Salisbury shopping precinct to reopen after spy poisoning

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image captionThe Maltings was the scene of decontamination work by the military

The shopping precinct at the centre of the Russian spy poisoning case is to reopen after being deemed "no risk to public health".

The Maltings in Salisbury city centre, where Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia were found unconscious, was handed back by the government on Monday.

Decontamination work has been completed and it could reopen at the weekend.

The chair of the Salisbury recovery group, Alistair Cunningham, said there was "no doubt" the site was clean.

"The site is in quite a state after not being touched for a few months," he added.

"Our plan is to do as much as we can in the next few days... because it's a vital economic link for the town centre."

image captionYulia and Sergei Skripal were critically ill for several weeks

Mr Skripal, 66, and Ms Skripal, 33, were taken to Salisbury District Hospital after coming into contact with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok.

The UK says Russia was behind the attack, but Moscow denies involvement.

Mr Skripal was discharged from hospital on Friday following his daughter's discharge last month.

The pair were discovered slumped on a bench in The Maltings following the nerve agent attack.

Mr Cunningham said there were no plans to replace the bench - which has been removed - but Wiltshire Council is looking at erecting an art installation in its place.

Some £250,000 had been given to businesses in the city affected by the aftermath of the poisoning, some of which saw revenues drop by 80%.

The council has also backed initiatives including introducing free car parking in the city.

Mr Cunningham added: "Things are running to plan and this is a real milestone in Salisbury returning to normal."

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