Shoppers at Leeds Kirkgate Market will soon be able be able to discover a new shopping experience when the first phase of the refurbishment work opens to the public next week.
As part of a multimillion pound investment to modernise and future-proof the building two new areas of the market will open for trading from Tuesday 31 May. Due to the nature of the market it will be a staged opening to allow each trader to move to their new location when they are ready to do so.
Leeds City Council has invested over £13 million in a major refurbishment of the market, to make sure the building is fit for the future as well as offering a new shopping and leisure experience. The redevelopment includes redesigning the layout and offering everything today’s shopper might expect – bright spacious fresh food areas, space for speciality markets, a dedicated events space and a place to meet friends, sample cuisines from around the world and make use of the free Wi-Fi.
These smart new spaces will sit alongside the stunning architecture and traditional market layout of the Victorian and Edwardian halls.
The new fully equipped event space, with 8 metre LED screen, is being opened in time for the Handmade in Yorkshire, part of the Leeds Food and Drink Festival, which will be held at Kirkgate on Saturday 4 June.
For the first time in its history, the market is bringing together meat, fish, game and other fresh food produce in one area. The existing well-known fishmongers, butchers, seafood stalls and greengrocers will move to the new area and will be joined by some new traders as well, including a Halal butcher which will be another first for Kirkgate Market.
The council has invested in creating a market which is fit for the future which means that much of the work has been background maintenance so may not be obvious to the untrained eye.
There will be some ongoing disruption whilst work is completed on the roof, which was not able to be carried out during the winter months. The final stages of the building works inside the market and across the road at Victoria Gate may also cause some disruption however it was agreed to open these new areas as soon as possible to help traders.
Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for regeneration, transport and planning said:
“We are very grateful to the traders and existing customers for their continuing support whilst the works have been taking place. We were keen to open these new areas as soon as possible to help support the traders, although this does mean that there will still be some work taking place over the next few months. We will work with our contractors to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum.
“The newly created areas will provide a new shopping and leisure experience and enable to market to host a whole range of events. New and exciting traders are also joining forces with the well-known and respected business who have helped make Kirkgate the success it is today.”