A city centre butcher says he has been forced to close his market stall after 40 years as the rent was now too high.
Malcolm Michaels said it was “heartbreaking” to move from Leeds Kirkgate Market after such a long time.
Mr Michaels said he now paid about £10,000 a month in rent, a price he said was no longer sustainable.
Leeds City Council, which runs the market, said in the past 18 months it had supported traders with rent concessions equating to about £1m.
Mr Michaels, who has worked at the stall in Kirkgate Market since he was 14 years old, said it was “breaking” him to leave the market after four decades there.
“I can’t see a future in this position,” he said.
The butcher said while he was sad to close his market stall, which employed 16 staff, he was about to open new branches in the centre of Leeds and in Cross Gates.
“Many of our customers have said they’ll keep shopping with us after the move,” he said.
“My focus is on financial security for the younger generation and staying committed to my staff.”
In a statement, Leeds City Council said rents on a single unit at Kirkgate Market ranged from £2,000 to a maximum of £34,314, excluding service charges.
The authority reaffirmed its pledge to continue to support the development of entrepreneurs through “the use of low cost pop-up opportunities and defined spaces for new products and services”.
It added: “We are confident Leeds Kirkgate Market will remain an attractive and exciting retail destination for potential new businesses.”
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