In the wake of Labour-run Penarth Town Council’s disastrous foray into the design of public benches for the town centre, it’s now emerged that a local carpentry firm had offered make brand-new benches for the Vale of Glamorgan Council free of charge…but no one responded to the offer.
The offer had come from Mike Yorke – whose well-known company MY Wood Designs is based in 3 Arcot Lane, Penarth.
Mr Yorke says he told the Vale of Glamorgan Council he would make new benches for Dingle Park from a highly durable timber called Accoya which would last for at least 50 years. However the Vale Council did not respond to Mr Yorke’s offer – even though his firm is a local company.
Mr Yorke has revived his offer following the introduction last December of the now-notorious “Penarth Bench” – made out of concrete and wood – which has no backrest to it . The Penarth Bench was created by Penarth Town Council’s s0-called “Future Projects Partnership” – a Town Council body which does not publish details of its activities or membership.
When that bench was installed in Bradenham Place, outside Barclays Bank in December, people sitting on it tended to overbalance and end up being supported – not by the seat – but by the bank. The Penarth Bench was also found to be tilting to the left because there was no compensation built-in to allow for the sloping pavement. Critics also condemned the “brutalist” appearance of the concrete end-pieces of the bench which were also allegedly used as late night urinals.
After just two months in use, the £1,080 “Penarth Bench“ – described as a “Labour Party vanity project” – is to be consigned to a less high-profile location in the grounds of the council’s HQ at West House in Stanwell Road.
Meanwhile, at a cost of thousands of pounds more in public money, modified versions of the “Penarth Bench” are being ordered by Penarth Council [The Council says 2 are on order – but a member of the Future Projects Partnership has said 6 new “Penarth Benches” are to be installed] .
Mr Yorke had originally appended a comment outlining his free benches offer to the earlier PDN story on the Penarth Bench – but has today made it clear that his offer had been made to the Vale of Glamorgan Council for Dingle Park and not to Penarth Town Council.
He says his offer is still open.