Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Kirkgate market in line for new £12million redevelopment project

Leeds council chiefs will meet next week to consider proposals for a £12.3million investment programme for Kirkgate Market.

After extensive consultation around the possible options for redevelopment of the market and the completion of feasibility work, a number of recommendations have been put forward outlining how the market can be enhanced, improved and sustained into the future.

At a meeting of the council’s executive board on Wednesday 13 March, members will discuss recommendations including: improving the interior of the market, redevelopment of the George Street frontage and a new management model.

As part of improving the interior of the market, a programme of maintenance would be carried out to bring the building up to modern standards. This would include recovering the roof of the 1976 and 1981 buildings, which would be carried out first and followed by the creation of a central events space, new routes through the market, improved signage and creating distinct zones to attract shoppers to all areas of the market, including relocating Butchers' Row with Fish and Game Row. There is also the option to make a daily covered market in the 1976 hall, an idea which has worked well in other markets across the UK. There is no proposal to reduce the size of the market buildings.

A new management board with trader representation and external expertise is recommended whilst the complex redevelopment work is taking place.

Recommendations for improvements to the frontage on George St will form a separate project which the council will bring forward to complement the adjacent Eastgate development including the new John Lewis proposal. It is proposed that this will include an enhanced street frontage of new ground floor retail units which open into the market, with a residential scheme above.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member for development and the economy said:
“As a historic landmark in the city centre, it is important that we retain the character of the market, and at the same time bring it into the 21st century so as to attract more customers.

“This latest report suggests a programme of redevelopment which has been directly influenced by the extensive consultation we did with stakeholders in the market and the technical works from the feasibility study.

“We know work needs to be done on the market such as ‘fixing the basics’ and if approved work will start to put these things right as soon as possible. The rest of the project would take place in phases over the next few years.

“We will work closely with traders because we want to do everything we can to support their businesses throughout the development. We want to do everything we can to support our market businesses to remain viable throughout the development.

“We have a real opportunity to develop Kirkgate Market and with the new Eastgate shopping and leisure development just across the road, this will become a much busier area of the city and we need to harness this by improving both the interior and exterior of the market making it both attractive and easily accessible.”

A budget of £12.3million is recommended for the project which will be financed from the existing surplus generated by the market each year.

For more information and to view the report please visit www.leeds.gov.uk

Significant improvements to housing contractor’s performance

Housing repair contractor Morrison has shown good performance progress since Leeds City Council served a second improvement notice on the company last year.

Morrison, which has now been taken over by Mears, demonstrated improved performance in the delivery of the housing repairs contract, as shown at the end of the second service improvement period in December 2012.

The council and Mears are now working to develop a new start to the contract from the beginning of April. Responsibility for major adaptations has been taken back by the council to ensure that high standards of delivery and completion remain.

Councillor Peter Gruen, executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:
“I am glad to announce that there has been a sea-change in the performance of the “new” Morrison. The company is now achieving the contract standard on repairs and maintenance responsibilities, along with getting in excess of 90% of repairs right first time.

“We have seen an improvement of 50% in performance on empty properties which were being returned with works completed in 6 days and 10 days under the contracts for Aire Valley Homes and West North West Homes respectively during December 2012.

“I believe that the takeover of Morrison by Mears part way through the service improvement plan has made a substantial difference. Additional resources were brought into the Leeds contract at no extra cost to the council. This has enabled much of the outstanding work to be cleared.

“I am very pleased to see that the action the council has taken has led to this improved picture. I have made it absolutely clear to the new management of the company that from April there is no excuse for customers not to receive the service to which they are entitled. We are working towards reaching a full agreement and a new start from April. Customer service, quality and timeliness of work are of paramount concern to the council.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
email: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk