AN OUTPOURING of complaints has met the temporary removal of popular town centre benches in Tavistock.

Urgent repairs to Tavistock Town Hall have led to the temporary removal of at least six public benches outside as scaffolding was erected last week across the front of the hall up to the roof.

This has prompted an outcry, as the benches are very well-used by locals and workers at lunch time, especially as the warmer weather brings more visitors in town.

Shoppers and traders have complained about the temporary loss of the benches with many people asking why they had been removed and if they were going back.

The issue was raised at Tavistock Town Council budget and policy committee last week by Cllrs Paul Ward and Ursula Mann who asked if the benches could be temporarily replaced in Bedford Square in different places.

Wayne Southall, Tavistock council town centre manager, said the benches were only taken away temporarily while the maintenance and repairs were carried out during the summer.

The work was due to be completed before the end of the summer. There were alternatives next to the churchyard and the neighbouring car park, he pointed out.

Mr Southall promised the council would look at returning seats as soon as possible while the scaffolding was still up, but finding new sites in the town centre was not easy.

Another problem was that Bedford Square was well-used for many events booked through the summer, which restricted alternative temporary bench sites.

He told the meeting: ‘I have seen the suggestions by people of where temporary benches could go, but it is not that easy.

‘There are different landowners of some of the suggested places for benches, they are not owned by the council. It would be the obvious answer if we owned the land.

‘We did look at relocating the benches, before the scaffolding was put up, but there were no alternative spaces. We looked at the design of the scaffolding to see if the benches could be incorporated without moving them. But that wasn’t possible.’

The council says that the work to the stonework and roof of the town hall needs to be carried out during the warmer months.