A FREE soft play area has been temporarily removed from a Winchester shopping centre to make room for events and a “massive Christmas tree”.

Signs have been put up on the lower floor of The Brooks Centre to tell visitors that the play equipment has been put into storage.

While the signs say the soft play should be back by the end of October, director and assets manager of Yarrow Estates, Simon Turpin, has confirmed play area will not be returning until the New Year.

READ MORE: Sports Direct to open in former New Look shop in Winchester

Hampshire Chronicle: Notice up in The BroooksNotice up in The Broooks (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Mr Turpin said: “We removed the soft play area because we were holding some events in that space and then the massive Christmas tree we’ve got will be going in there.

“But the plan is to have it back straight after New Year.”

The soft play area was outside the former New Look shop. Although currently empty, the units will be taken over by Sports Direct in December.

Yarrow Estates Ltd is a consortia of investors led by Winchester-based developers Gentian which bought the shopping centre in January.

The new owners have been busy working with the Brooks management team, its tenants and Winchester City Council, to improve the centre by securing new tenants, reducing energy wastage and improving the visitor experience.

SEE ALSO: Winchester Christmas card shop opens in third location in three years

Hampshire Chronicle: The new Christmas shopThe new Christmas shop (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Alongside the Sports Direct deal, Yarrow Estates has concluded a number of other new lettings as well as extending existing leases. A new £100,000 high-definition CCTV system has also recently been installed.

Play centre TotCity closed its branch at The Brooks due to financial difficulties in April but the unit has now been filled with a Christmas shop.

The annual Christmas card shop has also opened on the lower floor last month.

Other soft play areas in Winchester include Bella Crafts in Kings Walk, Qube Soft Play at the Carroll Centre in Stanmore, Little Planet Limited at Unit 12 in Winnall and Tiny Treasure Town in Easton Lane.