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Kirkgate Market redevelopment decision: rubberstamped without debate

March 15, 2013

ONE week after we were allowed to srubberstamp2ee what the city leaders have in store for Kirkgate Market – after much positive spin on their part and many attempts by traders and members of the public to get some basic questions answered (for example – how many  traders will be given eviction notices – and how many of these would even be able to move into another area of the market) the Executive Board gathered to debate this important issue.

The meeting room in the Civic Hall was packed with officers on standby to answer any questions which councillors might have – ready to justify all the work they’d put into delivering the hundreds of pages of documents to back up proposals.  At previous council meetings – whether it has been scrutiny, executive board or at plans panel the topic of the market has always provoked controversy and questions, especially when it has been the subject of debate in the local media. We have also seen the room packed with so many members of the public that people have been sitting on the floor – or the meeting has come to a halt and the whole thing moved to a bigger room so that everyone who wants to exercise their right to attend these meetings can fit in.

Not so on Wednesday.

Members of Friends of Leeds Kirkgte Market who had turned up were shut out of the meeting because there wasn’t enough room! Those who did get in were shocked at the most blatant example of rubber stamping we’ve seen! Item 9 Kirkgate Market was introduced and all recommendations approved within about ten minutes. The remarkably unpopular duo, market “manager” Sue Burgess and market “champion” Coun Gerry Harper were singled out for praise and congratulations for her work and the report was hailed as a great success – answering all the markets problems. No questions were addressed – opposition councilllors Carter and Galton apparently raised the issue of getting the management board right and ‘dealing with the issue of leases’ but THAT’S IT! Ten minutes and a round of back slapping and it was over. You can read the “minimalistic” minutes here

The council have given themselves a year to get rid of traders in the 76 hall and to force all of the butchers onto less secure leases with none of the rights they have at the moment.  Keep talking to traders you know and buy from regularly, ask them what they are planning to do and let them know that we, their customers and the wider public in Leeds and beyond are here to support them.

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