A message from markets manager Sue Burgess about proposals to redevelop Kirkgate Market, which have now been approved by the council.
Today is the beginning of a new change for the historic Kirkgate Market. The Council has approved over £12m upgrades and development for the site, which will ensure it continues to occupy its unique place in the life of the city for a long time to come.
The money will be spent on improving the interior, creating a better layout with a proper events space, better lighting and signage, and new routes through the Market helping people find their way around and drawing in a new audience of shoppers and visitors.
A separate scheme, not funded by the Markets, will see the somewhat ‘tired’ George St frontage changed to smart new shop units at ground floor level which open both ways to improve access to the Market for the millions of new customers who will pass through our neighbouring Eastgate Quarters. Above these may be flats. How all this looks will be carefully controlled to make sure it fits with the Grade I listed Market building.
New for Kirkgate Market will be a daily covered market, something we noticed many other markets offer. This will provide an extra opportunity for businesses to start up and trade at low risk. We don’t see this as ‘competition’ for the Open Market which will definitely stay-but a chance for different trades to join us with new products.
Another major change will be to bring together Butchers Row and Fish & Game Row to create a really strong ‘destination’ in the Market. Butchers Row is a very important part of our offer but the shop units are outdated and don’t encourage businesses to expand. Bringing both together gives us an opportunity to ‘level the playing field’ and provide modern, fit for purpose butchers units.
There will be disruption and upheaval for us to achieve all of this over the next 4 years or so, but we are determined the Market will remain open throughout. We expect that not all businesses will see themselves in the Market in the future, but we will be talking to each and every one about all the options available to them.
The Council has agreed to our recommendation for a new Management Board, which will be a strong voice and influence for the Market, and will significantly improve traders say in decisions about the Market. We’ll do more work on this now, and expect to have things in place before the end of the year.
In summary, I truly believe these are practical, affordable and do-able changes.
Thinking back to 2011 and the Quarterbridge report suggesting a 25% reduction in the Market and a public-private partnership to run it- the Council really listened to the views of over 5000 people who’ve told us what they want to see!
-No reduction in size
-More say for the traders
-Stay in Leeds City Council control
-Development funded from the Markets ring-fenced surplus