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Salisbury shopping precinct to reopen 11 weeks after nerve agent attack

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The Matings  image by Wiltshire CouncilThe Matings image by Wiltshire CouncilA business zone at the centre of a nerve agent attack is to be re-opened after decontamination work was completed.

The Maltings, in the centre of Salisbury, was closed after former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned back in March.

The walkway has been handed back to the recovery coordinating group by Defra following extensive cleaning and testing by specialist teams.

In a statement, Wiltshire Council said: "Remediation works to the public open space will be carried out over the next few days and the businesses that have been closed since the attack will be able to access their premises to restock prior to reopening to the public.

"Work will be carried out by Wiltshire Council, Salisbury City Council, and the Maltings Shopping Centre team, to repair and clean the area ready for opening, this will include brickwork repair, grass cutting and some refurbishment."

The nearby Zizzi restaurant and The Mill pub – which the Skripals visited before being found slumped on a park bench – are still undergoing decontamination by specialist teams from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and specially trained MOD personnel.

Around £250,000 had been earmarked for businesses in the city affected by the aftermath of the poisoning, some of which saw revenues drop by as much as 80 percent.

Free parking initiatives to lure back visitors are also still in place.