12 Mar 2021
New five-year plan for Leeds Kirkgate Market
Senior councillors in Leeds will be asked to back a five-year strategy to future-proof the much loved Leeds Kirkgate Market at an executive board meeting on Wednesday 17 March.
The proposed Leeds Kirkgate Market Strategy 2021-2026 sets out how the market will manage the impact and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and adapt to the ever changing retail climate in order to remain a sustainable and attractive retail destination.
If approved, the council will collaborate with market traders, their representatives and wider stakeholders to put the strategy into motion, cementing the market’s place as a modern and accessible shopping destination in the heart of Leeds.
The strategy sets out how the council will continue to work on the infrastructure and regeneration of the market to improve the overall look and feel of it for traders, customers and potential new businesses.
Over the next five years, the council will continue looking at alternative ideas to fill vacant units, particularly in the outdoor market, in order to retain income levels, continue to attract footfall and broaden the reach of the market.
The market will continue to adapt to the changing pattern of retail, which will include a review of the opening hours in full consultation with the existing traders to ensure the market is open when customers want to visit
A Markets Sustainability Plan will be developed which will be the driver behind ensuring the market operates in a more environmentally sustainable way, with a specific focus on how the market and its traders can reduce their carbon footprint.
The council is also committed to ensuring the market is both age and disability friendly by ensuring aisles are kept clear and accessible. The market is already incredibly diverse and the council will ensure it stays this way.
Looking ahead, the council is confident that Leeds Kirkgate Market will remain a place for community and cultural events and activities, both large and small and continue to be an exciting destination for visitors with a variety of activities on offer.
The market will continue to support the development of more local innovators and entrepreneurs through the use of low cost pop-up units, and defined spaces for new products and services.
If approved, the strategy will remain flexible in order to best meet the needs of customers and traders and the council would review the plans and actions on an ongoing basis over the next five years.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive board member with responsibility for markets, said:
“Leeds Kirkgate Market plays a vital role in the city’s retail offer and is steeped in rich history and culture. We are proud that Leeds is the home of such an amazing market and, even in these difficult financial times, we’re fully committed to its long-term future.
“Due to the current UK retail environment and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, we know the next five years won’t be easy for the market which is why having a clear strategy is so important.
“I am confident that in 2026 the market will be thriving. It will continue to be an inclusive, diverse and successful part of Leeds city centre and something we can all be proud of. This strategy will play a vital part in ensuring that happens.”
Notes to editors:
The council has already demonstrated continued commitment to Leeds Kirkgate Market. In 2019 it invested over £1 million in building and refurbishing units, which has seen three new units in the market kitchen open, all four refurbished units in fresh produce area let and eight units for tenants to move into due to the hotel development in the 1981 hall.
As a direct result of trader feedback the council also installed security cameras and invested in increased security to combat potential anti-social behaviour. The entrances were also improved, with new planters to Vicar Lane and an art installation to New York Street.
To support traders during the pandemic, the council has provided a package of financial support, including a 100% rent concession for all outdoor and district market traders and a 50% rent concession for indoor market traders from 1st January to 31st March 2021, to reflect the ongoing impact of restrictions on trading activity. They have also put in place payment plans to the end of March 2022 to allow traders to spread the payment of arrears accrued during the lockdown period. This is in addition to a range of support provided to businesses by the Government including rates relief and grants.
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Leeds City Council