THE reintroduction of benches at Spinning Gate Shopping Centre has been welcomed.

The seating areas had been removed during the strictest period of the coronavirus lockdown to help ensure social distancing.

Leigh MP James Grundy said their removal had caused concern among some shoppers, especially elderly customers.

He says he met with management at Spinning Gate to raise concerns.

The shopping centre has now reintroduced the benches with social distancing guidance.

Mr Grundy said: "Each week since lockdown measures were eased and non-essential shops were allowed to reopen, I have visited Leigh Town Centre to speak to local business owners and market traders to find out more about their experience on the high street.

"A number of shop owners in Spinning Gate raised their concerns that the benches had been removed during the stricter period of COVID-19 measures, in order to ensure social distancing was maintained. This was of concern, especially for shops with older customers, who rely upon these benches being in place due to the size of the shopping centre."

He added: "Last week, I spoke with the manager of Spinning Gate Shopping Centre to raise these concerns, and to put either benches or chairs back in the shopping centre to ensure that our high street was accessible to everyone now that non-essential shops were reopening.

"Following these calls, I’m pleased to say that benches with clear social distancing guidance have been reintroduced to the Shopping Centre.

"I'd like to thank Spinning Gate Shopping Centre also for their swift action on this matter."