A ‘bespoke’ new bench in Peach Place cost the council more than £22,000.

Data seen by the News showed the bench was part of a package of multiple benches which set the authority back more than £30,000 altogether.

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Maria Gee, Liberal Democrats councillor, told the News: “The borough council says that it is short of money.

“Yet the Conservatives decided there were funds to throw away on a bench that is impractical and uncomfortable.

“Benches are needed in Peach Place but spending £22,000 on just one bench that some residents have nicknamed 'the slug’ is a waste of public money.”

The News understands the bench was provided by WBC contractors Dawnus Construction Limited as part of a “bespoke street furniture” package before the company went into administration in March 2019.

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Made from sustainable hardwood, the bench was custom-designed to “create a unique feature” that would “serve a dual function as both functional seating and public art”.

It was supposedly designed to ensure it would require little maintenance over the coming years given its busy town centre location next to bars and shops.

Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) reportedly looked at other options for public seating before settling on the designs.

However, WBC decided on the pictured benches because the quality of the build and the construction was “significantly higher” with the chosen creator Woodscape Ltd., a company which has provided street furniture at locations including Brighton Pavilion, the Olympic Park and London South Bank.

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The News understands the benches were funded as part of the Peach Place regeneration project, and no community infrastructure money or taxpayer money was used to purchase the benches.