Honiton welcomes Sidmouth hand-me-down

Bench so ‘posh’ even the graffiti is polite.

Honiton residents, who protested when a public bench near their homes disappeared, have received an early Christmas present from East Devon District Council - a secondhand seat and a pot of paint.

The ‘gifts’ have appeared in the spot where the original bench was once sited, between Ashleigh Road and Willowdale. That seat was taken away by workmen after being found vandalised and dumped in the River Gissage.

Ashleigh Road resident Tony Simpson said of the ‘new’ seat: “It is like those on the Victorian promenade at Sidmouth, even though it has peeling paint.

“It is rather like expecting a present from Fields and having a hand-me-down from posh relatives in Sidmouth.

“We know it is from Sidmouth, because even the graffiti is polite.”

Mr Simpson added: “Actually, I think it will be quite handsome after a lick of paint - much better than those plastic utility benches they now have, which don’t even have arms.”

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Residents were originally told they would have to club together and pay �680 for a new bench.

They now say they are glad they spoke up and campaigned for a replacement. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get,” said Mr Simpson.

He told The Herald: “We are glad The Knowle had a change of heart, rather like Scrooge relenting in A Christmas Carol.

“We have now asked Father Christmas to paint it after finishing all those toys.”

Town councillor Ron Farnham, who campaigned for the bench to be replaced, said the saga was one of Honiton’s “mysteries”.