4 04 2008

Chippenham’s town centre benches are back

By Scott McPherson

http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/headlines/display.var.2167505.0.chippenhams_town_centre_benches_are_back.php

Benches have finally been reinstated on Chippenham town bridge after they were removed last summer amid concerns of anti-social behaviour.

The benches were taken down from the bridge and placed further up the High Street after Wiltshire Police felt they had become hotspots for groups of youths to congregate.

Following the decision there was a public call for the benches to return after elderly and disabled shoppers felt they no longer had somewhere to rest when out and about in the town.

Chair of the charity group Transport for the Disabled Maureen Lloyd has welcomed the benches’ return.

She said: “This is fantastic news and something we have been waiting for ever since last summer.

“These benches are an essential ingredient for many elderly and disabled shoppers who can now enjoy a rest after walking into the town.

“They are also in a lovely spot – so that you can enjoy scenes of the river and the town. I just hope they are enjoyed by the many and vandalised by the few.

“This is a case of people power winning out.”

The call to see the benches return to the bridge was backed by Chippenham Town Council.

Coun Nina Phillips said: “These benches are crucial and are used by so many people. They should never have been removed in the first place.”

The new benches are made of light aluminium to replace the old wooden ones with wrought iron frames.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “All we would like to say is that we are monitoring the situation and will continue to do so.”

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