What the Council really wants to do to the Market
In our last post, we brought the news that the Council’s long awaited “strategy” for investing in Kirkgate Market has been unveiled. Only it wasn’t a strategy for investment, it was a strategy for how to get rid of 100s of traders by massively reducing the size of the Market and making it more “upmarket”. Here it is from the horses’ mouths, exactly what the Council thinks about the future of the Market.
Councillor Gerry Harper, whose official role is “Market champion” , said the following on BBC Radio Leeds on 27th July around 5.30pm on the Andrew Edwards show.
Personally i think it is too big [the Market], if it was up to me I’d make it slightly smaller, i think the old sheds which were built after the fire I think we should take some of them down.
But I think overall it would make it more effective, more concise and possibly one of the other options if we knocked down the bottom then we build a car park there next door to it.
Note: as there are only two halls or sheds built after the fire, the 1976 and the 1981, the “some” can only mean both. The recent “strategy” that was presented at Executive Board argued that repairing these two halls would be too expensive (although as far as we can see the figures don’t add up) so the proposal seems to be to demolish them. Looking at the map of the Market below one can clearly see that “knocking down” the 1976/1981 halls would mean reducing the size of the Market by more than half and displacing about half of the traders at the moment.
Councillor Mark Dobson (ex-Market “champion”) is quoted on the YEP saying:
The question is, is it going to survive in its present form? I would suggest perhaps not
a Report by council officers giving the “evidence base” for the Market strategy asks (You can find it here Towards a Strategy for Kirkgate Market, page 22).
The question has to be asked whether Kirkgate Market is actually the best place for people on low incomes to shop. Would low income families be better served through the discount and value sector ?
We think that the quotes speak for themselves