Future of city market still to be decided

THE future of Leeds Kirkgate Market’s “temporary sheds” erected after a fire over 30 years ago remains in doubt as the public are being urged to have their say over proposed changes to the market.

Council bosses have launched the latest phase of consultations that will help shape the historic market’s future. Earlier this year, Leeds Council asked the public how the market could be improved and more than 3,000 people responded.

Using the views put forward, the council and its consultants have produced a feasibility study listing 12 possible ways the market could be improved. It suggests the 1976 and 1981 halls could be completely re-roofed or demolished if it was decided to make the market smaller.

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Other ideas include creating a focal point where events, performances and displays could be held, making it easier for people to find their way around the market, creating zones which would group stalls such as fish, game and butchers into one location, better heating and cooling systems and improvements to George Street.

The market currently makes enough profit to fund investment of between £4m and £7m. The council’s study says all the issues could not be tackled “in one go” and people are being asked which improvements should have priority.

Options for how the market could be managed include the council going it alone or working with a private sector partner; a management board including the authority’s representatives, traders, the public and an independent representative with commercial experience; an arm’s-length management organisation established by the council; or a social enterprise run by the traders.

The consultation ends on December 14 and a report setting out proposals will be presented to the council’s executive board early next year. Consultation forms are available from the market, libraries, one-stop shops or by visiting www.leedsmarkets.co.uk/strategy.