Leeds Market traders hit by car park closure

Rob Depledge Traders claim the car park closure has resulted in a significant drop in takings

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Market traders in Leeds have claimed their takings have fallen by about 40% since April due to the closure of a nearby car park.

In a BBC survey, 143 of 160 stallholders at Kirkgate market said they had seen a significant drop since April.

The Union Street car park closed on 5 April to make way for the £150m Victoria Gate retail development.

Leeds City Council said it was working to deliver new parking for the market.

'Very bleak'

Rob Depledge, who runs a delicatessen, claimed in one week he had lost more than £2,000.

"Trade at the moment is absolute rock bottom," he said.

"It is very very bleak and if it continues I won't be able to continue after Christmas."

Demolition work Work on the new Victoria Gate development will not be finished until 2016

Stallholders who responded to the BBC survey were asked if they had seen a significant change in turnover and what percentage it had fallen or risen by?

Alternative parking

They were also asked what they thought the cause of any change was - 90% blamed the closure of Union Street car park.

The council-owned car park's closure represents a loss of around a third of the available parking spaces in the market area.

Nabni Singh, who runs Phone Empire in the market, said: "All the other car parks are very expensive so this was the one most used by our customers."

The Victoria Gate development will have a John Lewis store along with 30 other shops and an 800-space multi-storey car park but it will not be completed until 2016.

Leeds City Council acknowledged the development would have a short-term impact but said it was working with traders to provide alternative parking and travel options.

It also said it was planning a £12m refurbishment of the market.

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