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Trader 'resigned' to demolition of Leicester's indoor market


A trader who launched a petition to stop the demolition of Leicester's indoor market has said he has little hope of success.

Michael Montgomery's petition has more than 300 signatures calling for the city mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, not to pull the 1970s structure down.

However, he said the damage had already been done.

He said: "So many people have already left the indoor market. There's another who left on Friday and another going at the end of this week.

"I don't think the petition will do any good, but people are still signing it to say they're not happy.

"I think it's a great shame."

The market is set to be replaced with a public square, with the fish and meat sellers relocated to a purpose-built pavilion next to the Corn Exchange on what is now Market Corner.

However, about 30 traders in the upper floors of the five-storey indoor market building fear they will not be able to afford the rents in the lock-up units Leicester City Council is proposing to create for them elsewhere in the market.

Photographer Mr Montgomery, who has run Studio B1 for seven months, said: "There are new units being built for us but they are going to cost more. I'm thinking of moving into a shop instead, but my rent will go up from about £2,600 to £12,000 a year, so it's a big jump.

"I'd still like the council to think again but I think people are resigned to it now."

Other traders, including Richard Lebutt, who runs The Toy Shack, and Vic Lee, of County Yarns Wool Shop, have backed Michael's campaign.

Mr Lebutt, who opened his business in July last year, said: "The idea for this place is awful.

"It's heartbreaking. We won't be able to afford the new units so we'll have to close.

"The meat and fish traders get a new building but we are out on our ears. Nobody from the council has been to talk to us."

A consultation on the demolition ended on February 22.

Sir Peter said there was no chance he would keep the indoor market.

"The place is squalid," he said. "If it ever was fit for purpose, it's certainly not now.

"We are working with all of the traders to meet their very different needs.

"Some are looking to move into the new lock-up units we're providing and others are moving into shops.

"The last thing we want to do is threaten the viability of the businesses.

"Where businesses don't have the money for higher rents, we want to help them increase their turnover and their viability."

Trader 'resigned' to demolition of Leicester's indoor market

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