Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Proposals for the "regeneration" of Kirkgate Market

Leeds City Council conducted between January and February 2008 a consultation process about the future refurbishment of Kirkgate Market. 1217 people took part in the consultation out of which only 26 from the general public and 101 tenants /traders. The rest was made up of the so called "Citizen's Panel". The consultation was not open to the general public and the questionnaire had to be requested at the Markets office. The results of the consultation have now been analysed and they generally support the Council's plans for regeneration.

But what does the regeneration consist of? An extract from the latest Council report of the Market on the 11th of June 2008 gives us an idea of the development opportunities that the Council is planning for....

4.1 The previous Executive Board report dealing with Kirkgate Market redevelopment
(Nov 2007) introduced the concept that the potential for development options and
partnerships would evolve over time. In terms of taking the market redevelopment
forward some informal exploration has lately taken place.

4.2 The Executive Board will be aware of the significant development proposals of the
Eastgate/Harewood scheme – immediately adjacent to the northern periphery of
Kirkgate Market – which could be a key driver of Market redevelopment. It is
considered that the Eastgate/Harewood development will be
very influential in the
medium and long-term success of Kirkgate Market
and therefore physical and visual
linkage will be important. Simultaneously, the timing and phasing of associated
construction – for both projects – will be critical for the operational needs of the

4.3 The Eastgate/Harewood scheme is a joint venture between Town Centre Securities
and Hammersons
with considerable input from Leeds City Council - this grouping
being known as the Leeds Partnership (LP).

4.4 Relatively recently - through the LP – it has emerged that the Eastgate/Harewood
development requires a solution for the future accommodation of the Department of
Works and Pensions (DWP). The DWP is currently situated within the curtilage of the
Eastgate/Harewood scheme and relocation is fundamental to the scheme.

4.5 As a result, the LP approached the Markets Service and Chief Asset Management
Officer to assess whether there might be a synergy between the Eastgate/Harewood
scheme and Kirkgate Market redevelopment and in particular whether the Kirkgate
Market redevelopment proposals might incorporate accommodation for the DWP.

4.6 Informal discussions with the LP – including their architects – and based on the
principles of the Kirkgate Market redevelopment consultation brochure, have taken
place over the last eight weeks.

4.7 Through an iterative process - in line with the definition of peripheral development of
the Kirkgate Market site - a possible development proposal affording DWP
accommodation has been identified.

4.8 The strength of Hammersons is a recognised benefit of the LP and there would appear to be significant advantage to the Kirkgate Market redevelopment if it was intrinsically linked to the Eastgate/Harewood scheme. For example, decanting tenants
and traders and whole sections of the Market during rebuild could be facilitated by the
temporary use of adjacent land.

4.9 The informal discussions with the LP have now concluded and in order to take the
redevelopment proposals forward it would be necessary to enter into a limited period
of exclusivity.

4.10 It is considered that any period of exclusivity will not in the first instance exceed three
months and that any emerging partnership with LP will include agreement that the:
□ LP would undertake all phases of the Kirkgate Market development without break;
□ Redevelopment of Kirkgate Market would be completed within 36 months of the
start of works.

5.1 Executive Board are requested to:
(i) Note the results of the public and tenant and trader consultation and agree that
development proposals continue to be advanced on the basis of those set out in
the consultation document and on the basis of the accord shown in the public,
tenant and trader opinions - as set out in section 3 of this report;
(ii) Note the informal discussions with the Leeds Partnership.
(iii) Approve the commencement of an initial three month period of exclusivity with the Leeds Partnership in order to identify a suitable development option for Kirkgate Market.
(iv) Instruct that officers bring back a further report to this Board detailing the outcome
of the discussions with the Leeds Partnership.

It looks like Private Developers Town Centres Securities and Hammersons could have a much stronger role in the regeneration of the publicly owned Kirkgate Market in trying to link it to the upmarket future development of the Harewood/Eastgate Quarter.

Hammerson's record on respecting the social history and value of buildings and places is not impressive and its status as a "leading European real estate company" with its natural objective to "maximize returns by taking advantage of different market cycles, whilst diversifying risk", make us think that Kirkgate Market could in for a gentrification process.