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Why is Kirkgate Market as we know it under threat.

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Presentation on theme: "Why is Kirkgate Market as we know it under threat."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why is Kirkgate Market as we know it under threat

2 Some key facts about the Market It employs around 2,000 people directly but many more indirectly It has been making between £1m and £2m profit for the city council that gets re-investment across public services It is visited weekly by over 150,000 people It is one of the biggest Markets in Europe It is owned and managed by Leeds City Council It has the highest rents in the North and amongst the highest in England Many people that rely on the Market come from the poorest neighbourhoods in Leeds It is one of the few independent public spaces in the city

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4 A bit of history to explain how we got here…

5 1970s and the big fire In 1975 a huge fire destroyed a large part of the Market. In that area two new halls were built – the so-called 1976 and 1981 Source: Leodis

6 Late 1980s and the MAB development In the 1980s, Leeds City Council in partnership with Norwich Union and a developer called MAB proposed to build a massive shopping centre relegating the Market to a basement but there was a strong public and trader opposition and eventually the project was abandoned.

7 Disinvestment and high rents In the beginning of the 1990s there was some investment in renovating the top end of the Market (the 1904 Hall) but since then there has been a lack of investment and very little of the profit made from rents is reinvested in the upkeeping. There is now a big backlog of repairs. Leeds City Council abandoned the idea of the Market as a Public Service But at the same time rents went up in early 2000s and are at the moment the highest in England

8 New regeneration plans in late 2000s Demolition of 1976/1981 halls, 1930 shops Outdoor market disappears for a New building opportunity New Market Hall, maybe outdoor Private investors are brought in to develop offices and flats around the Market But all these plans collapsed with the arrival of the 2008 financial crisis

9 Eastgate development Plans have finally approved by Leeds City Council in Summer 2011 to build a massive shopping centre next to the Market by developer Hammerson There will be more than new 100 shops (the usual brands), a John Lewis and a M&S new store. Buses will have to be redirected along George St making the Market a traffic island The urgency to redevelop Kirkgate Market is clearly linked to making it more attractive to potential shoppers of this new shopping centre.

10 Traders and FOLKM campaign Summer 2009: Traders reach a critical and pass a vote of no confidence over Market manager Chris Sanderson. Autumn 2009: Series of meetings between traders and management that lead to Sanderson finally leaving but not replaced by new manager Sue Burgess until January 2011. April 2010: The Leeds branch of the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) presents their concerns to all councillors April 2010: Launch of Friends of Leeds Kirkgate Market and start of a petition to support the Market. December 2010: Start of an inquiry within the council about the lack of strategy for the Market in which NMTF and FOLKM are invited to be witnesses.

11 So…what is the Councils strategy? They say that nothing has been decided yet and that they are still looking into various options but we think that recent public declarations and documents from officers and politicians give sufficient clues…

12 The councils strategy for the Market - 1 Personally i think it is too big [the Market], if it was up to me Id make it slightly smaller, i think the old sheds which were built after the fire I think we should take some of them down But I think overall it would make it more effective, more concise and possibly one of the other options if we knocked down the bottom then we build a car park there next door to it Councillor Gerry Harper Market Champion speaking on BBC Radio Leeds on the 27 th of July 2011

13 The councils strategy for the Market - 2 Sue Burgess, Manager of Kirkgate Market said: privately owned markets have a number of advantages over local council run spaces (at a conference of the National Association of British Market Authorities)

14 The councils strategy for the Market – 3 The question has to be asked whether Kirkgate Market is actually the best place for people on low incomes to shop. Would low income families be better served through the discount and value sector ? (Towards a strategy for Kirkgate Market, Dec 2010 page 22) The Council wants to promote the market as Foodie destination of the North (July 2011 Draft Strategy for Market, page 258)

15 In July 2011 Leeds City Councils Executive Board (i.e. the bosses) decided: – move the management and ownership of Kirkgate Market to an arms length company; – determine the optimum size for the indoor and open markets, after taking expert advice, and determine the necessary steps to reach that size. The councils strategy for the Market – 4 To help the council make future decisions the Council hired for £12,000 Consultants QUARTERBRIDGE

16 The Quarterbridge report: to shrink and privatise the Market The Market should be reduced 25% (but no sound evidence to support that figure) 1976/1981 halls demolished, one rebuild and the outdoor moved in place of the other Land of the outdoor market released a redevelopment opportunity The new Market would have about 100 stalls There would be a process of trader re-selection, all traders would have to re-apply for their leases, go through an interview and present business plans The Markets management and ownership should be moved to a Limited Liability Partnership – a company – where there would be profit-oriented private investors and the council would have no political influence

17 The councils answer to the Quarterbridge report Agreed to reduce the market by 25% and start a feasibility study Explore options for moving management and ownership of Market to a commercial partnership (privatisation) Agreed to retain some of the profit that the Market makes for investment

18 What we think is wrong with this startegy

19 The councils myth The Market is too big There are too many empty units in the Market The 1976/1981 are temporary halls beyond economic repair and need demolishing The reality Too big for what? For whom? They have recently approved plans for a much bigger shopping centre next door! This is to do with high rents, lack of promotion and investment, erratic lettings policy and recession not with the fact that Market is too big We have seen documents commissioned by the council about the condition of these buildings and found no evidence for this

20 The councils myth No decisions have been made yet – waiting for reports and consultations Management and ownership of the Market by a private company will be more efficient There is no money for the Council to invest in the redevelopment of the Market so must find a private investor The reality See previous statements by Cllor Harper and strategy documents But will erode the social function of the market and take profits away But why does the Market need a complete overhaul? And borrowing against the profit of the Market would give the council enough money to do the necessary improvements

21 Our vision

22 A Public Market owned by the People Stop current plans Rent reduction to help traders invest in their stalls and bring new traders Borrow against the Markets annual profit to repair and invest in the existing buildings Create an elected management board to run the Market as a public trust with places reserved for traders and councillors. Treat the Market as a community resource that generates wealth for all across Leeds

23 What next? Council officers are working on a feasibility study about the size of the Market and options for management and ownership options which will be presented on the 5 th of September 2012 to the Executive Board. We have 6 months to let the Council know that we dont agree with this plan Our next meeting is 22 nd of May @6pm Victoria Pub (Great George St)

24 How? Lobby your councillor or candidates – send them our pledge Write to local paper Join FOLKM Demonstrate Trader organised rent campaign Gather evidence showing the negative impacts of this plan Tell everybody in Leeds about these plans Organise actions that show the publics opposition to these plans


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