Leeds & West Yorkshire

Parts of Kirkgate Market in Leeds 'could close'

Butcher at Kirkgate market
Image caption A report considering Kirkgate's future will be presented to Leeds City Council on 17 May

Parts of Kirkgate Market in Leeds could be closed down to help secure its future, according to a draft report being considered by Leeds City Council.

The suggestion is one of a number made by the council's scrutiny board as part of an inquiry into the future of the 150-year-old market.

The draft report also suggests a "thorough review" of the discounts and rents available to market traders.

The report will be considered by the council's executive board on 17 May.

Councillor John Procter, scrutiny board chairman, said closing parts of the market remained an option.

"The reason for that is simply because of the number of voids [empty units] there," he said.

"People's businesses are being detrimentally affected because of that.

"But at this stage it is a suggestion not a proposal."

'Noose around neck'

Michelle Hocken, who runs a seafood stall in part of the market which could be affected, said she was afraid the report could lead to uncertainty.

"It stops investment by traders and causes problems with suppliers," she said.

"I feel they have just put a noose around our neck."

Other recommendations contained in the draft report include the creation of a management committee chaired by a Kirkgate market trader, and increased promotion of the market to attract new customers.

Liz Laughton, from the Kirkgate branch of the National Market Traders' Federation, said the market had been run for too long without direction.

"How can you operate without a short, medium or long-term strategy? There is no focus," she said.

Councillor Procter said he hoped the draft report would win the approval of the majority of businesses at Kirkgate.

"We want to see the traders very much in the driving seat," he said.

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