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An Excellent Letter in the YEP

January 14, 2014

The Yorkshire Evening Post recetly printed this supportive letter from Mike Harwood

Regarding ‘Councillors Lash Out at Kirkgate Market Lobbyists’ (yep, December 20)

Councillors Dobson and Lewis should show a little more circumspection and respect in relation to the valiant and honest campaign of the Friends of Kirkgate Market. Convincing discourse rather than cheap sneering would be more acceptable from our elected representatives.

It is arguable that the failure of the council to give proper financial, etc, support to the market for years in the past is at least in part responsible for its present difficult situation. It is also possible that some of us out here do not particularly trust the council and its ambitions. Whether the stance of the Friends is, as Councillor Lewis would like us to believe, ‘negative’, depends of course on whether the view of the council can properly be seen as positive – and that is open to debate.

It is perhaps significant that the opening paragraph of your report, echoing the council’s words, refers to the Friends as “a ‘stumbling block’ to the much anticipated redevelopment of the historic shopping hub.” We already have the Trinity hub (we also have the Core in the Headrow which seems rather to have been forgotten).

We are going to have what now has to be called the Victoria Gate hub. No longer is it ‘shopping arcades’; now it is ‘shopping hubs’. As Victoria Jaquiss warns in your letters pages, Leeds is becoming ‘a centre of shopping centres’. A sequence of hubs joined by…by what? And this is what worries me, where in the intent (never mind the tongue) of the council does Kirkgate Market fit into this? If, as the above quote implies, it is being seen as just part of yet another hub, to be fitted into the plans of yet another grandiose developer/hubster, then I am worried.

Kirkgate Market is not just another shopping unit, part of some bigger shopping unit. It is part of our living culture (not to mention a lifeline for those who need cheap food to survive).

Mike Harwood, De Lacy Mount, Kirkstall

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