8 Days to Object to the Eastgate Quarter planning application
Please take urgent action to defend Kirkgate Market from a proposed retail development – deadline for objections is Thursday 28 April.
Property developer Hammerson has recently (16 March, 2011) made a new outline planning application to redevelop the Eastgate area of the city centre as yet another privatised shopping mall. Sadly, we believe it poses a major threat to the future of Leeds Kirkgate Market. Hammerson wants to demolish most of Eastgate and its unique built heritage – including most of the Eastgate Terraces and the Lyons Works Factory – and in its place build a giant shopping quarter with some 130 new retail units that will include shops, restaurants and bars, and two large anchor superstores, John Lewis and Marks and Spencer.
This development that could fatally undermine the Market – and its existing businesses and traders – if it is allowed to go ahead. Here’s why:
1. Traffic chaos – by pedestrianising all roads in the Eastgate Quarter, much of the existing traffic will be re-routed to travel around the Market, turning it into a very congested and polluted traffic island. George Street, which runs along the Northern edge of the market, will not only become a major bus corridor hosting at least 75 buses an hour, but also a key servicing and customer pick-up area for the proposed John Lewis store. The resulting traffic will act as a major blockage to Market customers and will turn the Markets area into a more polluted, unsafe and unattractive environment.
2. Car parking and trader servicing – the Market will lose the benefit of the 400 space short-stay car park on George Street right next door, which will be relocated to a new multi-storey car park some 500 metres from the Market, representing a 1km round-trip and a major drawback for potential customers. The York Street NCP car park is a rip-off, charging a minimum of £5. George Street is also one of the traders’ key servicing points but they will be negatively affected by the changes to public transport and the competition for loading bays from the new retailers in the Eastgate Quarter.
3. Heritage undermined– the Market’s beautiful and unique architectural heritage embodied in the Grade 1 Listed top part will not be preserved and enhanced by the Eastgate Quarter; instead, it will be over-shadowed by a John Lewis store up to 68 metres towering over the market, and subjected to increased levels of destructive emissions.
4. Poor connectivity – although the developer claims that Eastgate will “encourage pedestrian linkages between this part of the city centre to Kirkgate Market”, the proposed design will effectively shut pedestrians off from much of the Markets area. George Street will be dominated by moving vehicles and the Markets will be visually impaired by the height of the Eastgate development buildings, the lack of straight visual lines and the double decker buses that will be permanently in front of the Markets.
5. Construction disruption – the Market will be literally right next door to a building site for at least 42 months – some 1092 shopping days – meaning dirt, dust, noise, construction vehicles, the closure of the neighbouring George St car park and road closures that will severely disrupt both traders and customers.
6. Ruinous and unfair competition – putting 130 new retail units right next door to the Markets, including rival food halls in the new John Lewis – which will be directly opposite the Markets – and the new Marks and Spencer, will undoubtedly harm many of the Markets’ existing businesses and stalls. This will be corporate retail business and modern facilities unfairly competing with small independent businesses struggling to survive in a deteriorating Market infrastructure that is being continually denied investment from its Council owner.
Take Action Now!
We need all supporters of Leeds Kirkgate Market to object to the Eastgate scheme in order to put pressure on the Council to force major changes to the scheme’s current poor design. Here’s what you need to do in order of priority:
1. Send a letter of objection to Leeds City Council by 28th April 2011. We have produced a public objection letter rhat you can either send as your own or personalise as you see fit but please send something by the 28th April! We are happy to advise anyone who wants to object and to help you to do so, so email (email@example.com) or ring us (07737117242). You can either submit your comments online here (you will need to create a user account first), or post / hand deliver a letter to the following person:
Planning Services, The Leonardo Building,
2 Rossington Street, LEEDS, LS2 8HD
Rather than an angry letter, a well-structured letter using key points and references to planning policy is more effective.
2. Contact your local councillors and MP to express your opposition to the Eastgate scheme and tell them why. You can find out who your councillors and MP are by searching here.
3. Contact the Councillors who are currently on the Planning Applications Panel that will eventually consider the Eastgate development and decide whether or not to give it planning permission. These are:
- Brian Selby (Chair) (Labour), Tel: (0113) 269 5102, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- David Blackburn (Green), Tel: (0113) 279 0336, email: Cllr.email@example.com
- Chris Campbell (Lib Dem), Tel: (01943) 465909, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Geoff Driver (Labour), Tel: (0113) 278 5995; email: email@example.com
- Martin Hamilton (Lib Dem), Tel: (0113) 257 0196, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sharon Hamilton (Labour), Tel: (0113) 247 4578; Mobile: 07950 057 877
- Graham Latty (Conservative), Tel: (0113) 250 5776, email: email@example.com
- James Monaghan (Lib Dem), Tel: (0113) 247 4580, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Elizabeth Nash (Labour), Tel: (0113) 275 8594, email: email@example.com
- Neil Taggart (Labour), Tel: (0113) 816 0134, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rod Wood (Conservative), Tel: (0113) 3952802, email: email@example.com