Benidorm-style sun loungers installed by Greater Manchester council - leaving locals baffled

The move has been much talked about on social media
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A cash-strapped council has baffled locals by erecting a series of Benidorm-style sun loungers - overlooking a dual carriageway. Residents have been left bemused by three “random” wooden recliners which were put up next to a busy main road in the town of Stretford, Gtr Manchester.

Passersby said they were especially surprised by the choice of the warm weather seating in the suburb known for its “absolutely horrendous” conditions. Others poked fun at the loungers by dubbing the area ‘Stretford Beach'.

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And one nearby bar even put towels out on the deckchair-style seats in the style of the Costa Blanca resort's famed beachfront bars.

Brewchimp posted on their Facebook page: "Here at Brewchimp we are loving the new look Kingsway and we like to get our towels down early for the best beds.

"Ian Brown famously said ‘All that’s missing in Manchester is a beach’. Well Stretford has made that one step closer to reality. Well done Trafford BC loving your work."

But others didn't see the funny side, with one social media user slamming the council by saying: "Looks awful! Who is going to sit at the junction of a busy road overlooking Stretford mall on a sunny day? What a waste of taxpayers money!"

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Max Holloway, 29, who works as a visual merchandiser, queried why locals would want to lay down next to the Kingsway Road, which is currently under construction.

She said: “I feel like it’s a bit random because with the weather in Manchester, it’s absolutely horrendous most of the time. I can’t imagine I would think, ‘Oh it’s a nice sunny day, let’s go sunbathe by Stretford Arndale [shopping centre].’

“At the minute, with the work still being done, traffic really does build up there, so it’s horrendous during rush hour. There is Victoria Park, which is a two-minute walk from there, so I think if you wanted something more peaceful, then you would probably go there.”

Max, from Stretford, also felt that the council should be spending their money more wisely. She added: “Putting more into the businesses around the area would be better than putting up a seating area which isn’t going to be used most of the time because it’s raining.”

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Mum Anne-Marie Quigley, 67, a retired hospitality worker, thought the council were trying to make the area more interesting but still questioned their decision.

She said: “It’s a nice idea, what they are trying to do, but in the last week two bars have closed down on Chester Road which opened after Covid.

“I know they are trying to rejuvenate Stretford, but I’ll be honest with you, they’ll need a hell of a lot more money to do that. They’re trying to make it more open, if you like, and more up and coming, but two bars have closed down.”

The decision to splash out on the sun loungers came as Trafford Council complained of having to fill gaping budget gaps totalling £288. And on January 31 this year, the local authority even passed a motion urging the government to give it a "fairer funding deal".

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Council leader Cllr Tom Ross said: “We call on the government to review the local government funding system which affects councils of all political backgrounds.”

But Joanna Marchong, investigations campaign manager from pressure group TaxPayers’ Alliance, said council chiefs simply had their "heads in the sand".

She said: “Local taxpayers will be furious with this outrageous waste of precious funds and will find it hard to relax on this roadside. The council’s finances are in serious trouble, yet town hall bosses have their heads in the sand. Trafford Council needs to cut the wasteful spending and focus on the real tide-turners - frontline services”

Trafford Council and Manchester City Council have both been contacted for comment.