Letter: Reduction of market size excluded from debate

I am sorry to address your columns again on the subject of Kirkgate Market. It is, I think it will be agreed, vitally important to the future of this city of ours.

I have just received a copy of the council’s questionnaire, ‘Let us have your views on the future of Leeds Kirkgate Market’ – a box ticking exercise.

I shall not be filling it in. May I explain why.

As I understand it in the previous public consultation, of nearly 3,000 responses, only 70 were in favour of reducing the size of the market.

The present questionnaire asks, ‘How important is each element? with a box to tick ‘high’, ‘medium’, ‘low’ or ‘don’t know’ for each listed element. Element 10) is ‘reducing the size.’ The view that the size should not be reduced at all is not allowed.

In short, by a sleight of hand it may possibly seem, and in spite of the previous, overwhelming opinion against any reduction, the view that the size should not be reduced has been excluded from public debate.

What the council should, in good faith, be doing is to be saying, ‘This space is Leeds’s, public Kirkgate Market, a public space. No one is going to chop bits off it. Let us all sit down and, with a degree of imagination, work out how we can best make use of its space, a space to be recognised and enjoyed as a public market; and that could of course include a space for arts and activities – but not, I suppose, bear or councillor baiting!

Mike Harwood, Kirkstall




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