Seating sit-in is put on hold

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A sit-in protest over the removal of seating in Buxton’s Spring Gardens Shopping Centre has been averted following a management pledge to replace it by the end of August.

Locals have been demanding to know when the Centre would replace the seats ever since they were removed for health and safety reasons in March – when Katy Pugh, Chief Executive of Age UK Derby & Derbyshire, said their removal deprived the elderly and infirm of a life-saving rest.

And Fairfield WI had even proposed a sit-in: “This was a serious proposal and several members were in agreement,” said Anne Yates, of the WI. “This has now been averted.”

A spokesperson for Spring Gardens Shopping Centre told the Advertiser: “The saga of the seats in the centre is coming to a satisfactory conclusion.

“We have always stated that the previous non-compliant seating would be replaced and we can now confirm that this process is underway.

“The final seat design will be decided at a meeting during the week commencing July 4,” he said.

“The order will be placed and it is anticipated that manufacture, delivery and installation will be completed by the end of August.

“We appreciate the concern that the removal of the old seating has caused in the town but they were identified as being non-compliant with regulations, as they had no arms or backs and were free-standing and the immediate removal of this seating was necessary,” he added.

“We are confident that the new seating will meet with the approval of our shoppers and visitors.”

WI members had been at the forefront of letters and complaints about the issue, and one pointed out that the Centre used to have seats with backs – but they had been taken out to replace the ones removed in March.

And Mrs Enid Phillips, of Sparrowpit WI, said: “It is important for the health and safety of old folk – and also it’s rather sociable to be able to sit down and pass the time of day.”