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Angry Leeds city centre traders claim market events are costing them thousands

SPEAKING OUT: Ice cream vendor Johnny Marrocco. PIC: Simon Hulme

SPEAKING OUT: Ice cream vendor Johnny Marrocco. PIC: Simon Hulme

Furious traders in Leeds say they are losing thousands of pounds of takings and could be forced to close due to a monthly market held on Briggate.

Shop owners at Lands Lane, Thornton’s Arcade and Queen’s Arcade told the YEP that takings are down by 50 per cent when the Farmers and Craft Market is held on the third Sunday of the month.

And starting from August 5, the market will be held twice a month. A petition has been set up to move the event back to its original site at Kirkgate Market.

Lorna Potter, owner of Pickles and Potter, says footfall through the arcades significantly decreases during the market and that stalls are selling almost identical goods to the shops in the arcades.

She said: “I am all for helping promote the market but this is not the way to do it. It is having an adverse effect on my business, my livelihood.

“Each month our revenues drop dramatically. If I knew this was going to happen I wouldn’t have opened a shop here.

“Some shops pay £100,000 a year in rent but these stalls down on Briggate are paying £25 a pop. I will not stop until something is done about this.”

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Gary Campbell, who has owned the Real German Sausage stall on Kirkgate for 10 years, said: “We don’t even bother opening when the market comes because affects our takings that much.”

This week, traders were further annoyed by a four-day Street Food comes to Leeds event, which was also held on Briggate. The event used £1,500 from the Government’s High Street Innovation Fund.

Ice cream vendor Johnny Marrocco, who owns a van on Lands Lane, said: “I can’t understand it. There’s an ice cream van there that isn’t local and the farmers market doesn’t represent anything that is going on at Kirkgate Market.”

Coun Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for development and economy, said: “We moved the farmers market because the number of people attending was falling. The move has so proved popular that we decided to hold farmers markets on the first and third Sunday of each month from August. We are in regular contact with local retailers and have only received two complaints about that decision.”

 

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