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Everything you need to know about benches in Norwich - and there's a lot

PUBLISHED: 06:30 01 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:18 01 September 2019

Verity Carter tells all about her experience on Norwich benches. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Verity Carter tells all about her experience on Norwich benches. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Archant

You can sit on them, stand on them and, for a time if you were really into fads circa 2008, plank on them.

Phil Miller gives us his opinions on the City's benches. Picture: Neil DidsburyPhil Miller gives us his opinions on the City's benches. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Whatever your style, a thorough study of a bunch of benches in and around Norwich city centre reveals the variety of seating available to make even a short break an adventure.

Here are some ground breaking facts and figures found by the 2019 study conducted by The Norwich Society:

- There are a total of 412 seats with a capacity of 1,582 - which could fit around 1.2pc of the city population.

- To treat your large family to a bench adventure there are 22 seats that can squeeze more than nine people.

- Some 234 seats had a back and 122 had armrests.

- For the ultimate sitting experience, there are 112 seats with both back AND armrests.

- Around 68 needed a spot of cleaning while another 37 seats needed repair.

- There are around 88 seats to best avoid as they needed both cleaning and repairing.

Norwich bench data is revealed in new study. Picture: Neil DidsburyNorwich bench data is revealed in new study. Picture: Neil Didsbury

But the study has found certain barriers when it came to giving benches some TLC.

The Prince of Wales Road roadworks is not only a nightmare for drivers but it was cited as a reason "likely to give rise to changes" in the condition of seats.

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The study also found that city dwellers are deprived of a sit-down view of the river upstream of St George's Bridge, as there are no benches located there.

Brenda Palmer tells us her opinion on Norwich's benches. Picture: Neil DidsburyBrenda Palmer tells us her opinion on Norwich's benches. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Serial sitters from Norwich gave their views. Verity Carter, 28, of Sprowston Road, said: "I tend to perch wherever so I'm not that fussed about whether it's a bench or a seat."

Phil Miller, 63, of Union Street, said: "It's nice to sit down and have a rest now and again on a bench."

If you pictured benches as nothing more than planks of wood and metal fashioned into a chair then you are mistaken - the study also includes a collection of photos of creatively-styled benches for your viewing pleasure.

The report states: "There was a greater variety of seating designs and styles than we had previously appreciated."

It added: "We also found that there were many seats which, although usable, were not particularly welcoming. They gave the appearance of not having been maintained since they were installed."

Variety of seating types

Not only do benches in Norwich come in all different shapes and sizes, some are fascinating pieces of art.

For those wanting to feel more at home but without the comfort, there are concrete benches styled as different types of sofas - from classy L shapes and chaise longues to tub chairs and stalls.

Adrian McGowam thinks we need back supports on the City's benches. Picture: Neil DidsburyAdrian McGowam thinks we need back supports on the City's benches. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Some benches in the city are divided into sections with armrests, giving the choice of either sitting uncomfortably close to a stranger or leaving a gap to respect the acceptable distance.

Nature lovers who are unperturbed by the prospect of being hit by bird poop can perch on a number of round benches wrapped around tree trunks.

Public seating can be innovative too - a recent addition to join the plethora of Norwich benches is the solar bench, the first of its kind in the UK.

The solar bench, located outside the Forum, not only allows visitors to charge their devices for free but also offers access to wi-fi.

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