Leeds Kirkgate Market traders blame ongoing roadworks for falling sales

By Georgia Levy-Collins

Leeds Kirkgate Market first opened in 1822 .

Traders at Leeds Kirkgate Market say they have found a significant decrease in customers due to the pandemic and local roadworks.

The roadworks have been on-going since before the worldwide pandemic began and halted all unessential business.

Outdoor fresh fruit and veg stall holder Michael Dolan said: “We’re certainly on a downward spiral.”

“We’re certainly on a downward spiral”

MICHAEL dolan, greengrocer

When asked how Covid and the construction have affected business, Dolan went on to say that this was the worst footfall he had ever seen in his 55 years of working at the market.

Despite the market being much quieter than it used to be Mr Dolan did say that the customers who were coming in were spending a lot more money.

Other stall holders at the market gave a similar response to the pandemic and how it’s influenced business.

Joseph Laughton said: “The markets only regained any sort of momentum about six weeks ago.”

“The markets only regained any sort of momentum about six weeks ago”

Joseph Laughton, Fish Monger

Laughton runs  R.Bethell’s Fish mongers which has been run by his family since 1911.

He stated that the furlough scheme didn’t influence customers to spend more at the market; however, since the winter months have come around and school has started again customers have been coming back to the market.

This he said could be due to the seasonal fluctuation in customers at markets throughout the year or people getting back into routines and back to normal after the pandemic.

Roadworks were a recurring annoyance for all the stall holders the Yorkshire Voice spoke to.

Several vendors emphasised their growing concern involving the construction and the car park issues that have followed.

One  vendor revealed he was having to get up hours before he started work at the market as it takes so long to find place to park and get through all the traffic caused by the construction works.

The same goes for when the market closes at rush hour stall holders working days have been prolonged so much just from the increased difficulty in travel.

Road works have been in place since before the pandemic and are still causing ongoing disruption.

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