Home   Dover   News   Article

Dover District Council leader slams £90,000 public seating as 'blooming awful'

The leader of Dover District Council has described controversial new seating in the town as "blooming awful."

And his political opponent has called them "cheap and tacky."

One of the parklets outside the former McDonald's in Biggin Street, Dover
One of the parklets outside the former McDonald's in Biggin Street, Dover

This is the latest criticism of a £90,000 set of public seats in Dover, which has already been widely slated on social media.

Scroll down to take part in our poll

They are called parklets,first set up by Kent County Council last weekend and made from recycled plastic.

Labour opposition leader Kevin Mills, at a full Dover District Council meeting this week, said of their arrival: "They appeared overnight in the district.

"They look cheap, tacky and typical targets for vandals."

Conservative leader Trevor Bartlett told the remote meeting that he had first seen images of them at a leadership forum presentation on Monday.

He said they looked different to what was placed in the town now.

Cllr Trevor Bartlett. Picture: Dover District Council
Cllr Trevor Bartlett. Picture: Dover District Council

He said: "Sadly they look blooming awful and we've had a lot of people telling us that."

Members of the public already had already described the seating as looking like "fly-tipping" and "cardboard boxes" in the Facebook page Dover for Disgruntled Dovorians.

About 700 comments were made on that page - mostly negative.

Zenobia Pullen wrote: "It looks like someone has just fly tipped some wooden DIY projects."

Jemma Nash said: "Just what you need when we’re all supposed to be two metres apart. They look like cheap plywood and will no doubt be taken over by graffiti, winos, etc."

'Honestly, I thought it a joke,' Facebook commentator

Debbie Williams-Moore said: "Looks like a lot of cardboard boxes."

Magdalena K Ak replied: "Same feeling. Honestly I thought it a joke, but apparently not."

However a few commentators supported the project.

Petra Matthews Crow said: "They look really nice actually. Let’s hope people look after them and develop some pride in the town.

" I wonder how many people slagging this off in the thread contribute in any positive sense to the reputation of Dover?

Cllr Kevin Mills
Cllr Kevin Mills

"Ask not what Dover can do for you but what you can do for it! Dover needs love, not constant criticism."

James Benjafield told the critics: "What a bunch of negative people you lot are. I think they're great.

"How about praising the team who put this together to actually give us something positive?"

The parklets, paid for with public and private money, include parking spaces for bicycles plus plants.

They are the first of their kind in Kent and are meant to help the local economy as the coronavirus lockdown is gradually lifted this year.

One of the parklets outside B&M in Biggin Street, Dover
One of the parklets outside B&M in Biggin Street, Dover

Two sets are in Biggin Street, one outside the former McDonald's restaurant and the other outside the B&M store.

Another has been put up at Dover High Street and two more,are due to go up at Castle Street and Cherry Tree Avenue.

To accommodate the scheme, two parking spaces will be removed in Castle Street and five metres of parking on Cherry Tree Avenue.

A KCC spokesman said of the criticisms: “Our intention has always been to work with local artists, groups and schools, on designs to go on to the parklets as part of the next stage of this project.

“Given the current lockdown, we have been unable to do the community art aspect, but with lockdown easing on the horizon, we hope to move this forward in due course.

Cllr Michael Payne. Picture: Kent County Council
Cllr Michael Payne. Picture: Kent County Council

“We appreciate this initial appearance of the parklets may not be to everyone’s taste but they have been created using sustainably sourced materials, and recycled ocean plastic.

“These processes can result in more 'plain' or 'raw' looking structures, but it is important that KCC leads by example using responsible and sustainable sources as we set out to achieve our environmental targets.”

Cllr Michael Payne, KCC cabinet member for highways and transport, said on their launch: “Research shows businesses near parklets, like these, benefit from increased footfall and economic growth.

"When we come out of lockdown and high streets can open once again, the Dover parklets will help visually enhance the area, providing places for members of the public to rest and/or park their bike whilst shopping."

The choice of planting is to encourage bees and other pollinators.

The parklets are funded through the Kent Lane Rental Highway Innovation Fund and through the Local Growth Fund (LGF) allocated to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More