Pudsey Market could disappear 'by Christmas' fear
Published Date: 05 August 2009
By Aisha Iqbal
Worried Pudsery Market traders fear it will disappear "by Christmas" unless drastic action is taken.
Stallholders have seen a steady decline in business – and the downturn has seen the number of traders dwindle too. A recent session saw just eight of 35 stalls operating. A recent Saturday market had just two. Many of the traders – some of who have operated there for generations – say a £250,000 redesign by the council last year has been a "disaster". Some fear an upcoming £3m redevelopment of the nearby bus station could be the "final nail in the he coffin" because it will take away the small public car park next to the market. Faqir Ahmed has been running his clothes stall for almost 30 years and he said: "Today I have not even covered my rent. "It was s a lot busier when I started, now I'm getting 10 per cent of the customers I did then. "I have to have a second job and I work seven days a week. I used to do just three days and it was enough. I am surviving but (the council] needs to do something to bring people here." Simon Hepworth, who started with his mum 20 years ago when he was 14, said nowadays he too often struggles to make back his £14.70 rent. He and his co-traders are urging the council to do something to make Pudsey the 'market town' referred to on its entrance sign. They have to advertise Pudsey and they have to define it and promote it," he said, adding: "If this carries on I don't think we will be here at Christmas." Janet Crampton, a regular customer, said: "I use to come here for everything. It had such a lovely atmosphere. but it just doesn't have that anymore." A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said: "Pudsey Market received a major refurbishment in autumn 2007, and is running at 80pc occupancy, in line with other markets of its type."All retail outlets are feeling the pinch. We are offering heavily subsidised rates for traders who want to take on empty stalls on Saturdays, and are looking at other ways of supporting them."