Agenda item

Open Forum / Community Forums

In accordance with Paragraphs 4.16 and 4.17 of the Community Committee Procedure Rules, at the discretion of the Chair a period of up to 10 minutes may be allocated at each ordinary meeting for members of the public to make representations or to ask questions on matters within the terms of reference of the Community Committee.  This period of time may be extended at the discretion of the Chair.  No member of the public shall speak for more than three minutes in the Open Forum, except by permission of the Chair.


In line with current guidance for the Open Forum, two submissions had been received by the Community Committee which were read out at the meeting by the clerk.


The submissions were as follows:

Sent by Fran Graham on behalf of A Place Sit


The new owners of Bramley Shopping Centre (LCP Group) have removed all public seating at the centre. They are hoping to increase footfall to the centre and considered the benches an obstruction to this. Local residents welcome the new owners, but are deeply concerned by this situation as it impacts on health and wellbeing.

Removing the benches means that people who walk to the centre have no-where to stop and rest.

·  Local older people who need to rest between shops cannot do so.

·  People who can’t carry shopping while waiting for a taxi have nowhere to rest.

·  People with health conditions and mobility problems have been excluded from shopping independently.

·  People with pushchairs and children have nowhere to rest, breastfeed, or let children sit to eat unless they pay to use the Costa Coffee shop.

·  Staff working in the shops have nowhere to take breaks outside.

·  People who used the benches for social contact can no longer access this.

LCP’s decision will affect vulnerable people in our community.

We believe it has reduced footfall to the centre, and is an obstruction to local people’s health, wellbeing and happiness.

700 residents have joined a facebook group called A Place to Sit in response to this situation. The group is attending the centre every Saturday 10-11 to show our support for the Bramley ward Councillors’ proposal to reinstate 16 benches as soon as possible, and to show our support to the owners to review their decision.

Will the community committee support our call for LCP Group to review their decision to remove benches, to respond to the Ward Councillors proposal, and reinstate at least 16 benches as soon as possible?

What further action can the community committee take to address this issue on behalf of residents?



Sent by Philip McConnell BEM.Chairperson of the Bramley Care Bears

Dear all,

Please could the concern below be raised at the highest level.

We as the Bramley Care Bears were recently made aware of the removal of the bench seats at the Bramley Shopping Centre.

The general feedback that we have received is that the residents are shocked, amazed and dumbfounded at the lack of logical reason for this.

The reason that we were given as a community was that the benches were causing an obstruction.

I am still at a loss as to understand in any way how these benches could be considered an obstruction.

There has been a local Facebook Group created so that local residents have a place to voice their frustrations and keep each other updated on feedback (if any) they might have received from the Bramley Shopping Centre owners.

We as residents will continue to raise our frustrations and our weekly sit in will continue in the friendly manner it has been so far.

If anything could be done to apply pressure for reason to the new owners this would be greatly appreciated.


We as protesters are speaking on behalf of the people who genuinely need to take a seat when they are out shopping whether it is due to age or ill health.


It is often it seems understood by some as a sign of weakness for a person or organisation to admit that a mistake was made. I would say that it is a sign of strength of character to be able to admit when an error of judgement has been made.


Cllr Gruen the ward Councillors for Bramley & Stanningley also addressed the Committee on this issue. She was concerned that the current owners of Bramley Shopping Centre the London and Cambridge Properties (LCP) had removed the benches without any consultation with ward councillors, shoppers, public groups or the wider community.


Cllr Gruen said that the three ward members had been inundated with emails raising concern that the benches had been removed. The Centre is surrounded by a number of Elderly Peoples residencies as well as Bramley Elderly Action who find pleasure in using the benches to watch the world go by.


Members were of the view that the decision to remove the benches was unreasonable and requested a meeting with the designated manager of the centre. Cllr Ritchie had undertaken an extensive survey in light of the feedback that they had received from the community. This survey produced a strong rationale for reinstating the seating at the centre. The Ward Councillors have suggested reinstating seating but with fewer seats than were there previously.


The Ward Councillors had a meeting via zoom with the designated manager of the shopping centre, although the Councillors had suggested a meeting at the shopping centre. The designated manager had made it clear that the shopping centre would be managed remotely from London. The Councillors were grateful that a meeting had been held, but were dismayed that the designated manager had made a counter proposal and found that his manner was adversarial given that the Ward Councillors only wished to worked with LCP and the local community in a collaborative way. The Councillors are still awaiting a response to the proposal for the reinstating of 16 benches.


The Councillors fully support the weekly sit ins which have been held in a good humoured and entirely peaceful way. This has been fully supported by the number of people on the Facebook group ‘A Place to sit’. The Bramley Councillors wanted to secure the support of the Inner West Community Committee in sending a letter to LCP to reinstate the benches as suggested.


It was noted that the Bramley Shopping Centre was not only used by residents of Bramley but also the wider Inner West Community Committee area. It was noted that Armley Ward Councillors had also received a number of emails raising concern that the benches had been removed.


Cllr Gruen asked for the support of the Community Committee to send a letter to LCP for the reinstating of 16 benches at the shopping centre.


The Chair asked the Committee if they wished to support Cllr Gruen’s proposal in sending a letter on behalf of the Committee.


The Committee were in full support of the proposal to send a letter a letter on behalf of the Inner West Community Committee with all Members signing it.