RENTS at Leeds’s historic Kirkgate market are to be slashed by a fifth ahead of a £12m refurbishment of the building.
A major upgrade of the historic market, spearheaded by Leeds City Council, gets underway in early 2015.
The 20 per cent rent reduction for traders, which is yet to be rubber-stamped by the council’s cabinet, could kick in from October and would last a year.
In recent months, relations between stallholders and the council have been strained amid uncertainty about disruption during the refurbishment period and the future of the market after the arrival of the Victoria Gate development.
Councillor Richard Lewis, the council’s executive member for transport and economy, said: “While this is one of the most exciting developments at Kirkgate Market for many years, we know it’s going to be a challenge.
“As well as being about the refurbishment of a much loved Leeds landmark, it’s also about people and their livelihoods and the long-term commercial success of the market.
“We’re determined to find the right balance that allows businesses to trade while working on the fabric of the building.
“We’re listening to traders’ concerns, and that is why we’re proposing a year-long cut to rents.”
Also being planned is a temporary closure of the fish and game row area to allow for some initial work. The council is offering affected traders alternative space for three months in refurbished empty market units on the existing Butchers’ Row.