PUBLIC seating is to return to the Inner Close in Winchester.

The seats had been removed by Winchester Cathedral because people were breaking the social distancing rules by gathering there.

But it was criticised as harming older people who need to use the seating for rest. In a letter to the Chronicle, Justin Keay "highlighted the inconvenience of the measure for older people in the city, of whom there are many, and the sheer stupidity of this ill-judged move."

Now the cathedral has announced the seats will return next week with new advice from public health agencies.

A spokeswoman said this afternoon: "We now have a date for when the seating will return to the Inner Close, which is the 8th of March.

"This is following the latest public health guidance from the Government, which states people are permitted to have socially distanced one-on-one meet-ups outdoors in a public space for recreation, which can include a coffee on a bench."

The seating in the Outer Close was not removed.