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  1. ITV Report

Kirkgate Market traders 'struggling to survive'

Traders in Kirkgate Market in Leeds say they're experiencing such a decline in business that they're struggling to keep their heads above water.

Steven Verb helps out on his family's stall at Kirkgate Market for love, not money after his dad David was forced to lay him off.

We find ourselves in the situation now where something that's the heartbeat of Leeds city centre is dying. Turnover, loss of earnings is down sixty to eighty per cent, custom's down the same, sixty to eight per cent, and we've only been offered a twenty per cent discount, it doesn't really cut it.

– Steven Verb, Market Trader

Many of the traders working in the outdoor section of the market blame the way in which the £13 million redevelopment of the site is being carried out for causing the downturn. They believe that from some entrances, it appears closed to passing shoppers. As a result, the usually bustling market is seeing fewer customers. The reduction in rents, which is due to finish at the end of April, hasn't been enough to make up for their losses.

I do accept that along with improvements that are being made, there are a lot of inconveniences by very many people involved but the traders themselves, the ones that are running the business, have suffered the most and they've had very little protection.

– Jeannette Cane, Market Trader

The city councillor leading the regeneration of the market area, and the neighbouring John Lewis Victoria Gate complex, takes the opposite view. He has pledged support for the market and its traders.

The future for the market looks really brilliant for me, particularly when John Lewis opens, you're going to have millions of people going into that area. We should be talking about taking advantage of it. If people are suffering at the moment, really please, come and tell us what you're problems are.

– Cllr Richard Lewis

You can watch a full video report by Lisa Adlam below: