Berkshire

Wokingham council spends £22,000 on 'slug' bench

The bench
Image caption A Liberal Democrat councillor said locals nicknamed the bench "the slug"

A council has been accused of "throwing away" more than £22,000 on a bespoke bench.

Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) paid £22,505 for a wooden feature bench in Peach Place in the town centre.

Liberal Democrat councillor Maria Gee accused the council of "wasting public money" on the bench and said locals call it "the slug".

But the council defended its decision, saying it was both "functional seating and public art".

"The borough council says that it is short of money," Ms Gee said.

"Yet the Conservatives decided there were funds to throw away on a bench that is impractical and uncomfortable.

"Benches are needed in Peach Place but spending £22,000 on just one bench that some residents have nicknamed 'the slug' is a waste of public money."

Image copyright Wokingham Borough Council
Image caption The council said the bench was designed for a "prestigious location"

The bench was part of a "bespoke street furniture" package which cost the authority more than £30,000, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

The makers of the bench, Woodscape Ltd, has previously made items for the Olympic Park, London's South Bank and Brighton Pavilion.

Councillor Charlotte Haitham Taylor, WBC executive member for regeneration, said: "The bench was custom designed for this prestigious location and made from sustainable hardwood to create a unique feature that would serve a dual function as both functional seating and public art."

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