A TRADER has added her voice to the protest which has met the temporary removal of benches from Tavistock town centre.

Around ten public benches have been removed from outside the town hall to make way for scaffolding to carry out important repairs and maintenance during the dry weather.

The benches are well used by visitors and locals on Bedford Square, the hub of the town centre, overlooked by listed buildings.

Many traders and shoppers did not know what was happening to the town hall and why the benches were removed, which led to calls for the benches to be relocated somewhere else in the town centre.

The issue has also been debated twice in the past two weeks by the town council at meetings where councillors raised the concerns.

Louise Jackman, who owns a chippie on nearby Brook Street, suggested at a full council meeting that the benches should be temporarily resited.

Later she said: ‘I’m really disappointed that this has all happened without being consulted. It’s all rather late in the day to find out when the benches have already been moved. Many of my customers need somewhere close by to sit and eat their food. During the summer we get extra demand from visitors.’

She added: ‘I have even offered to sponsor or buy a bench to compensate, but was told the council has rules about that. At least they could move the bench to the riverside walk. It’s a relatively long walk from the car parks to the centre and older people do need somewhere to sit.’

The council said it had fully consulted and was looking at relocating benches. Two had been relocated on the square. Moving benches involved talking to different landowners.