Lobby the Council for Market traders to be involved in management – Wednesday 8th of May 5.30- Come to support your Market
All councillors will debate how best to manage Kirkgate Market so that traders and customers benefit while still making a profit for the council. This will be on the 8th of May Leeds City Council Full Council meeting at around 6pm (this is a rescheduled debate as the 17th of April Full Council was cancelled due to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral). All 99 councillors are likely to attend and debate in earnest what is the right management for the market to get it thriving as we would wish. FOLKM are going to lobby before the event and involve the media it. It is a public meeting to which members of the public can attend.
We are asking everybody to gather at 5.30pm at the Civic Hall – side entrance for a public demonstration of support to the Market and to then attend the Full Council meeting for the Kirkgate Market discussion expected at 6pm. We would welcome as many people attending as possible.
You can also write to your councillor (find them here) to ask them to support the Market at this debate (see below for the specifics of what will be discussed).
3 weeks ago we reported on how the decision around a new redevelopment plan for Kirkgate Market that was taken in March was brought back to discussion after representations from traders, FOLKM and letters from many members of the public to councillors. On the 3rd of April the Sustainable Economy and Culture Scrutiny Board at Leeds City Council held a session to discuss whether to ask the Executive Board to review the controversial plans that would see potentially hundreds of traders displaced and/or lose their tenant rights as well as see higher rents in a redeveloped Market. FOLKM presented their arguments against the proposed plan (read here). As it was expected all but one of the Labour councillors voted to keep the decision despite the clear disturbing picture that emerged at the meeting of the broken relationships between traders and management, allegations of mismanagement, and lack of meaningful consultation. But all was not lost: the Scrutiny Board recommended the Executive Board to consider (see minutes here):
- That the right to assign leases be maintained for all new lease holders;
- That under whatever alternative Leeds City Council management model is adopted the urgent need to address the perceived negative and sometimes confrontational nature of the relationship between management and traders; and
- The need to reassess consultation methods and opportunities as the principles identified in the Executive Board report are progressed with the objective of ensuring greater ‘buy in’ and involvement of traders.
These recommendations are now being followed up by the Conservative Party in a white paper that they have submitted for discussion for the next Full Council on the 8th of May. This white paper asks for new redevelopment proposals that offer:
o a mutually agreed model of market management which ensures a fairer relationship with traders and their representatives,
o provision to guarantee traders the ability to assign their leases and
o a commitment to genuinely heal the rifts that have developed in the past and still exist.
This white paper still does not address the issue of high rents and potentially higher rents in the new redeveloped Market and the essential social function of the Market but it tries to tackle the problems of management.