The sad story of Leeds’ once thriving market

YEP Letters, March 19

Monday, 25th March 2019, 10:54 am
Updated Monday, 25th March 2019, 10:58 am

June Westerman, via email

This is a sad story - the once thriving Kirkgate Market that Leeds City Council delight in advertising as Europe’s largest covered market.

It may have all this floor space but it certainly isn’t in use anymore, it’s an eyesore. I am a lover of Leeds Market and have visited this since I was a child some 75 years.

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And it may have had all the 300 indoor stalls, not anymore. As it is now it does not resemble anything like that of the day when it was thriving.

The Butchers’ Row has no butcher’s shops - only boarded up units with sayings on. One says “a lot of stories have been told”. There certainly is, and a lot of stories still to be told only nothing is being told. It’s a great shame that it has been allowed to get like this.

No day trips come anymore to our once wonderful market, the pictures that are used to advertise this must have been taken years ago - every week I go down there is always another trader packing up.

When a trader goes, the space is utilised by other traders hanging their wares around the empty unit. The council says it will reduce their rents, this is too little too late, the market is dead.

They are now looking to kill it off completely by applying for a car park on the outside market, they have done away with our parking and the ones that have replaced the parking areas are too expensive to use.

I think they have a wish to make the city car free except for their own. The traders are just sick to death of the situation, and are really struggling to make a living.

Several weeks ago I spoke to a lady in a coffee shop, not the market, and she said to me what on earth has happened to your once lovely city? And what has happened to your lovely market?

She said we always used to come regularly on a day trips, we won’t be coming anymore. She also said how sorry she was for the long standing traders that are having to go.

Use pool site for metro system

James Bovington, Church Grove, Horsforth

I read with interest that the site of the former Leeds International Pool is finally to be sold for redevelopment.

This is where I learnt to swim nearly five decades ago and the first city centre destination that I was allowed to visit as a young teenager with friends but without parents. The pleasure of getting myself into Leeds on the LCT 74 or 76.

I have aged – sometimes it feels badly - but the centre of Leeds seems rejuvenated. However, Leeds still lacks a metro system. The new offices on the old pool site are opposite the redeveloped former home of this august publication and will define a strategic gateway to Leeds City Centre.

This could be one of a number of ideal locations for central area underground stations on a regional metro system. Major passenger destinations like this western end of Wellington Street, plus South Bank, Leeds City Square, Millennium Square and Eastgate could be linked by tunnel with stations at these points allowing direct access and reducing avoidable car journeys. For the umpteenth time I remind your readers of the convenience of direct access to Eldon Square shopping centre in Newcastle from Monument underground station. Who dares to suggest that we deserve less in Leeds?

Manchester is planning a cross city rail tunnel for the 2030s. Glasgow, Liverpool and Newcastle already have such systems and everyone extols their virtues so why can’t Leeds do the same, building a Leeds CrossRail and finally constructing that City Square underground station originally planned in the 1930s and so frequently displayed in your quality pages in all its pristine Art Deco glory?

Such a bad deal

Terry Watson, Adel

Why is May still trying to get through Parliament her deal which has been rejected twice, because it is the worst deal in our history?

Why is she trying to tie us permanently to a failing EU?

Her Brexit shambles has thrown UK politics into meltdown. If it is such a good deal for Britain, why when answering questions from the public on live radio, did she refuse to say that her Brexit deal was better than staying in the EU? In fact it is such a bad deal that Dominic Raab, the former Brexit Secretary resigned saying it was worse.

Theresa May has belittled Britain in the eyes of the world. The ex EU president Herman Van Rompuy said sneeringly: “We have their backs against the wall”. and he’s right thanks to “blunder woman” and those mutinous Commons votes.

It’s time now for May to stand down and make way for someone with authority and experience to take over the disaster of her making.

Vinyl memories

David Gibbs, Savile Road, Leeds

March 15 saw an important anniversary for music lovers of a certain age.

I am, of course, referring to the launch of the vinyl 45rpm single record in 1949. Now 70 years on this format is still available from specialist outlets in vastly reduced numbers, having been replaced first by the CD then the various streaming outlets now available.

Personally I never took to CD singles in the same way I did to vinyl. It was so exciting as a child of eight going to Woolworths to buy my first 45rpm namely Return To Sender by Elvis in 1962.

Singles lived on as the main source of music until its peak year in 1974 when 200 million were sold. Sadly it was downhill from there. Sales statistics for artists seem to mean little now as it is all done with a click of a button.

In 1962 I had to be taken into town with saved pocket money to purchase my Elvis disc. I think I will have appreciated it more than any youngster (or oldster) obtaining a track today. I still have that worn 45. Now I feel old - then again I am old.