MEMBERS of a community group are dismayed after plans for a new bench were rejected.

King's Stanley Tea and Chat group proposed a second bench on their village green, to enable older residents to sit and chat and be part of village life.

But the parish council has turned down their application.

The group fundraised for the first bench in 2016 to mark the Queen's 90th birthday and planned a second for the jubilee this year.

After raising funds, they took their idea to the parish council in June 2021, along with 33 letters of support.

"There are many elderly, lonely and infirm residents in this part of King's Stanley who have been isolated due to the pandemic," said Tea and Chat group member Barbara Hale.

"The existing bench has provided them with a place to sit and feel part of village life. But if the bench is already occupied, they cannot sit there. "Another bench would make a big difference to them."

However, at the parish meeting there was strong opposition, with claims of anti-social behaviour and littering at the existing bench.

Commenting on the claims, Mrs Hale said: "We have spoken with lots of residents and many living within the vicinity have assured us that there has, to their knowledge, never been any anti-social behaviour or litter.

"As a result, we decided to get a petition and in November we presented the council with a petition of 125 signatures."

The matter was deferred until a council meeting on January 26, where the plans were refused.

In a statement, the parish said the idea for a bench was 'laudable'.

However, it said, opposition came from those who lived near the green, with the inference that they would be most impacted by any adverse effects from the use of the bench, whereas support 'came more from residents likely to pass by on their way to or from village facilities'.

Mrs Hale disagrees and says several residents from around the green had written in letters of support.

The council statement concluded: "We monitored use of the original bench and would describe usage as moderate. There was no obvious suggestion that the present provision was inadequate.

"It was therefore decided that approval of the application could lead to more mental distress for those in the immediate vicinity than rejection would cause to those further afield who can continue to use the original bench as before."