All stall holders at Leeds Kirkgate Market are being given a temporary reduction in rent to allow them to invest in their businesses and help contribute to the market’s long-term viability.
Following the multi-million pound refurbishment which was completed last year, footfall has now started to increase, and has returned to levels near 2015. In order to build on this positive trend Leeds City Council has agreed to a 20 per cent reduction in rent for the next six months to support its stall holders whilst trade builds back up further and to enable tenants to invest in their own businesses for a sustainable and secure future.
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 is putting together an action plan to maximise promotional opportunities to attract new customers and tenants and to 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.
Kirkgate Market is Europe’s largest covered market with over 300 indoor and 185 outdoor market stalls, attracting over 140,000 customers a week. The market has recently benefited from a £14m refurbishment with expenditure focussed on renewing the fabric of the Grade 1 Listed Building and its services.
The 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 particularly 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 1 listed status. The refurbishment work and the introduction of an event space and new food-to-go stalls has sought to increase customer dwell time in the market.