Stall holders at Leeds Kirkgate Market have been given a business boost by council bosses who have slashed their rent for the next six months.
Leeds City Council has announced it will give all stall holders a 20 per cent reduction in rent, for six months from July 1, to allow them to "invest in their business and help contribute to the market's long-term viability".
The move follows previous temporary reductions in rent, over the past couple of years, which aimed to help compensate for the decrease in footfall while the market was being refurbished.
But the indoor tenants have been paying full rent since June last year and the outdoor traders since November.
Councillor Richard Lewis, executive board member for transport, regeneration and development said: "Despite the current positive trend in footfall we are aware this does not always correspond with the level of spend and some traders may require additional support to help them secure the long term viability of their business. We are offering a six month rent reduction whilst trade continues to build back up and to help stall holders to adapt and modernise to achieve long-term success both for themselves and the market as a whole.
“We are very proud of Kirkgate Market and want to make sure we make the most of every opportunity to re-establish it as a key shopping destination. However Kirkgate faces the same challenges as other traditional markets across the UK; price competition from larger retailers; rising customer expectations and a changing customer base so it is important we take action now to broaden its appeal to a wider range of customers and visitors.”
As well as offering the reduction in rent the council says it is putting together an action plan to attract new customers and tenants and consider the future approach to charges and rents over the longer-term for the different types of business and size of stall in the different market halls.
The recent £14m refurbishment included the provision of a new roof covering over the 1976 and 1981 halls, a new fire safety system including a new sprinkler system, new drainage in the fresh produce area, new extraction and ventilation systems and various works to repair the historic fabric of the building commensurate with its Grade one-listed status. The refurbishment work and the introduction of an event space and new food-to-go stalls has sought to increase customer time in the market.