Leeds market future still hangs in balance

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

Council bosses today launched the latest phase of public consultation that will help shape the historic market’s future.

Earlier this year the council asked people how the market could be improved and over 3,000 people responded.

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Using the view 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.

Other ideas listed 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 issue could not be tackled “in one go” and people are being asked which improvements should have priority.

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Options for how the market could be managed are also set out an include the council doing it alone or working with a private sector partner, a management board including council representatives, traders, the public and an independent representative with commercial experience, an arms-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 visit www.leedsmarkets.co.uk/strategy.