Bradwell residents angry after council removes community benches
07:00 11 July 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2014
A group of OAPs are fuming after the council removed and destroyed “perfectly good” community benches.
Gertrude Alexander, who has lived at Ecclestone Court in Bradwell for 14 years, dashed outside when she heard ‘crashing and banging’ and found Great Yarmouth Borough Council contractors taking away two benches from a shared garden.
The seats had always been popular with residents in Ecclestone Close - and none of them could understand why they were being removed.
Yesterday, a spokesman for the borough council said it regularly inspects facilities in the communal areas of its sheltered housing schemes and removes or repairs what is not “fit for purpose”.
“We’ve been here 14 years and we’re out there every summer,” said Mrs Alexander, 83. “It’s nice to go out there and have a cup of tea or an ice-cream. People always come and sit with you and have a chat. There was absolutely nothing wrong with those benches.”
Mrs Alexander and her husband, David, 90, said they and neighbours want to see benches put back as soon as possible.
Anne Borrett, who lives opposite with her husband Bert, added: “It’s an eyesore without them, just a mess.
“We’ve been here for just over a year and my husband, who has been in and out of hospital, was really looking forward to sitting out there in the summer.
“We were all so shocked when they turned up, ripped them out and smashed them up in front of us without even telling us first.
“And to be told they were taken away because of health and safety is just nonsense.”
Explaining why they took the benches out, a spokesman for the borough council added: “The borough council regularly inspects the facilities in the communal areas of its sheltered housing schemes to ensure they remain safe and fit for purpose.
“Where defects are identified, the borough council must make the decision whether to repair or replace the facility.
“In this case, we will look at options for replacement, after consultation with residents.