Young shoppers protest as Corn Exchange stores shut

Young shoppers staged a protest as more stores put up their shutters for the last time at Leeds's Corn Exchange.

The demonstrators, who are fans of the building's specialist shops and see it as a favourite meeting spot, waved banners and sang protest songs with a backing band.

By Tuesday it is expected only seven outlets will remain at the listed building, which though owned by Leeds City Council, is controlled on a long lease by investment firm Zurich Assurance.

The boutique stores will make way for an upmarket food emporium.

The three members of the band 101 Errors, Dave Parkin, Connor Cosimini and Sam Armstrong said they were against the plans.

Dave said: "The Corn Exchange is a place of history. A lot of us like to come here. It is a great shopping place. We think the shops have been treated unfairly by closing it so suddenly.

"We are here to give them support. If it becomes a food emporium the building will not have the same atmosphere."

The protestors, including 14-year-old Katie Middleton from Rothwell and Emily Hall from Woodlesford, carried slogans such as "Save the Exchange".

Katie said: "Some people are really bothered about it changing and don't like the idea. Others say they will carry on meeting here."

Though some of the Exchange's units had not been let for some time, Zurich stunned traders in November when it unveiled plans for the food centre and told tenants on newer leases they had to be out by today.

One trader even wrote to Prince Charles for support and in replay received a promise to raise the issue with Zurich.

At Saturday's demo, Dr Sara Gonzalez, lecture in critical human geography at Leeds University, said she was very concerned about the continuing "cloning" of shopping centres and regretted the passing of such an individual shopping centre.

Designed by Cuthbert Brodrick, famed designer of Leeds Town Hall, the Corn Exchange has operated in its present form for about 17 years.

Some of the traders are part of a chain with other premises, but others have had to find alternative premises, switching to Internet sales or ceasing trading.

At specialist jewellers Outrage, whose last day of trading was yesterday,an assistant said that the firm would continue to operate from Leeds Shopping Plaza where it had been for eight years.

Sunday was also the last day of trading at the Exchange for poster shop On The Wall after three years there.

Saturday was the last Corn Exchange trading day for White Label Clothing after four years. To Die For Couture (TDFC) will stop trading at the Exchange tomorrow.

The only remaining shop in the basement, Rebop is believed to be closing this week. Other shops remaining this week included: Hippypottermouse, Grin, Ark, Ark Female, Culture Vulture and Anti-Gravity.

bruce.a.smith@ypn.co.uk

� Charlotte Graham 
Picture Taken 06/10/2017. 
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Early Morning Light on Harold Park with Swans in the foreground

The park is named after Harold Gathorn Hardy who died in 1881 at the age of 32. Harold helped establish the family run Low Moor Ironworks.In 1899 a recreation ground was added to the park, while in the early 20th century Low Moor Gala was held raising money for local hospitals. In 1931 Horsfall playing fields were added to the park, in 2014 these became a Queen Elizabeth II Playing fields and also contains Horsfall Stadium.

Harold Park is a small urban park in Low Moor, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. The park is open all day all year round. To the immediate north of Harold Park is Horsfall Stadium home to Bradford Park Avenue A.F.C. and Albion Sports A.F.C. Park Dam is a short walking distance to the south.

The park has been given a Green Flag Award and the Platinum award from The Royal Horticultural Society Yorkshire in Bloom for open spaces.

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