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No to Privatisation Plans for Our Market

January 14, 2012

The report on the future of the market has finally been published – eight weeks after consultants were parachuted in by the council (Quarterbridge win Council Contract) with instructions to set out plans to reduce the size of the market and privatise it.

To read the full report click here

The report clearly proposes privatisation of the market. In a move very similar to the Corn Exchange fiasco the council would lease out the market for more than 99 years to a limited liability partnership and would therefore lose any power to influence the way that its run.

The market would then become a profit making machine for private investors who would only be interested in getting back the money they have invested in the refurbishment.

Reading between the lines of this hastily written report it’s clear that Quarterbridge, who make their money out of this form of refurbishment and rebranding, are proposing a uniform look – (complete with uniforms for traders) that will turn our market into a novelty supermarket.

At the moment the Market makes a profit that is reinvested across other public services in Leeds benefiting all residents. With these proposals most of this profit would now be pocketed by distant shareholders and public services would suffer.

There is a proposal to get rid of the outdoor market altogether in order to “release” the site for an “anchor attraction”. A small selection of outdoor market traders will then be given the option to move indoors. The report then talks about ‘decanting’ traders, serving notice on existing tenants and before carrying out a reselection process to fit in with the new look market. One thing is crystal clear – there will not be room for all existing traders in the new market.

This report will be discussed at Leeds City Council’s Scrutiny Board Meeting on Tuesday January 17th at 10am – Scrutiny Board documents. Show your support for traders and let councillors know how much the market means to you by attending or writing to members of the scrutiny board.

Councillor Bernard Atha CBE
Councillor Dawn Collins
Councillor Penny Ewens
Councillor Janet Harper
Councillor Ghulam Hussain
Councillor Mohammed Iqbal
Councillor Katherine Mitchell
Councillor Thomas Murray
Councillor John Procter  (Chair)
Councillor Ralph Pryke
Councillor Gerald Wilkinson

Keep checking the website for further details about the report and actions and events that we will be organising.

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