Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Leeds City Market

Leeds City Market is an amazing building. And it used to be a real hot house of all sorts of little stalls. However there are now more and more empty stalls.

Over ten years ago I spoke to someone who sold ironing board covers and dishclothes from a chair in a corner in Leeds Market. She was saying then that the market would go downhill now the new manager had taken over. Because the first thing he did was put rents up, like he did in the last market he managed, which had shut down. And now it is not worth selling low cost or niche items on the market because of the cost of the stalls. They are talking about closing 25% of the market but it used to be stuffed!

The same thing happened with the Corn Exchange. It went to cheap, cheerful and slightly odd to high class and empty. The Dark Arches were redeveloped back in the eighties, and again when from hippy cheap and cheerful to empty. It is quite depressing. I don't think those on the council planning board have ever shopped in a market.

Of course, there is also the question of location. The market is next to the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the BBC building and just by the Quarry House building which is where several government departments relocated to from London (it has a Ming the Merciless death ray on the top and is vast - I've got lost there! On the other side there is the future site of John Lewis and at the front a few yards further down Vicar Lane there is the Victoria quarter with Harvey Nichols and Vivienne Westwood - designer shops literally yards from cut price fruit and veg. Perhaps the council are hoping that the market can be redeveloped to suit the tone.

It does beg the question of where the poor people are going to shop.Link

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