Plea to return bench to busy Toon street

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A Peterhead community councillor wants to see the return of a bench to Marischal Street after it was removed at the end of last month.

Stephen Calder told fellow members recently that the public stone bench had been removed from its site outside the RBS bank following a meeting between Aberdeenshire Council officials.

“I attended a meeting which Chris White (Buchan area manager) and, briefly, Heather Barclay (town centre project officer), along with two other concerned town residents,” he said.

“We expressed our views that this bench was a valuable, much-needed and well-used amenity for local residents, shoppers and visitors.

“This bench, and the one it previously replaced, is an ideal site, especially for elderly shoppers to rest their weary legs on the way back from the shops to the bus stops.

“The bench has become a place for people to meet and have a chat - a kind of informal residents’ forum.”

Mr Calder said at the meeting he had requested that the bench be returned, pointing out that the decision had been taken without any consultation with those affected by its removal.

“I pointed out that listening to a shopkeeper from a newly-formed Retail Forum only gave one point of view and that, if they had been willing to consult the wider community, they might have heard an alternative view-point.”

Community warden Ian Kennedy said that the bench had been used by folk who were shouting and swearing, and had been the cause of problems for retailers.

“I think you have a blinkered view, there have been a lot of problems there,” he said.

“If the bench is gone, then the problem is gone in my view.”

But Mr Calder said the removal of the bench didn’t make things any better or worse in his opinion.

Chairman, John Brownlee added: “Let’s see what happens in the next couple of months and monitor the situation.”