sure they are worth the money for something which isn’t easily seen.

    • Mgg says:

      At the risk of patronising you can I say well done on your organised and detailed appraisal.That sounds like a Mickey take but I assure its not . When others just say , its a joke , its a waste it doesn’t help the debate .I shall thus make a rationale entry ..I believe the bench replacement plan is to have the concrete ends as a standard block mould This affords further benches to be adapted to their space with shorter slats as a two seater or longer with a middle support for a longer seat . Further it also allows for e.g. a u shape perhaps around a tree , and eg a kissing seat arrangement. In essence as I say I understand that the benches can be adapted to the space .This in the long term means better serving of need than off the peg and indeed cheaper in the long run. .Maintainence will be lower with the materials used . The ends can be etched and thus represent Penarth landmarks designed by local àresidents , schools etc , a facility not afforded off the peg. I would think that the most immediate sample site was Barclays as it was the worst. Note this is a sample feedback sitting . I suggest to all that this is a good thing as long as like yourself feedback is realistic and constructive and thus use full. I would not be surprised if back slats are now incorporated ànd the edtra cost of this accounted for perhaps with 3 seaters instead 4 . Personally I think your points are valid especially ref the fittings . I think that if this design is used in the town fitting the spaces accordingly along with perhaps some planters the overall look will come together .

  20. Waste Of Money says:

    What an incredible waste of money! Money raised by Penarth Town council’s licence to increase our council tax. I agree the bench needed replacing but not at over £1000, surely there are better areas that this money could have been spent? Maybe towards the repairing of the pavements throughout Penarth which are quite frankly a mess and are needed much more than a bench.

  21. Frank Evans says:

    £80 for the bench and £1000 for the Welsh translation on the concrete end bits!!

  22. Jan Harding says:

    Will keep an eye out to see if it is getting used, if I see someone sat on it will ask them if they
    find it comfortable or not. Can someone also put two boxes next to it marked (like, comfortable and cheap and another saying dislike, uncomfortable and expensive) similar to the anonymous boxes we had placed before for Penarth suggestions or brexit and let’s see the results before any more are purchased and placed in Penarth.

  23. snoggerdog says:

    i can almost guarantee that on a monday morning with no rain on the weekend,that bench is going to faintly/strongly of urine on a fairly regular basis,and just in case you are suspicious of my motives i dont walk home that way and a mature penarthian with a robust bladder who can easily make it from the spoons to my dockerworkers terrace. without needing to relieve myself. P.S. i missed the word “smell” out.

  24. lesley withers says:

    I’m really upset to see this. My mum is very elderly and liked to sit on the old bench even though it was broken and chat to people. This new bench is not a sociable shape or size. It has not been designed for people to actually sit on. Looks uncomfortable, too small, and with no back, totally impractical for people like my mum. Why couldn’t we just have a normal bench, normal size, normal shape, normal price. I just give up. Totally disillusioned. I’m done.

    • snoggerdog says:

      like mr bagman said not broken just missing a length of hardwood,stain it & hey presto,triggers broom.

  25. Grey local! says:

    Somebody please publish a list of those people who voted to spend our money in such an appalling way so that we can vote them out at the next election. Such a hideous impractical piece of concrete should be in the waste bin.

    • NewsNet says:

      There was no vote taken on on the “Penarth Bench” and as far as PDN can check, it was never debated in any council meeting – but it’s fair to say that is a project supported by most of the Labour councillors comprising Cllr Mike Cuddy (Mayor), Cllr Neil Thomas, Cllr Janice Birch, Cllr Rhiannon Birch, Cllr Mark Wilson, Cllr Lis Burnett, Cllr Gwyn Roberts, Cllr Tracey Alexander, Cllr Philip Rapier, and Cllr Rosemary Cook. As two other Labour councillors – Cllr Amber Courtney and Cllr Ian Courtney – rarely attend council meetings it would be unfair to claim they have responsibility for it – or, indeed, anything.
      Penarth Council says the bench was funded by the council “as part of the work being carried out by the Future Projects Partnership Group” . This “Future Partnerships Group (the members of which are unelected and the minutes of whose meetings are not issued to the public) is said to consist of “members of the community who volunteer their time and expertise to work with the town council to deliver improvements for the town based on the outcomes of the consultation which led to the creation of the Town Place Plan in 2014”.. A form is provided on the Penarth Town Council website to facilitate “feedback” to the council

      • Jane Foster says:

        How many of those people are personal friends of the architect and construction/design company?

      • NewsNet says:

        At a recent council planning meeting most councillors admitting knowing the distinguished award-winning architect Chris Loyn. There’s no information about how well acquainted or otherwise they are with Concrete Carrot

  26. Mgg says:

    J foster. If you are accusing the council. Of giving the work to their friends in place of effective and carefull costing Research please stand up and say so. Better to pay a local company for the work if practicable and cost effective.

  27. Cody says:

    Don’t criticise the company who made it, they were working to a specification from the architect. Save your rants for Penarth Town Council, who need to wake up, smell the coffee and realise that the ordinary Penarth resident would have been happy for a refurbished bench at a fraction of the cost, regardless of whether said bench was ‘the same as anywhere else’. MGG – you really do need to proofread your posts, because your argument is lost as people are barely able to translate the spelling and punctuation mistakes.

  28. Anne says:

    Please give a thought to the elderly and disabled people who need a sit down.This new ‘Penarth bench’ does not conform to standards for disabled and elderly people. The bench is too low at 16 inches to allow people to sit and rise with ease. The ‘arm rest’ is too high and wide to enable one to use it to enable sitting and standing. A back is an necessity. A small back section on either side is insufficient as a mistake while sitting down could lead to a life threatening fall. Concrete is cold and unpleasant to lean on. The ‘decoration’ is barely visible unless photographed and enlarged. It is not fitting in any conservation area. The town council or the secret group might have consulted the 50+ forum on the design or any group of older people first. Please say no to more of these unsuitable benches.
    Fact sheet on standards for seating –
    see http://www.idgo.ac.uk/design_guidance/factsheets/seating.htm

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