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Public meeting great success. Read what happened

April 19, 2012

Our public meeting “Hands off the People’s Market” on the 17th of April was success. More than hundred people turned up To Trinity Chuch. Mainly members of the public, traders and some councilors or candidates for the next local elections.

There were presentations from FOLKM, civic trust and traders and lots of comments from the public. There was also a fantastic cake in the shape of the Market and traders, campaigners and members of the public shared tea, coffee and cake after the talks.

The message of the night was clear: The council has neglected the Market but the people of Leeds won’t let their Market decline. We want a People’s market, managed democratically with affordable rents for traders, so that it can carry on being a resource for everyone in Leeds and beyond, specially those in lower incomes.

Sara Gonzalez from FOLKM explained why the Market as we know it is under threat putting into historical context the current plans to make the Market smaller and transfer its management and ownership to a public private partnership. This presentation can be see here. Jim Brettell from the Civic Trust planning committee called for the people of Leeds to launch a campaign as big as the one which saw the 1980s MAB project (that would have seen the Market relegated to the ground floor of a shopping centre) overturned by public opposition. Michelle Hocken, vice-chair of the Leeds branch of the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) gave a personal view as a trader whose family has traded in the 1976 hall for decades. Liz Laughton, Chair of the Leeds branch of the NMTF spoke about her joy of living her life in the Market and the sadness of seeing the Council mismanaging it. Her speech can be read here. Finally Julie Badon from FOLKM gave an update of what the campaign has been doing since it was launched at the same place two years earlier. There were then contributions for the public and tea, coffee and cake to finish the meeting.

FOLKM launched a pledge for all councillors and candidates to sign to defend the market and three candidates signed the pledge. We will be publishing the pledge and candidates and councillors addresses for everybody to send to their councillors.

The meeting was videoed and can be used to constructively understand the public and trader views.

The meeting was well covered by local and national media. Read about it YEP, Guardian Northerner and BBC

Our next meeting will be at the Victoria Pub (behind Town Hall), 22nd of May at 6pm to plan what to do next.

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