Eleven of the 13 new benches installed in Helston town centre at the start of the year are already coming loose – leading to the town council withholding payment until the issue has been resolved.

Members were told that the problem could be that they only had two fixings per bench.

Mayor Jonathan Radford-Gaby told councillors: “A lot of the benches appear unsecure because there are only two fixings.

“I admit one or two of them are loose and we are keeping an eye on it and will be reporting back to amenities [committee].”

He felt it was not the fault of the contractor who installed the benches if the council only asked him to use two fixings.

Councillor Martine Knight, vice chairman of the amenities committee that is responsible for the bench project, said: “When we were doing the ordering process all the indications were two fixings were adequate and the pictures showed that.

“Having looked at a couple of loose ones myself it's quite clear the holes drilled are too big. It's not fixed properly. I concur we shouldn't pay until this matter is resolved.”

It was unanimously agreed that the council should hold the cheque for the contractor until the work was done to the council's satisfaction.

The benches were this week described as an interim measure while other schemes are discussed. The pilot project will establish whether the seating is in the correct place, how much it is used and what the ultimate aims are regarding design.

It had been hoped to site more benches on the sunnier side of Coinagehall Street, but narrow pavements and a desire to not obstruct the windows of businesses meant it had not been possible at this time.

Due to the continued consultation, and with economic constraints in mind, the council said it chose benches that were plain, basic and maintenance-free that could, ultimately, be relocated to more outlying areas of the town and play parks.

They have been bought in black to be more in-keeping with the other street “furniture” – such as litter bins – and will have an official Helston Town Council logo added at a later date. The cost of supplying the benches was £1,935, with a further £429 spent on installing them.

This has been paid for out of the amenities committee's budget, after the suggestion was raised by a working party set up to look at the results of the 2011 town plan questionnaire.

  • Payment has since been released to the contractor after the council agreed the work had been carried out as instructed. Mayor Jonathan Radford-Gaby and chairman of the amenities committee Justine Hornsby carried out an inspection of all the benches within 24 hours of the meeting and authorised payment the same day.