Monday, 14 January 2013

Council golf courses to stay open for 12 months as future talks continue

Talks are to continue over the future of two golf courses in Leeds after their possible closure was put on hold for a year.

The Leeds City Council-managed golf courses at Middleton Park and Gotts Park were put forward for possible closure as part of the council’s drive to make approximately £51m savings in the 2013/14 budget proposals.

User numbers at both courses are in decline, with the council subsidising them at an increasing and unsustainable level. Initial discussions have been held with representatives of the clubs at both courses and a decision has now been put on hold for 12 months to allow further consultation to take place.

Leeds City Council executive member for the environment Councillor Mark Dobson said:

“Following positive initial discussions with users and those involved at Gotts Park and Middleton golf courses around a range of community-based initiatives which could possibly be pursued, we have decided to delay making any changes for 12 months to allow further consultation to take place.

“The current position at both courses is that user numbers are declining meaning that in the context of the severe financial challenges faced by the council they are unsustainable. It is therefore vital that new ways of delivering this service are explored.”

Reacting to the news, chairman of Gotts Park Golf Club Alan Walls said:

“Everyone one at Gotts Park is looking forward to working closely with Leeds City Council. We hope to see our collective vision of a packed golf course and a secure future realised in the coming years.

“We see a great opportunity to work in close partnership with Leeds City Council to develop a sustainable future for municipal golf both at Gotts Park and Leeds in general.

“We have a strong membership at Gotts Park and we hope to use that strength to work alongside the parks and countryside service to see this great golfing tradition continue for years to come.”

Chairman of Middleton Park Golf Club Ian Bertie said:

“We would like to thank Councillor Dobson and the Middleton Park ward members as we are delighted to receive news that we have been given a 12-month reprieve.

“We are in no doubt that we have a tough year ahead to try and keep our course open and we look forward to working in partnership with the city council to look at new ways of working that hopefully will secure the future of our golf course here at Middleton Park.”


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472

M&S returns to its roots with a market stall at Kirkgate Market

Marks & Spencer is going back to its roots and opening a stall in the place where the famous brand first started at Kirkgate Market in 1884.

In March 2013 Marks & Spencer will open a heritage and coffee shop right beside the famous M&S clock in the 1904 building of Kirkgate Market.

Visitors will have the chance to learn about the heritage of the brand since its start as a penny bazaar in a similar stall while enjoying a coffee and purchasing M&S branded gifts and merchandise.

The new stall launches to coincide with the one year anniversary of the opening of the Marks in Time Exhibition at the M&S Company Archive. The collection, which was unveiled at the University of Leeds Michael Marks Building in March 2012, details the history of the development of the world famous retail chain from its roots in the Market to the present day.

Visitors can learn more by taking the new M&S Heritage Trail through the city, starting at the stall at Kirkgate and finishing at the Michael marks Building.

Alison Houston, Head of the M&S Company Archive, said:

“The new stall will give visitors the chance to experience the origins and history of Marks & Spencer right inside its original setting at Kirkgate Market. This is a unique opportunity for people in Leeds to learn more about the heritage of a world famous company born within the city 128 years ago and its links with various parts of the city centre from 1884 through to the present day.”

Work has now started preparing unit T for the launch of the new stall, planned for March 2013.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member for development and the economy said:


“We are really pleased to have a Marks & Spencer stall back in Kirkgate market where Michael Marks opened the famous penny bazaar. This will be an enormous boost for the Market as well as for the M&S Archive and I feel sure it will bring many more visitors to both.

“This latest addition to the unique offer in the Market demonstrates the confidence that both the council and businesses have that it will continue to go from strength to strength over the coming years.

“The brand has its heritage based in Leeds, and it is a fantastic example of the retail capability of Leeds as a city.

“I look forward to seeing the finished result and how this will link to the wider heritage trail across the city.”

Councillor Gerry Harper, Leeds City Council markets champion said:

“It is excellent to have M&S come back into the market and take a stall and a great start to 2013.

“The market has seen a large number of people come through its halls over the festive period, and no doubt this stall with spark interest with new and current shoppers alike.”

Note to Editors:
The M&S Company Archive – Background

• The M&S Company Archive has been deemed by independent experts as having the potential to be one of the UK’s finest corporate archives. It offers an unrivalled insight into the company’s corporate history with an extensive collection company documents. It also includes clothing, toys, books, homeware and food packaging.
• The M&S Company Archive is deemed to be of considerable value to scholars due to the economic and social importance of M&S – lending itself to a number of research projects from the evolution of the company, development of staff welfare programmes and financial performance through to the growth of the store network and the range and nature of products provided to a growing mass market.

Kirkgate Indoor Market saw almost 200,000 visitors per week during December 2012 to its 235 businesses, and continues to perform well compared to the High Street in terms of new lets. Around 400 businesses trade on its daily open market each week.

For more information contact Grayling: , or T: 0113 273 9900

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450