No room for the Christmas crib at Crossgates shopping centre
A Church group has been told there is no room at the 'shop-inn' centre for a Nativity scene this Christmas.
For at least the last decade, Churches Together in east Leeds has set up the traditional crib in Crossgates Shopping Centre.
The group has also displayed church service times and information as well as welcomed donations from shoppers.
However, this year the group was told there is not enough space for the structure, which they said is around the size of three double pushchairs. But one visitor observed that the Santa’s Grotto is bigger this year than last.
Richard Strudwick, of Churches Together, said: “This year the management felt they could not accommodate us because of their commitments already in hand. We are disappointed but to some extent understand the pressures that these places are under.“Sadly we are not able to collect any money this year and the only thing we have been able to do is distribute cards (with church services and information on) over the last week in the centre. Many of the shops have been happy to take them so customers can pick one up.”
The group is hopeful that for next year they can re-work the size of the scene so it won’t take up as much room.
Matthew Middleton, regional centre manager, said: “Churches Together first contacted the centre on October 31 to enquire about a space for the crib scene this year but unfortunately, our usual available spaces had been booked over the Christmas period for quite some time already.
“We are always keen to accommodate the crib scene at the centre so we worked with Churches Together to try and find an alternative solution and we were happy to provide a vacant unit to house the nativity scene, but in November we welcomed three new lettings into the centre so we had to go back to the drawing board.
“The crib scene has a big foot print and it was suggested to Churches Together that if the crib scene was smaller it would fit in one of the remaining free spaces. It was agreed that we would give them ten dates on the mall, free of charge, to enable the group to raise money for them to be able to build a smaller scene.
“Supporting organisations at the heart of the Crossgates community is extremely important to us, which is why we have continued to work positively with Churches Together to find a solution.”