Leeds Kirkgate Market in line for £400,000 improvements

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Council chiefs have given the go ahead for a further £400,000 to be spent on improving Kirkgate Market.

The decision to invest more cash comes as work is about to start on a £200,000 programme that includes replacement of damaged glazing, roof repairs, improvements to rainwater pipes, electrical work, and repairs to the ventilation system.

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The council’s executive board has agreed that the further £400,000 be spent during 2012-13.

Coun Gerry Harper, deputy executive member for city development and Kirkgate Market Forum chairman, said: “I hope this further investment from the council will serve to reassure both traders and the public how committed we are to securing the long term future of the market.

“We are well aware of problems that are affecting the market, and with this money we aim to make repairs and improvements.

“Along with further investment in maintenance at the market our consultants are currently looking into the best way to move the market forward, and we should have the results from them in the near future.”

The consultants, Quarterbridge Project Management Ltd, have been appointed as part of council plans to develop a future strategy for the market.

The Friends of Kirkgate Market have been pressing for the council to fund improvements to the historic building.

Earlier this year the group submitted a petition signed by 10,000 people to the council’s city development scrutiny board calling for lower rents for stallholders, more investment and a bigger say for traders in the market’s running.

The council says improvements costing about £11.5m have been made to Kirkgate Market during the last 12 years. It points out that recently it invested almost £500,000 in business support for traders and environmental improvements to make the market more attractive and customer-friendly.

Kirkgate Market has recently seen an increase in footfall, bucking the national trend, and has just received the Leeds Retail Award for Best City Centre Shopping Centre.