MORE £1,080 “PENARTH BENCHES” TO BE INSTALLED IN THE TOWN CENTRE

After just two months Penarth Town Council's mucgh-criticised £1,080 prototype "Penarth Bench" is to be quietly retired - and installed somewhere in the gardwns of its HQ at West House

After just two months outside Barclays Bank in Bradenham Place, Penarth Town Council’s much-criticised, sloping, backless, and unsightly  £1,080 prototype “Penarth Bench” is to be quietly retired – and installed somewhere less conspicuous  in the gardens of its HQ at West House

Despite the distinctly lukewarm reception given by the public to Penarth Town Council’s  expensive bespoke-designed “Penarth Bench” – (conceived and manufactured in Penarth)  yet more so-called “Penarth Benches” are set to be installed in the town centre .

The prototype Penarth Bench – condemned by some as a council ‘vanity project’ – was installed outside Barclays Bank in Bradenham Place in  December last year at a cost of  £1,080 .

One of the new recycled resin benches installed by the Vale of Glamrogan in Dingle Park, Penarth for just £400

One of the comfortable new recycled resin benches installed by the Vale of Glamorgan Council in Dingle Park, Penarth for a total parts-and-labour cost of  just £400. It has a  backrest, is maintenance free and is guaranteed indestructible     

The cost of the “Penarth Bench”  is 170% more than the new maintenance-free recycled resin benches installed by the Vale of Glamorgan Council in Dingle Park at a cost of just £400 apiece. (see picture above) . These sturdy  benches look as if they’re made from  wood and cast-iron nd are said to be indestructible. They’re made entirely from environmentally-friendly recycled materials and – unlike the concrete of the “Penarth Bench” – no CO2 is emitted in their manufacture.

The soon-to-disappear Penarth Bench was found to slope left - because there was no no compensation for the slope of the pavement .

Soon to disappear from Bradenham Place, the “Penarth Bench” was found to slope left – because there was no compensation for the slope of the pavement . It appeared to have been designed by committee.

As soon as it appeared, the new “Penarth Bench”  came in for withering criticism from members of the public who pointed out something that didn’t seem to have occurred to the committee that designed it : there was no backrest to it . People attempting to relax in the bench found themselves in danger of overbalancing backwards until they touched the wall of Barclays Bank.

The old Barclays Bank bench may have had some missing woodwork - but it was level and did have a backrest

The old Barclays Bank bench which preceeded the “Penarth Bench” may have had some missing woodwork – but it was absolutely level and did feature a backrest

Although the bench had been installed at the location of an earlier – traditional – bench , the old bench had been properly designed to compensate for the South Westerly slope of the pavement – but the Penarth Bench hadn’t . People found themselves sitting at an uncomfortable angle.

The concrete end of the Penarth Bench featured an impression of Penarth Pier Pavilion

The concrete end of the Penarth Bench featured an impression of Penarth Pier Pavilion

The Penarth Bench is a project conceived and executed by the Labour-run Penarth Town Council’s secretive – and unfortunately named – “Momentum Group“, in collaboration with other local organisations and Penarth Youth Action. [Because of the embarrassing connotations of the “Momentum Group” name – which echoes that of Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing support-group – Penarth Town Council has now changed the contentious title to “Future Projects Partnership Group” Its meetings are not open to the press or public and it publishes no minutes. ]  

The Future Projects Partnership Group has now decided to move the derided Barclay’s Bank prototype Penarth Bench  to a less-publicly-exposed spot in the grounds of Penarth Town Council’s HQ at West House in Stanwell Road where it will “supplement the existing public seating”.

The Council now says “a revised, larger model of the ‘Penarth Bench’ ” will be installed in place of the prototype bench at the Barclays Bank location. The council says the “revised” model will have a back, “will have wooden coping to soften the concrete edges” and will be “levelled to allow for the slope of the pavement.”

A new - larger - "Mk II" version of the Penarth Bench is now being produced. Penarth Town Council promises the new model will have a backrest

A new – larger – “Mk II” version of the Penarth Bench is now being produced. Penarth Town Council promises the new model will have a backrest

The council says more 2 more Penarth Bench examples of this new “Mark II”  design are to be placed in a further two locations within the town centre – although this statement on the council’s website is at variance with a statement by a member of the Future Projects Partnership who has said that  6 more Penarth Benches to be installed in the Town Centre.

Despite the fact that each Penarth Bench is costing local Council-Tax Payers £680 more than sturdy and comfortable alternatives, the Labour-run Penarth Town Council says that it has “discussed the costings involved very carefully”  and that it continues to believe that the ‘Penarth Bench’ represents very good value for money”.

Next month Penarth Town Council will impose on local residents a 4.96% increase in the town’s Council-Tax-Precept for 2017/18 . The rate of UK inflation is currently only 1.8%  .

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Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time. Comments posted on the site by commentators reflect their opinions and are not necessarily shared, endorsed or supported by Penarth Daily News.
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27 Responses to MORE £1,080 “PENARTH BENCHES” TO BE INSTALLED IN THE TOWN CENTRE

  1. Jan Harding says:

    what a shocking waste of money to have these types of benches when sea front styles would do at a much more realistic cost. if we have to suffer these expensive benches please place it away from the rubbish bin.

  2. Chris Franks says:

    Dinas Powys Community Council has dozens of benches. We simply replace any defective timbers. The cost is minimal. The result is a zero increase in Council Tax from the community council. That’s the advantage of having Plaid councillors if I might be allowed to say!

  3. Mark Foster says:

    We need Chris Franks in Penarth!

  4. Frank Bird says:

    This is the fourth time I have typed this reply and I cannot find the correct tone. So, #powerless, #frustrated, #embarrassed, #shocked, #robbed, #plebian.

  5. H says:

    Penarth’s Labour run council is an absolute disgrace- they have no concern about raising taxes only to spend OUR hard earned money on ilconceived and unwanted items, such as the ‘backless’ bench and viewing platforms, that is now causing harm and it’s only a matter of time before we have another cliff collapse due to the excess weight.

  6. Previousr says:

    This is an appalling waste of taxpayers money. Surely in future all suggestions of this ” momentum” group shoul be up for public scrutiny and vote. The Penarth Times would be a good outlet for information on this as it is bought by many people who do not spend their time looking up council websites to see what they are up to. This group had shown a serious lack of nterest in public opinion . It’s not even a case of design over comfort as both are lacking in this case.

  7. Jane Foster says:

    I have now had the dubious opportunity to spend quite some time on this bench, and it is in no way pleasant to use. The small concrete back rest is uncomfortable, as is not having a back rest at all. The huge end pieces also make it intimidating when someone else sits on the bench as you are then wedged right into the concrete if you don’t want to cuddle up to your new companion.

    The only redeeming feature is the picture of the Pier Pavilion but even that didn’t stop the person I saw one evening using it as a urinal.

  8. Anne Greagsby says:

    The ‘bench’ design is seriously flawed. The Town Council ‘consulted’ on the BENCH but haven’t discussed it at any meeting. Why have they given back control to the secretive momentum group to make decisions behind closed doors? Is Chris Loyn the designer of the flawed bench to design another? Will he profit from it in any way? As we don’t know the membership of this group we can’t tell what interests they have. Conservation clearly isn’t one of them. Council meetings are open by law and recorded but town Cllrs are deliberately avoiding these duties by allowing the momentum/future projects group to make decisions on their behalf. All this raises serious questions about the Town councils integrity. All we want are some more traditional style benches at a reasonable cost! You can sack these labour cllrs in May!

  9. David Moorcraft says:

    Well said Anne ! Forgive my ignorance, but are you standing for election in May ! We need a strong campaigner on both Penarth and Vale Councils.
    I’m left of centre, but I’m ashamed of Labour nation-wide lately.

  10. Stop wasting money when you can supply a bench for £400 why insist on an eyesore one costing over a £1000, it is really sickening that money is wasted on flights of fancy and follies instead of sorting out the towns needs , a shocking state of affairs . Get the potholes fixed the CCTV cameras repaired or replaced , stop vandalising trees , sort out the pavements on the back streets especially parts of Plassey Street. Fix the uneven paving blocks around the town centre shops to remove the over abundance of puddles when it rains due to poorly laid blocks . In short do something worthwile and what the town and people require and need , or is that idea too complex for those in charge ? .

  11. snoggerdog says:

    please consil,sorry counsil,lose momentum,repair the old,or if thats to complicated,buy resin,designing? & buying the emperors new seats is the equivalent of designing &relaying a new road because the old one has a pothole! oh & by the way “the wizard of oz” is a fiction,not a documentary.

  12. Frank Evans says:

    Have people just woken up to the fact that labour are spend thrifts when it comes to others money.
    Let’s get Jeremy Corbyn to lead penarth town council it will then go from strength to strength. He can even canvas on behalf of Lis Burnett who shares his labour values.

  13. Louise says:

    These new benches are HIDEOUS. Bring back normal, coastal town benches with proper backs to them. It’s not rocket science. Cheap and cheerful and, strangely enough, comfortable to sit on!

  14. Richard says:

    “The Penarth Bench is a project conceived and executed by the Labour-run Penarth Town Council’s secretive – and unfortunately named – “Momentum Group“, in collaboration with other local organisations and Penarth Youth Action”.
    What do you mean “secretive”? How is a “group” spending public money in this way allowed to be “secretive”? Isn’t that unacceptable, not least when a costly, backless, wonky bench completely unfit for purpose is the result? What on earth is going on in Penarth? Would anywhere else tolerate this kind of charade? The town council is far too big for its breeches but they get away with it because most people don’t give a damn.

    • NewsNet says:

      PDN used the term “secretive” because there is no public register naming who is on the group, no agenda or minutes are published and the press and public are not allowed to attend its meetings. The group appears to have commissioned the benches without any formal decision of the full Penarth Town Council to approve the design, to obtain competitive quotations, to select the winning contractor or to authorise the expenditure. The public was given no opportunity to comment on the design in advance of installation. No one outside the formerly-named “Momentum Group” saw the prototype bench until it was installed in situ outside Barclays Bank. All that the members of Penarth Council did was rubber-stamp the payment of the invoice after the work was completed.

  15. bizzilizzi says:

    Is there any way to insist that the members of the Momentum group are named and have to put their ideas to the community so that we could vote on whether their ideas are acceptable?

  16. Mike says:

    As mentioned before and directly to the council. I offered some benches for free built by my company……out of accoya. Look it up. They’d pretty much last 50+ years. My offer still hasn’t been taken up.

  17. AK says:

    Apologies Mike, if that sounded as if your original offer came with a back-hander. That was not the intention !

    • Mike says:

      No back-hander’s. Just offering something to the town as making things wood is all I know 🙂

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