Film ID:
YFA 3536



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This is a documentary made by YTV on the controversial plans for the redevelopment of Kirkgate Market in Leeds. It includes contributions from stall holders, shoppers, the city council leader, George Mudie, and the Dutch development company MAB.

The film begins with the fire of Saturday 15th December 1975 when Leeds Kirkgate Market, the largest covered market in Europe, caught fire, destroying 100 stalls.  The film then moves on to 1987, with stall holders and shoppers expressing their puzzlement at, and disapproval of, a Leeds Council proposal to build a giant shopping centre in the centre of Leeds, rehousing the existing market in a basement within it, with Dutch developers MAB (UK).  There is a brief history of the market and a spokesperson for MAB is interviewed, who argues that the plan will lead to a co-existence between the modern centre and the existing market.  A man, presumably from the planning department, outlines the scheme using a scale model, followed by an aerial view of the existing structure.  Then various market stall holders explain how their market stalls have been in their families for generations.  They express concern that the market will lose its character and atmosphere.

The leader of the city council, George Mudie, is interviewed, taking up these concerns.  He claims that there have been no other plans offered for the site.  One protester claims that there was not enough consultation over the plans.  There follows several interviews going back and forth between Mudie, CAB and those who oppose the plans, including discussion of legal challenges, like taking the case to the High court for judicial review.  It is shown that there are divisions among the stall holders, with some arguing that the development would be a good idea.  A minister from St Peter’s Minster expresses a couple of concerns, including the possible blocking of the view of the church tower, but believes that these concerns can be dealt with.

The film moves on to questions regarding the accounts of MAB, but Mudie deals with these by stating that Norwich Union are being brought in to underwrite the scheme.  Compulsory purchase orders have been served to market stall holders.  There are more interviews before the film finishes showing the market being closed up for the day.