Hundreds join calls to restore Bramley Shopping Centre benches

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Taking a stand over seats at Bramley Shopping Centre at the weekly sit-down protests. Photo: Philip McConnell

Photographs: Philip McConnell

Words: John Baron

More than 700 people have joined a Facebook group calling for the new owners of Bramley Shopping Centre to reinstate benches they removed.

The move comes as around 50 people yesterday attended the third in a series of weekly friendly flashmobs at the centre to make their points heard. Yesterday’s slogan was: “We won’t stand for nowhere to sit.”

Campaigners set up the A Place to Sit group on Facebook to co-ordinate the campaign to get the benches, which were removed by centre managers LCP Properties last month, reinstated.

So far 715 people have joined the group, with the number growing daily. They are co-ordinating a polite e-mail campaign to get the new owners, who bought the centre for £1million earlier this year, to change their mind.

Every Saturday morning at 10am a friendly flashmob of people are bringing their own chairs to Bramley Centre to make their point, with another planned for next Saturday. A petition was also being circulated.

Bramley photographer Philip McConnell was on hand to capture the latest ‘sit down’ event:

Seats filled almost the entire length of the car park area. Photo: Philip McConnell
Sign here: Roland Cross and Fran Graham with the petition. Photo: Philip McConnell
Smiles better with a seat. Photo: Philip McConnell
The Reverend Paul Crabb, Priest in Charge of Bramley, was there. Photo: Philip McConnell
This man needed to rest between getting off the bus and where he was heading. He needed to rest because of his heart so he sat on the bin – because there was nowhere else to sit. One of the group gave him a chair. Photo: Philip McConnell
Making a point at Bramley Shopping Centre. Photo: Philip McConnell

Concerned residents met with the new Facilities Manager of the shopping centreto ask him for three things. These included asking LCP to respond to the councillors’ proposal to reinstate the benches, to respond to the emails he’s been sent when he is back from annual leave.and to explain what he’d learnt from the event and for bosses to have a video call with members of this group.

Campaigners argue many elderly and vulnerable shoppers and those with mobility difficulties need the benches to have a quick rest or a chat over a cuppa while putting heavy bags down before moving on to other shops in the centre. They say the seats allow people to socialise.

A spokesperson from A Place to Sit said:

“The original intention was to start a conversation & build a relationship with the new owners, to help them see why restoring the seating is the right thing to do. We are making progress.”

People power: This woman brought her own seat to the event. Photo: Philip McConnell
Joanne Brophy, from the Hookers and Clickers group, came along to make her point. Photo: Philip McConnell

Earlier this month, a spokesman for LCP, the national commercial property and investment company that manages Bramley Shopping Centre on behalf of the landlord Sheet Anchor, said consultation with local councillors and centre tenants regarding seating and other improvements is ongoing.

They said the seats had been removed due to congestion on the centre footpaths.


  1. I emailed the company and received the usual dismal automated response everyone is getting which addresses none of the issues local people are raising. To describe a reduction in free parking from 2.5 hours to 2 hours as ‘an improvement’ just about sums these people up. I spoke to one of their representatives after the protest on Saturday last and he was as impassive as an Easter Island Statue. Briefed by his bosses to say absolutely nothing then pass this off as ‘a dialogue’. Somebody suggested we may need to escalate to direct action to make this company sit up and take notice and I’m minded to agree.

  2. Yes, the services in the past were really commendable. But, whatever the reasons were, the benches had not to be removed. This is the most awaited call of the elders and the todlers to resume the services.


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