Leeds City Council is proposing a major redevelopment and refurbishment programme worth £12.3 million for Kirkgate Market, which will secure its long term future. Extensive consultation has taken place in drawing up the redevelopment proposals, with over 5,000 responses received from members of the public, shoppers, traders and other interested parties. This section answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the proposals but if you want further information or have a more specific question you want to ask, email: email@example.com
Q: What happens now?
The proposed redevelopment and refurbishment of Kirkgate Market was approved by the council’s executive board on 13 March 2013. We will get on with ‘fixing the basics’ at the earliest opportunity, appoint consultants to work up detailed plans and designs and look at alternative management arrangements to guide the marketrs trhough a period that is going to involve considerable change.
Q: How long will it take?
Our ambition is to be ready and refurbished by 2016, to coincide with completion of the first phase of the Eastgate Quarters development, which includes the new John Lewis store.
Q: When will work start?
Work will start as soon as possible on the ‘fixing the basics’. Consultants will then be appointed to work up detailed plans and designs for the refurbishment and we will get on with appointing a contractor to do the roof of the 1976/1981 halls. During this time we will talk to businesses about how the redevelopment will affect them. However, it is unlikely that the main redevelopment and refurbishment programme will start until 2014; so, traders can be reassured that there will be no major disruption before then.
Q: What will happen to traders in the 1976 building?
The council will work closely with traders to minimise the impact on traders’ businesses by, for example, decants and relocation to other parts of the market. The largest section of the 1976 hall, which has the most vacancies in it, will be converted into a daily covered market. This means removal of the stalls in this part of the market. We will of course talk to traders about their options, including relocation. We want to retain strong businesses, maintain and extend the variety of products currently being sold at the markets. All businesses that wish to, will be able to reapply for a tenancy. However, we recognise that some tents may choose to retire from the market and compensation will be available, where applicable. We are missing a daily covered market in Leeds, which would enable us to expand the range of products being sold and offer a different platform for people who want to try out trading on a market stall but do not want to take a permanent unit.
Q: How will butchers be affected – will all be moved?
As part of creating a number of new zones in the market, it is proposed that the butchers are moved adjacent to the fish and game row. This has proved to work in other markets in the UK and abroad, and will create a strong, visually attractive ‘destination’ for customers. The intention is to create a distinctive zone within the markets rather than a single aisle and we therefore envisage that we will be able to accommodate everyone who wants to continue trading in the market.
Q: Will there be further refurbishment down the new fish/butcher aisle?
Butchers row has not seen investment for a number of years and the move gives us the opportunity to create new, fit for purpose units. Therefore, the new zone will see an ‘uplift’ and this will benefit both the meat and fish traders, and draw customers to the surrounding areas too.
Q: How does the £12 million investment break down?
The work that NPS has done has been very detailed but, because we have only completed it to feasibility stage, costings are based on an industry standard for construction costs. This will be firmed up as we move to the detailed plan. Each element of the development is interlinked with others; so, it would be wrong to separate out the costs for each individual element as you would not do the work this way. As we move forward with the design, we will have a much more detailed picture of the scheduling of works so we will know the costs for each stage at that time, rather than each element. Because we are not at that stage yet, the costings have been done to allow for a variation either way – so what we do know is it should not cost more than £12 million.
Q: Why spend so much money to get to this point? Isn’t it a bit of a waste?
Technical surveys and other building surveys, plus the expertise of the NPS team have been needed to get to this point. The work carried out to date will be invaluable in developing more detailed plans, so money has certainly not been wasted. There have been a number of options presented through the reports we have seen in the last 18 months and all have been taken into consideration. We have listened to what people have said to us in the extensive consultation process and this has informed the redevelopment and refurbishment proposals, which will secure the future of the market for another generation.
Q: What will we do first?
‘Fixing the basics’ will be the first piece of work to be carried out. We can get on with works to bring the market up to modern standards which will cause little disruption to trade. Whilst we are doing this we will be working on appointing the contractor to recover the roof of the 1976 and 1981 halls.
Q: So how much will that bit cost and how long will it take?
In the executive board report we have asked for permission to spend up to £0.75 million in the first year (up to March 2014).
Q: Why is the George Street project separate?
We want to create a new and attractive frontage to this side of the market, which improves the prospects for our traders by drawing in new customers from the neighbouring John Lewis and the Eastgate Quarters development, as well as making the market a more attractive place to shop for our existing loyal customers. We have decided to include George Street as a separate project as there may be an opportunity to fund the redevelopment in partnership with investment from a private sector developer. This means that the markets income is not being used to develop this, and can be concentrated on improvements to the interior and the Open Market. There is still more work to be done especially on the design of the frontage to make sure it is in keeping with the historic market buildings and the quality of the new John Lewis store opposite.
Q: Have you spoken to any developers yet?
The council works with a considerable number of developers on a regular basis. This allowed us to take soundings as to what might make a viable scheme for George Street.
Q: How much disruption will the works cause to both traders and shoppers?
With such a large scale development in an existing retail centre there is bound to be some disruption. The council will be working with traders to minimise this impact We will ensure plenty of notice is given to both traders and customers before work is undertaken. Work will begin at the earliest opportunity on ‘fixing the basics’ but there will be no major disruption before 2014. The market will not close during the redevelopment – it will remain open throughout.
Q: How can you fund £12 million when council is cutting elsewhere?
The £12.3 million is in the form of a long term loan at advantageous rates available to the council – so the council does not have to outlay any money from its coffers. The borrowing will be paid back from the trading surplus which the market makes each year and this will improve further following development.
Q: So will rents go up as a result?
Rents are set independently by the valuation office. The Council has chosen not to put them up for the last five years and there is no intention to increase them at this stage.
Q: How much of this is influenced by the Eastgate Quarters development?
There is a unique opportunity to increase customer numbers and spending in the market by attracting some of the 10 million to 15 million customers that will visit the Eastgate Quarters development when it opens and we want Kirkgate Market to be an attractive shopping destination so our traders can take advantage of this. We know the market itself needs work done to bring it up to a modem standard. Therefore we are concentrating the improvement programme on the interior of the market and improving its layout, signage etc. We will look at the George St frontage as a separate project – as this will directly face the new development, but this will not be funded by the Markets.
Q: How will the redevelopment programme be managed?
The redevelopment programme will be managed by a design team appointed by Leeds City Council, which will report thorugh a project board to the council. Various options have been considered to guide the markets through this period as it will involve considerable change. From the consultation, the top public preference for future management of the market was that people wanted traders to have more of a say and that the market should stay in council control. The council’s Executive Board has therefore agreed in principle that alternative management arrangements will be put in place and this could include councillors, traders and independent representatives. This would provide stability during the redevelopment, keep the market within the council’s decision making structures and give a strong advisory and influencing role to traders. More detailed proposal will be considered by the council’s Executive Board in the months ahead.
Q: Why aren’t you getting rid of the 1976 and 1981 halls?
From the feedback we received, reducing the size of the market was not something traders or the public wanted to see. Instead we have concentrated on the aspects which came out as the most important to people such as fixing the basics, improving the trading floor and better signage. The daily covered market will add an extra dimension to our offer and works very well at other markets across the UK and abroad.
Q: Why don’t you just reduce the rents, particularly as you are going to cause disruption?
It is not as simple as reducing the rents. The rents for the market are set by an independent valuation company. We have held rents for a number of years to help traders through the tough economic times, but it does not make sense to reduce them, as this means we would have even less money to spend and the market could become unviable. The market needs work to be undertaken on it – not just the fixing the basics, but also ensuring improving the trading floor to attract new customers and ensure they can find their way around easily, and that the layout works better. We will do everything we can to minimise disruption and work with traders, and are committed to ensure the market remains open and trading throughout the redevelopment stages.
Q: Isn't this a gentrification project that will push out existing traders and not serve low incomes?
That is not the case. We have listened to what people have said from our extensive consultation work and have fed this into the recommendations in the executive board report. We hope that some new, quality businesses will be interested in coming to the market as a result of our investment, but even without development the types of businesses trading in the market change all the time to reflect shopping trends. The redevelopment is not aimed at gentrifying the market in any way. It is about securing the long-term future of the market for the next 30 years, and we will always continue to provide affordable food and goods for people on low incomes. We want to make sure the market remains open and accessible for all. We want strong businesses, which offer quality, variety and good value for customers from all walks of life. The open market will continue to trade throughout and after the redevelopment and the daily covered market will provide the opportunity to bring new traders into the market and extend the diversity and range of products that are sold. this.