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Trinity Trickery

April 16, 2014

trinity

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?

Nowhere to Go

April 14, 2014

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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.

Seven a Day Keeps the Munchies at Bay

April 8, 2014

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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

By George

April 5, 2014

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George Street

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.
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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.

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We can only wonder how many stalls will be left when the new improved market opens for the delight of John Lewis customers.

“It’s vital that we get this right”

March 30, 2014

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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”.

 
But we think that the plans that are set to be approved this week – quickly followed by a planning application – are getting it desperately wrong. Everyone agrees that the market needs investment and that fixing the basics are a priority but these plans will see trader evictions, huge disruption and existing customers priced out of Kirkgate Market.
 
If you are also concerned please get in touch with Executive Board Councillors BEFORE Wednesday April 2nd and let them know what you think about what they are doing and the way that they are doing it. 
 
Here is a sample letter to give you some ideas:
 
Dear Councillor Xxxxxxx
I 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.

Yours
Xxxxxxxx

GET INVOLVED
 
As you can see we are about to embark on a phase of more activities as these proposals move ahead and seek planning applications, trader disruption, legal challenges, etc. At this point we are going to need as much help as possible from more people. If you’d like to help in any way and have any area of expertise or interest, (legal, artistic, fundraising, design, writing, social media, planning) please get in touch.

Kirkgate Market traders vote to withdraw existing market redevelopment plans from discussion at Council

March 27, 2014

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.

Kirkgate-Market-Visual-of-C
The shiny new daily market: how it will look (allegedly)

Questions and Answers from Richard Lewis

March 26, 2014

On Tuesday March 18th FoLKM met with Richard Lewis and his team to try to get clarity on the many proposals for the future of Kirkgate Market.

  1. We asked what the council has done to get a clear understanding of who currently uses the market and also to know what measures will be put in place to protect some of the most vulnerable groups who rely on the market
  2. We voiced our concerns about the plans for the 76 hall as a covered daily market. How do they know that it’s going to work? What research/market testing has been done to give the council confidence that they will be able to fill the hall and guarantee a minimum level of income from the newly developed 76 hall?
  3. What guarantees can the Council give traders around rent levels? Is part of the guarantee of repayment of the £12.3m going to involve raised rent levels? We are worried that rents will increase, certain traders will leave and prices will go up which in turn will change the demographic of those who are able to shop at the market.
  4. We also wanted to know how many existing traders still had the right of assignment in perpetuity? What proportion of these will have to move in the redevelopment and whether or not they will be able to retain these rights in perpetuity? We also wished to know how the council and market management ensures that there is transparency and equity in any process of renegotiating contracts?
  5. When traders are going to be moved, is there going to be a re-selection process? We’d like the details of this process, criteria for selection and placing etc? Will traders have any say in the design of this process?

    Is the Outside Market going to get smaller i.e. fewer or smaller stalls? What guarantees can he give over the costs to traders of having a stall on the outside market? What is the level of disruption that traders and customers could experience during redevelopment of outdoor market?

  6. In March last year £1.65m was approved by Council for continuing development and carrying out basic/urgent repairs. How much of that has been spent on repairs? How can putting off imminent work that has been so long outstanding be justified?
  7. Why has so little progress been made in putting in place a management which traders have trust in and are involved in? Surely this is the time to invest effort to establishing a means by which traders can have input on this development. We are not suggesting that a newly formed board that would immediately have decision making powers over the entire project; however, enabling traders to have a voice on issues like a fair and transparent re-selection process, or getting input on issues like the proposed removal of the wall on the outdoor market makes sense.

Here is the good news:

  1. The wall in the outside market is not coming down
  2. LCC agreed to take on board our point about protecting vulnerable people who use the market more in the vision statement
  3. The Manager agreed to put the project board minutes on website and improve communications

And here is the bad news:

  1. They clearly have not fulfilled their Public Sector employers Duty (PESD) as they just looked at current equality representation but did not measure the impact of their changes
  2. They could not clarify spend on improvements
  3. They did not know numbers of stalls moving and they were not clear on the process. There will be a reselection process when traders are moved from their stall but there was no detail on this. The Manager assured us that the criteria for re-selection would be “shared” with traders
  4. LCC confirmed that if stalls move to a new build stall rents will go up – but they had no idea of numbers or proportion of stalls this was likely to be – but they quote “there is no general policy to hike up rents”.
  5. The management board will not be in place until May 2014 when everything is done – and nobody can say what influence the management board will have in the future
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