The consultation for the “improvements” to Kirkgate market was held for one day only, on a rainy Tuesday, hidden away at the end of a deserted corridor on the top floor of the Trinity Centre next to a row of empty shops, with no signposting and very few customers, and consisted of a general plan of the market and a set of artists’ impressions (downloaders beware, these are full-size and high-resolution) displayed on easels. There was also a questionnaire consisting of 10 questions, five of which were purely personal and the rest of which were extemely general. The questionnaire is also available on the council website but be quick — it only runs for five days.
Leeds City Council is holding a consultation on the plans for Kirkgate Market from 10am to 4pm on Tuesday 22nd April — in the Trinity Centre.
“Members of the design team and council’s project team will be at the exhibition to take people – some of whom might not usually shop at the market – through the changes, help them answer a short questionnaire and highlight what the market has to offer,” the press release says.
So with so much empty space in the market, what better place to consult on the plans than a huge shopping complex at the other end of town from the market attracting a completely different sort of shopper; the kind that wants an Apple iPhone5 and a Mulberry bag rather than five apples and a bag of mulberries? And what better time than when many people are at work?
The car park opposite Kirkgate Market has now closed and already traders are losing customers. The hoardings that now line the much reduced George Street are plastered with ads for Victoria Gate but there are no directions for alternative parking and no publicity for the market.
All the council can think of to reassure traders is the influx of construction workers and the promise of lots of custom for their Easter events. Traders have never been offered any compensation deal in relation to the negative impact on their trade of this massive development and the building work that is proposed for inside the market itself.
Meanwhile shoppers who cannot park might like to consider Market Delivered.
The Yorkshire Evening Post recently highlighted the monthly Shop to Get Fitter tours around Kirkgate Market.
“It’s hard to imagine a better advert for eating healthily than the fruit and veg stalls at Leeds Kirkgate Market,” the article said. It’s a lot cheaper too! Last week a FoLKM member compared the prices at Kirkgate Market with the price of similar goods at Sainsbury’s. Kirkgate wins by a mile.
Produce Sainsburys Leeds Kirkgate Market
Apples (each) 29.8p 12.5p
Small oranges (each) 33.3p 10p
Grapes (1KG) £4.00 £1.76
Pears (each) 39.8p 12p
Strawberries (1KG) £4.40 £3.00
Kiwi fruit (each) 35p 10p
Plums (each) 60p 12p
Mushrooms (1KG) £2.68 £2.20
Potatoes (1KG) 80p 44p
Full cucumber 69p 40p
Whole peppers (1KG) £2.41 77p
Lean mince (1KG) £9.00 £6.50
Pork chops (1KG) £7.29 £4.40
Fresh chicken fillets (1KG) £9.78 £5.92
Spare rib chops (1KG) £5.00 £3.95
On April 2, Leeds City Council’s executive board gave the go-ahead to the overhaul of Kirkgate Market. Although they understand that there are “concerns” and are trying to talk to tenants “in a meaningful way about allaying risks”, they have to start now so they will be “on target for delivering a refurbished and modernised market to coincide with the opening of John Lewis in 2016″
However, just hours before the meeting traders received a letter announcing long term restrictions on traffic in George Street. George Street is the artery that carries the lifeblood of the market and this is yet another blow to struggling traders.
This follows close on the announcement that the car park opposite the Market is to close on Saturday, which will inconvenience both traders and customers and make it likely that footfall and profits will decrease.
We can only wonder how many stalls will be left when the new improved market opens for the delight of John Lewis customers.
Councillor Richard Lewis said to the local newspaper that they are “proposing a major investment in an iconic listed building with significant local importance attached to it, so it’s vital that we get this right”.
Dear Councillor XxxxxxxI am aware that detailed plans for the major overhaul of the Market are finally out and will be discussed at the next Leeds City Council Executive Board on April the 2nd.
Whilst Councillor Richard Lewis said to the local newspaper that LCC are “proposing a major investment in an iconic listed building with significant local importance attached to it, so it’s vital that we get this right” – the plans that are set to be approved this week are not well thought through and have little support, if any, from traders and the public. The plans will be quickly followed by a planning application and whilst everyone agrees that the market needs investment and that fixing the basics are a priority it should not be at the expense of trader evictions, huge disruption for all and seeing existing customers priced out of Kirkgate Market. Neither does that fit with Leeds City Council’s policy for the city.
Therefore we urge the executive board to reject the proposal on the following key grounds:
- Lack of consultation with traders
- Failure to take into consideration the impact of the plans under the Public Sector Equality Duty as required in law
- Lack of openness and transparency on the proposed changes
- Frustration of the process – through poor consultations, divisive handling of traders, and lack of information available on the websites
It is also disappointing that all of this is being pushed through before the market management board has been set up. This is an important issue, particularly for the poorer communities in Leeds, and I would ask for your support in this matter.
Kirkgate Market traders vote to withdraw existing market redevelopment plans from discussion at Council
Final approval for the redevelopment plans for Kirkgate Market will be discussed at the next Leeds City Council Executive Board on April the 2nd. As usual the meeting is open to the public and will take place in the Civic Hall at 1pm. Details of the meeting here. Here is the main document to be discussed . Send us questions and comments that you would like to pass on to traders and councillors.
FOLKM are fully supporting traders’ calls for these papers to be withdrawn from next week’s council meeting to allow proper consultation over the full impact of the plans. Traders voted for the papers to be withdrawn after a meeting with management and councillors on the 24th of March.
Listen to trader Liz Laughton in an interview with BBC Radio Leeds when she explained the traders reaction to the plans and the vote against these papers.
The council have spent the past year announcing proposed improvements with great fanfare but providing virtually no detail and no discussion with traders. Finally we have been able to see some pictures of what they are proposing but this does not provide any reassurance on the key issues we have been campaigning on: the threat of higher rents driving out many existing traders; no meaningful participation of traders; a smaller open market and no assurance that those that depend most on the market for their affordable produce won’t be driven out as a direct result of the redevelopment.