Council denies ordering closure of public seats

PUBLISHED: 10:00 03 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:04 03 May 2020

Benches in Axminster have been taped to prevent people sitting on them. Picture: Andrew Coley

Benches in Axminster have been taped to prevent people sitting on them. Picture: Andrew Coley

Archant

Which authority ordered the controversial taping over of Axminster’s public seats remains unclear this weekend.

Mayor Anni Young said it was not a town council initiative.

She said: “The police asked that the seats should be taped, as people were not following guidelines concerning social distancing and were congregating around the benches.

“A volunteer taped the seats and I am advised that the tape will be replaced with police tape shortly.

“Some people were unhappy about the situation, and, therefore, the bench around the tree on Minster Green and the bench opposite the bookshop near the medical centre were both opened up again for people to rest whilst out for their daily exercise.”

But a spokesman for the police said: “The inspector has confirmed that the local policing team discussed the issue with the town council and advised they could tape up the benches, as opposed to police ‘instructing’ the town council to take the measures.”

The taping of the seats was widely criticised on social media, with one resident describing it as ‘an incomprehensible move for a town with a high proportion of elderly and disabled people’.


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