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1980 - 2000

Renovation and Renewal
In 1986, a new scheme was proposed for the redevelopment of Kirkgate Market and the surrounding area. It was promoted by Norwich Union and the City Council, and the developer was to be MAB (UK) Ltd., the British subsidiary of Dutch developers MAB Groep P.V. The scheme included new markets, shops, a bus station, and car parks. The plans met with disapproval, as people thought the market would lose its individuality and character in such a huge development.  

Planning permission was granted, but the development was opposed by the Market Traders Association, the Leeds Civic Trust, and the Victorian Society. In order to develop the site, the Council needed a Compulsory Purchase Order to buy the traders stalls. This was refused by the Secretary of State for the Environment, and the scheme was abandoned in 1990. This left the Council with the problem of the Market Hall, which was in urgent need of renovation. Norwich Union and the City Council put forward a new scheme for an 8 million restoration of the Market Hall, and its associated shops and offices.

Work began in 1991, and both the exterior and interior of the building were restored to their former glory.  The exterior stonework and the ornamental lead roof were repaired and the shop units rebuilt in their original style. The entrances were renovated, with new iron work to the original design. Inside, the upper floors were completely refurbished to provide new office space. The market hall was redecorated, and new stalls built in their original style. All the services to the building water and electricity supplies, drainage, ventilation and fire safety and security systems were brought up to date.

In 1992 there was a serious setback to the work, when the domes at the Vicar Lane/Kirkgate end of the market caught fire, and had to be rebuilt. Beyond the newly refurbished Market Hall, the old 1876 market buildings which had escaped the 1975 fire were falling into disrepair. In 1995 work began on the restoration of this area. The stonework and the roof were repaired in keeping with the Victorian design, and a year later in 1996, the Open Market was provided with new stalls, and a central market square was created. Access was improved, and there was a complete overhaul of the electrical system.
Click images to enlarge
Design by MAB for new market, 1986
Design by MAB for new market, 1986
Exterior of the market, 1999
Exterior of the market, 1999
Vicar Lane entrance, 1999
Vicar Lane entrance, 1999
Inside the market hall, 1999
Inside the market hall, 1999
New stand in the open market, 1999
New stand in the open market, 1999




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© 2003 Leeds City Council | Site created by: LCC electronic information team | 25 March 2003