Leeds Council moves forwards with plans replace outdoor Kirkgate market with new container-style village

There’s also regeneration plans ‘in the pipeline’ to bring a new hotel and commercial units on the ground floor on the George Street side of the markets.

Plans to add shipping-container style market to Leeds Kirkgate Market move forward after ‘overwhelmingly positive’ public response.

Leeds City Council has announced that the plans to add a new addition to the outdoor market space will move forward, and next week senior councillors will be asked to approve a ‘package of measures’ that could start to see the proposal come to life.

The idea for the container-style shipping container was first announced late last year, and last month the council was given the ‘green light’ to launch a consultation exercise and find out what the public think of the proposal.

The idea for the new outdoor market is said to be similar to those in London, Manchester and Bristol. BOXPARK is just one example of a successful container-style space that brings together food and drink traders in a ‘village’ setup.


The existing outdoor market space has space for a total of 185 stalls, with around 85 of them being filled on a typical day.

The launch of a consultation exercise seeking people’s views on the proposals, which have been drawn up with a view to safeguarding the long-term future of the outdoor area following sustained and significant investment across the market site as a whole.

During this time over 2,000 online questionnaires were completed, finding that 71.5% of those participating supported the idea, and 91% would be ‘somewhat likely’ or ‘very likely’ to the rest of the market space if they were there to visit the new container-style market.

There’s also regeneration plans ‘in the pipeline’ to bring a new hotel and commercial units on the ground floor on the George Street side of the markets.

Currently less than half of the outdoor markets are used. / Image: Leeds City Council

The Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “We are hugely proud of both Leeds Kirkgate Market’s history and the important part it continues to play in local life, with the council’s multi-million pound investment in the site during recent years underlining our determination to ensure it remains one of the jewels in the city’s retail crown.

“Given the special place it holds in so many people’s affections, we are conscious that any new additions to the market must be handled sensitively, and must also complement and enhance its existing offer.

“That is why we carried out the consultation exercise on the proposals, with the results being carefully analysed and used to shape the next steps options that will be considered by executive board.

“Should these next steps be approved, then we will continue to engage with all parties – including traders, shoppers and stakeholders – as we gauge the level of operator interest in the proposals.”

Key elements of the council’s recent investment in the market include:

  • The creation of the popular Market Kitchen street food hall and event space as part of a £14m refurbishment scheme in 2016
  • An ongoing £10m project to repair, conserve and enhance the 1875 Blockshops, the oldest surviving structures on the market site
  • The provision of more than £1.4m worth of rent concessions to help traders cope with the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • There has been no rent increase since 2011
Hatch in Manchester is another example of a popular container-style food and drink hotspot. / Image: Hatch MCR

Read More: 10 places to grab lunch for under £10 from Leeds Kirkgate Market

It is thought that once the senior councillors have met to approve the proposed plans, more information will be released about the new container-style village.

Feature Image- Hatch MCR / Leeds City Council

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