Seating area outside Lancaster cafe removed for winter

Centre of Marketgate where benches used to be.
Centre of Marketgate where benches used to be.

An outside seating area for a Lancaster cafe has been removed for the winter.

The fenced-off seating area outside New Look in Marketgate for Rastelli’s cafe meant shoppers could no longer sit in the shopping centre unless they paid for food or a drink at Rastelli’s, or sat in the open air end of the arcade, where additional benches were installed.

Shoppers had complained when the benches were originally removed at the end of 2011 to make way for the cafe area.

Pensioner Eric Beniston said he and his disabled wife Margaret would often use the seats in Marketgate to rest on during their shopping trips.

And he had hoped they were making a return when the cafe area disappeared last month.

“I thought they had taken the seating away to make way for Christmas displays,” Mr Beniston, who lives in Brookhouse, said.

“But nothing happened and it’s still empty.

“Are we going to get our benches back at last?”

But Marketgate centre manager Lynn Ison said the seating has been removed until warmer weather returns.

The space has allowed the centre to hold seasonal activities, she said.

“The seating was temporarily removed for the core winter months,” Mrs Ison said.

“The screens are still there to point people in the diection of the cafe.

“When the weather picks up the seating will be back.”