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Great letter to the YEP by a Leeds citizen. Let’s all get writing letters!

May 8, 2012

Here is an excellent letter written to the Yorkshire Evening Post by Mike Harwood on the 4th of May. This is one easy way in which we can all contribute to communicate our feelings about the Market and support it. Here is the email address to write to the YEP:

Letter: Critical test for our new city authority

Published on Friday 4 May 2012 10:35

BY today, I assume, the Labour Party will be in control of Leeds Council with a larger majority.

To me, one of the tests, perhaps the central test of their stewardship (and that is what they are, stewards, no more; Leeds belongs to its people, not the politicians, far less to would-be profiteers), will be what they do about Kirkgate Market. They can rescue it or they can destroy it.

If they adopt the so-called Quarterbridge plan, that will, in effect, destroy it; that is if they close the outdoor market, reduce the overall size by 25 per cent and, most destructive of all, hand it over to a private operator.

Kirkgate Market is the living descendant of the bustling markets of Chaucer’s 14th century – life around ‘Southwerk at the Tabard’; the life of the local people, the traders, the pilgrims and travellers. It is the life bustling around Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in Southwark, in the early 17th century – all now without the open sewers, one is happy to add.

But our Kirkgate Market is not just a dead civic monument to that tradition, to be destroyed and dismissed with a blue plaque; that tradition still being lived and created, alive and kicking (if it is not kicked to death by the social vandals).

When I needed a bottle of kirsch for my daughter’s birthday cake, it was in the Market (and only in the Market), that I could find it. When she needed materials for her needlework at school, there was a market stall with the answer.

The Market is multicultural in what it sells and in those who move up and down its aisles – and that in itself is beautiful.

And if you need to save money (I do not of course address myself to the bankers here) then get your vegetables in the outdoor market. At a rough guess they will cost you less than half the price at…you know where I mean. Last week I bought a huge bag of onions, firm and healthy, for £1 – enough, with perhaps just a little exaggeration, to give my whole street a good cry.

To me, not only do we love the Market, we need the Market. Please, let it be given the transfusion to which it is entitled; let it be saved, not handed over to the vandals and bodysntachers. Let the politicians show respect.

Mike Harwood, by email

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