Consultants’ downsizing plan not driving latest consultation on historic Leeds market, Council insists

Leeds City Council has stressed that the recommendations made earlier this year by consultants over the future of the city’s historic Kirkgate market are not going to be steering the latest public consultation that was announced yesterday.

“We welcome views from before the (consultants) Quarterbridge report,” the council’s communications team said today, “this is one opinion which will feed into ideas, but is not something that is steering the direction of the consultation”.

That’s not to say that the recommendations – approved in principle by council leaders in February – have been dropped. They’ve been incorporated into the options for the market’s future that are now being looked at by the council’s architectural design services partner NPS – options that we’re being asked about in the public consultation that’s running from now till mid-June.

“Other scenarios” will be considered

The brief that’s been given to NPS is to come up by the first week in November with costed designs for five options for the market. As they currently stand, at least two of those five options are premised on the Quarterbridge recommendation that the size of the market be reduced by around 25%.

The council is stressing, however, that none of this is a done deal and that “other scenarios based on the outcome of the consultation” will be considered.

So, before they get on to the design and cost bit,  NPS are going to be managing a first round of consultation that’s going to “fully determine and agree the scope and vision of each option”.

They’ll be talking to councillors, market(s) staff, around seven “equality hubs“,  market tenants, and “local groups/pressure groups”.

And if, for example, the Friends of Leeds Kirkgate Market or the market traders come up with options that are different from the five that NPS are using as their starting point, their ideas will presumably be given the time of day.

Online survey

In this initial phase us members of the general public get to have our say too on which, if any, of the options we favour.

There’s some scope for people to put in their sixpenn’orth in an online survey on the Leeds Markets website here and there are going to be “meetings, discussions and workshops” that will presumably be open to the public.

Both the survey and the consultation have received a pretty frosty/cynical reception from some readers of the YEP so far. See the comments here.

The options

Here are the five options as outlined in the brief given to NPS:

Option 1 – Undertake all maintenance works identified in the current survey and condition reports

Option 2 – Refurbishment of the 1976, 1981, 1875 and 1904 halls and George Street shops, including all maintenance works identified in the current survey and condition reports;

Option 3 – Demolition of the 1976 hall. Refurbishment of the 1981, 1875 and 1904 halls and George Street shops, including all maintenance works identified in the current survey and condition reports. Consideration should also be made of making the George Street frontage more permeable and making units double fronted to open both inwards to the market and outwards on toGeorge Street;

Option 4 – The demolition and replacement of the 1976 and 1981 halls to provide a reduction in the size of the market by approximately 25%. Refurbishment of the 1875 and 1904 halls and George Streetshops, including all maintenance works identified in the current survey and condition reports. Consideration should also be made of making the George Street frontage more permeable and making units double fronted to open both inwards to the market and outwards on toGeorge Street;

Option 5 – The demolition and replacement of the 1976 and 1981 halls to provide a reduction in the size of the market by approximately 25%. Refurbishment of the 1875 and 1904 halls including all maintenance works identified in the current survey and condition report. The demolition and replacement of the George Street shops including consideration of making the frontage more permeable and making units double fronted to open both inwards to the market and outwards on to George Street.

Market specialist consultant

Among the stipulations in the brief is one that for options 3, 4 and 5, the possibility of putting the open market under cover should be looked into.

If you want to see the whole brief, it’s available for download from the right hand side of the Leeds Markets web page here.

Given the specialist nature of the work, the Council has told NPS it has to take on a consultant as part of its design team – someone with “experience and expertise in space-planning markets, including consideration of the zoning of different uses and the balance of trades”.

There will be a further round of public consultation after NPS have gone away and done the design work for the five options. We’ll be asked then for our feedback on what they’ve come up with.

Advertisements

About the leeds citizen

contributions to this blog welcome
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s