‘Back to front’ bench to be moved from outside Larne bank amid security fears

Larne Public Realm Scheme summer seat. INLT 28-007-PSB

Larne Public Realm Scheme summer seat. INLT 28-007-PSB

A bench facing into a bank on Main Street is to be “repositioned” after locals voiced fears over the security of their financial transactions.

The new seat, located outside a branch of Santander, is one of two “back to front” benches recently installed as part of the town’s public realm scheme works.

The other has been placed outside the Royal Mail delivery office on Main Street, facing a bin.

Residents have been left asking the seats do not face the traditional outward-looking aspect of passing traffic.

Larne man Samuel McKitt, who banks with Santander, commented: “It’s not the wisest place to put a seat, it overlooks the branch and it would make me more wary of using the cash point.

Fellow Santander Santander customer Anne Rice agreed.

“This would make me wary about using Santander’s cash point as the seat is very close to it, and people could see your pin number,” she said.

Manageress of the Drop Inn Ministries charity shop Martha Stinson, whose shop faces the bench outside the Royal Mail Delivery office, added: “We have had a lot of people coming in and asking us why anyone would want to sit and look onto a stinking bin. The bin used to be further up the street but they have actually relocated it and the seat is now facing it. I think it’s a bit stupid and in the warm weather if you are sitting there with an ice cream there will be flies all round it.”

Meanwhile, ttwo visitors from Nottingham told the Times that they had “never seen anything like it” in England.

“It should be facing the road, we don’t think it’s a good idea to place it that way,” they stated.

An elderly McNeill court resident, who did not wish to be named, said that while it was good to have the seating it “looked silly” facing the bin.

After the Times contacted Santander to highlight the situation, a spokesperson said: “Santander is aware of the new bench installed outside our Larne Branch. We were not consulted prior to installation.

“However, the matter was immediately discussed with Larne Borough Council and the bench will be removed soon. Customers are always advised to remain vigilant and if concerned, they should contact us or the police immediately.”

A Mid and East Antrim Borough Council spokesperson commented: “Due to the contractors being off it has been impossible to take the necessary remedial action at this point or to address the reasons behind the original positioning. We do however anticipate the repositioning of the seat at Santander, due to the concerns raised, as soon as practical.”