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Leeds' Corn Exchange hopes facelift will boost its appeal

The historic Corn Exchange building in Leeds is to receive a £1.5 million revamp to improve its appeal as a shopping destination.

Owned by asset management firm Threadneedle Investments, the building is home to several fashion independents. It will have its leaking roof repaired and will also get new lighting, signs and floors.

Ian Chappell, store manager at menswear independent Ark, said: "The work is definitely needed. It's not only the roof that needs repairing - the floors do too."

The building, which dates from 1864, has been the focus for alternative fashion in the city since it reopened as a shopping venue in 1990.

However, some independents believe footfall in the building has declined recently. "It isn't as busy as it was four or five years ago," said Chappell. "Maybe it's because of the way it looks or the fact that some of the shops have closed."

Work is due to start on the building in the next week, and is scheduled to be completed in October.

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