Guildhall Jubilee benches

The pair of wooden Jubilee benches currently installed outside Andover’s Guildhall will shortly be removed for refurbishment following persistent misuse.

Councillor Marion Kerley arranged for the benches to be installed during her year as Mayor of Test Valley in 2000. She says “Sadly the benches are now so badly damaged that they have to be removed. In light of the vandalism over the years and the impending change to the use of the Lower Guildhall, it is now planned to refurbish and relocate them to other parts of the town where they can be fully appreciated and used as they should be.”

I have spoken to Mrs Kerley regarding this and expressed my concern that the seats were to be removed and today emailed the corporate director at Test Valley to re-enforce this point as follows.

“I was disappointed to hear these benches were to be moved from the Guildhall. While I accept they need renovation to take them away permanently from the Guildhall and High Street is to remove a frequently used public facility.

On almost every occasion I’ve been in town I have seen people using them despite the fact they are damaged. Furthermore to remove them prior to giving Prezzo permission to use the Guildhall forecourt implies the decision to allow Prezzo to occupy this area is already made. In fact this point has been made in a letter in today’s Andover Advertiser.

I would prefer to see them remain where they are in front of the Guildhall and facing down the High Street. If they have to be moved can they be relocated either at the sides or further forward of the cobbled area so local residents still have the opportunity to sit there, in the sun, and enjoy the view of the High Street.”

I look forward to the answer.

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