Bramley Shopping Centre: Residents to hold sit in protest after only eight benches set to be reinstalled

A sit-in protest is planned in the Bramley Shopping Centre following the announcement that just eight of the site's removed benches will be installed.

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 5th August 2021, 2:20 pm

Centre owners LCP removed from benches the centre in early June, stating at the time that the benches had been an "obstruction" to the pathways.

After a backlash from shoppers, and consultations with local MP Rachel Reeves (Lab, Leeds West) and Bramley and Stanningley councillors, Kevin Ritchie, Caroline Gruen and Julie Heselwood, the company announced that it would reinstall eight of the benches.

Four benches will be put in place near Poundstretcher and four close to the taxi rank near Tesco.

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Campaigners in the A Place to Sit group, made up of 900 Bramley residents, at a sit-in protest in Bramley Shopping Centre, after the benches were removed.

Tenants have also been offered the opportunity to have a licence to extend their premises and provide outdoor seating, an LCP spokesman said.

However, the A Place to Sit campaign group, made up of 900 Bramley residents, has criticised the decision, stating that it is "not enough".

It will now hold another sit-in protest, with campaigners bringing their own chairs, on Saturday, August 7.

A spokeswoman for A Place to Sit said: “We’re pleased to hear back from LCP Group after hundreds of emails, letters and tweets from residents, local organisations, Ward Councillors, and the West Leeds MP.

Campaigners in the A Place to Sit group, made up of 900 Bramley residents, at a sit-in protest in Bramley Shopping Centre, after the benches were removed.

"The proposal to reinstate eight benches is a start but it is not enough.

"It leaves major gaps across the centre and doesn’t accommodate the needs of people who can’t walk easily over longer distances.

"LCP Group must reinstate all of the 22 benches they removed, and consult local people about the style of bench they propose, in order to make Bramley Shopping Centre welcoming to customers once again, especially those with disabilities, long-term health conditions, and older community members.

"We are calling on national retailers based at Bramley Shopping Centre to stand up for their customers on this issue.

"We are calling on LCP Group to respond with a better plan; and we cordially invite LCP Group to meet with representatives from A Place to Sit to find a resolution that meets everyone’s needs.”

An LCP spokesman said: “As we pointed out a few weeks ago, we were carrying out detailed on-site surveys before making any decisions as to the future-proofing and upgrading of the centre,” said a spokesman.

“I’m pleased to say that following our improvements to the parking provision, we will be installing new benches and aim to have them in situ by the end of September, subject to the shortages currently being experienced across the whole construction industry being resolved.

“As managing agents, we are working hard to make Bramley Shopping Centre more appealing and are actively attracting new occupiers.

"We’re looking forward to announcing new names in the next few weeks.”

The sit-in protest will be held on Saturday, August 7 from 10-11am.

Members of the public are encouraged and invited to attend – bringing a chair and a spare – for anyone who needs to sit down.

The Change.org petition can be viewed here.