Fast-track planning system bid to end blight of city centre empty shops

Empty shops in Broadway, Bradford city centre

Empty shops in Broadway, Bradford city centre

First published in News
Last updated

Planning regulations look set to be relaxed to help tackle the blight of empty shops and get more people living and spending in Bradford city centre.

Premises, mainly on streets close to the under-construction Westfield shopping centre, could be turned into shops, offices, restaurants or bars, without the need for a planning application – making it quicker and easier for people to set-up.

Empty floors above shops could also be converted into up to nine flats without owners having to apply for planning permission.

The city has a relatively high shop vacancy rate at 17.15 per cent – compared to the national average of 12.2 per cent – with 139 out of 765 units empty.

Although the rate is better than it was in 2003 to 2005, Bradford Council, which has devised the scheme, says vacancy rates have risen since the recession in 2008/9.

Council leader David Green said the Council was trying to make processes as “quick and seamless” as possible.

“It also allows owners and users to be able to come up with uses that maybe they’re concerned about putting in for because of the planning restraints that people perceive and sometimes do exist,” Coun Green said.

“If it works in Bradford city centre, then it’s something that we perhaps need to look at introducing in other centres throughout the district.”

The chief executive of lobbying group Bradford Breakthrough, Colin Philpott, said the proposals supported the organisation’s work.

“I’m absolutely delighted that it’s being properly considered,” he said.

“It absolutely fits in with something Bradford Breakthrough is doing which is trying to encourage more restaurants into the city centre to help drive the leisure economy, particularly the night-time economy.”

The early-stage plans will be discussed by councillors next week and if approval is given, will go out to public consultation.

John Eyles, major development manager at the Council, said the local authority would still need to be notified of any changes and building regulations would still need to be met for residential developments.

“But if you get more people living in the city centre, then they’ll shop in the city,” he said.

The flexibility is allowed under Local Development Orders (LDOs), which are promoted by the Government to promote growth by giving greater freedom from planning control locally.

Some uses would be exempt, such as hot food takeaways, arcades, betting shops and payday lenders.

Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “It seems like good news, but wherever you have a relaxation of the planning rules, we need to have something in place to maintain quality.”

She particularly welcomed plans to encourage more people to live in the city.

The Council’s Tory group leader, Glen Miller, had mixed thoughts on the plan which he thinks has not been thought through.

“Part of me thinks it’s a good idea, but part of me thinks why just Bradford city centre? We’ve a diverse district with places like Baildon, Bingley and Ilkley,” he said.

“It shouldn’t just be Bradford city centre the whole time.”

A report about the LDOs, which will be discussed by the Regulatory and Appeals Committee next Wednesday, says the proportion of empty shops in the Market Street area has been consistently low for many years, compared to the northern end of the city.

“The LDO aims to improve occupancy levels by easing planning restrictions for new and existing businesses. It will support the vitality and viability of the city centre by allowing flexible uses of existing and vacant premises in parts of the city centre,” it said.

The LDOs would be in place for three years.

Comments (22)

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12:08pm Thu 13 Feb 14

Albion. says...

It sounds like appeasement for the retrospective planning brigade. Roll on the bookies and bazaars.
It sounds like appeasement for the retrospective planning brigade. Roll on the bookies and bazaars. Albion.
  • Score: 3

12:20pm Thu 13 Feb 14

Joedavid says...

Is that an old photo?
Is that an old photo? Joedavid
  • Score: -1

12:52pm Thu 13 Feb 14

tinytoonster says...

nice one, fast food, phone and pound shops.
just what we need to draw me in!!
let them open anything, what a joke.
as anybody counted the fast food outlets down manchester rd and gt horton rd?
how can they make money?
i know council does not care how they grab their taxes but please at least make us want to browse the city centre!
its anywhere but bradford at the moment!
nice one, fast food, phone and pound shops. just what we need to draw me in!! let them open anything, what a joke. as anybody counted the fast food outlets down manchester rd and gt horton rd? how can they make money? i know council does not care how they grab their taxes but please at least make us want to browse the city centre! its anywhere but bradford at the moment! tinytoonster
  • Score: 0

1:40pm Thu 13 Feb 14

bcfc1903 says...

What a numpty Glen Miller is, this fool wanted to sell the Bradford council silver and art, basically Bradford's heritage, maybe if he stuck to playing the trombone we'd get more sense out of him.

Yet another great Idea coming from City hall, well done council leader Green and the rest of the administration.
What a numpty Glen Miller is, this fool wanted to sell the Bradford council silver and art, basically Bradford's heritage, maybe if he stuck to playing the trombone we'd get more sense out of him. Yet another great Idea coming from City hall, well done council leader Green and the rest of the administration. bcfc1903
  • Score: 10

1:52pm Thu 13 Feb 14

basil fawlty says...

Sounds like a good idea. If it doesn't work it will be easy to scrap it, so not much harm in trying it. As long as we don't end up with the ludicrous situation where new flats are created but then the owners start objecting to late night revellers frequenting the bars and restaurants.
Sounds like a good idea. If it doesn't work it will be easy to scrap it, so not much harm in trying it. As long as we don't end up with the ludicrous situation where new flats are created but then the owners start objecting to late night revellers frequenting the bars and restaurants. basil fawlty
  • Score: 5

2:13pm Thu 13 Feb 14

mad matt says...

Flats above shops? OK, that would somewhat improve security in the town centre but if the residents are car owners, where would they be able to park?
As for shops, do they mean REAL shops that could attract more footfall, or will it just be more Phone shops, pound shops, fast-food outlets and betting shops?
Flats above shops? OK, that would somewhat improve security in the town centre but if the residents are car owners, where would they be able to park? As for shops, do they mean REAL shops that could attract more footfall, or will it just be more Phone shops, pound shops, fast-food outlets and betting shops? mad matt
  • Score: 11

2:20pm Thu 13 Feb 14

Avro says...

Just make sure they all have te right kind of shutter before they set up shop!
Just make sure they all have te right kind of shutter before they set up shop! Avro
  • Score: 5

2:27pm Thu 13 Feb 14

sorrow&anger says...

Provided that they're sensible shops and not junk then this is a really good idea. It'd be nice to see some live/work units for craftsmen.

What with this and the Kirkgate Square it's amazing how things are moving along now that Bara's left. Poor old Bristol.
Provided that they're sensible shops and not junk then this is a really good idea. It'd be nice to see some live/work units for craftsmen. What with this and the Kirkgate Square it's amazing how things are moving along now that Bara's left. Poor old Bristol. sorrow&anger
  • Score: 4

3:08pm Thu 13 Feb 14

mad matt says...

Avro wrote:
Just make sure they all have te right kind of shutter before they set up shop!
Oh yes, like the ones in Ivegate that the council don't like! I think that was in yesterdays paper.
[quote][p][bold]Avro[/bold] wrote: Just make sure they all have te right kind of shutter before they set up shop![/p][/quote]Oh yes, like the ones in Ivegate that the council don't like! I think that was in yesterdays paper. mad matt
  • Score: 5

3:26pm Thu 13 Feb 14

aje2010 says...

Good positive news. Yes building regs and guidelines will need to be followed but with news of Westfield, this could lead business and residents towards the city centre.
Good positive news. Yes building regs and guidelines will need to be followed but with news of Westfield, this could lead business and residents towards the city centre. aje2010
  • Score: 7

3:30pm Thu 13 Feb 14

aje2010 says...

tinytoonster wrote:
nice one, fast food, phone and pound shops.
just what we need to draw me in!!
let them open anything, what a joke.
as anybody counted the fast food outlets down manchester rd and gt horton rd?
how can they make money?
i know council does not care how they grab their taxes but please at least make us want to browse the city centre!
its anywhere but bradford at the moment!
You may have missed some parts of the article

The early-stage plans will be discussed by councillors next week and if approval is given, will go out to public consultation.

John Eyles, major development manager at the Council, said the local authority would still need to be notified of any changes and building regulations would still need to be met for residential developments.

Some uses would be exempt, such as hot food takeaways, arcades, betting shops and payday lenders.
[quote][p][bold]tinytoonster[/bold] wrote: nice one, fast food, phone and pound shops. just what we need to draw me in!! let them open anything, what a joke. as anybody counted the fast food outlets down manchester rd and gt horton rd? how can they make money? i know council does not care how they grab their taxes but please at least make us want to browse the city centre! its anywhere but bradford at the moment![/p][/quote]You may have missed some parts of the article The early-stage plans will be discussed by councillors next week and if approval is given, will go out to public consultation. John Eyles, major development manager at the Council, said the local authority would still need to be notified of any changes and building regulations would still need to be met for residential developments. Some uses would be exempt, such as hot food takeaways, arcades, betting shops and payday lenders. aje2010
  • Score: 9

3:44pm Thu 13 Feb 14

tinytoonster says...

aje2010 wrote:
tinytoonster wrote:
nice one, fast food, phone and pound shops.
just what we need to draw me in!!
let them open anything, what a joke.
as anybody counted the fast food outlets down manchester rd and gt horton rd?
how can they make money?
i know council does not care how they grab their taxes but please at least make us want to browse the city centre!
its anywhere but bradford at the moment!
You may have missed some parts of the article

The early-stage plans will be discussed by councillors next week and if approval is given, will go out to public consultation.

John Eyles, major development manager at the Council, said the local authority would still need to be notified of any changes and building regulations would still need to be met for residential developments.

Some uses would be exempt, such as hot food takeaways, arcades, betting shops and payday lenders.
so how come a new one pops up every week!
they dont need permission, look at the bazaars!
[quote][p][bold]aje2010[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]tinytoonster[/bold] wrote: nice one, fast food, phone and pound shops. just what we need to draw me in!! let them open anything, what a joke. as anybody counted the fast food outlets down manchester rd and gt horton rd? how can they make money? i know council does not care how they grab their taxes but please at least make us want to browse the city centre! its anywhere but bradford at the moment![/p][/quote]You may have missed some parts of the article The early-stage plans will be discussed by councillors next week and if approval is given, will go out to public consultation. John Eyles, major development manager at the Council, said the local authority would still need to be notified of any changes and building regulations would still need to be met for residential developments. Some uses would be exempt, such as hot food takeaways, arcades, betting shops and payday lenders.[/p][/quote]so how come a new one pops up every week! they dont need permission, look at the bazaars! tinytoonster
  • Score: -6

4:57pm Thu 13 Feb 14

WISE OLD WALTER says...

Avro wrote:
Just make sure they all have te right kind of shutter before they set up shop!
Try watching the video.
[quote][p][bold]Avro[/bold] wrote: Just make sure they all have te right kind of shutter before they set up shop![/p][/quote]Try watching the video. WISE OLD WALTER
  • Score: 4

4:59pm Thu 13 Feb 14

WISE OLD WALTER says...

sorrow&anger wrote:
Provided that they're sensible shops and not junk then this is a really good idea. It'd be nice to see some live/work units for craftsmen.

What with this and the Kirkgate Square it's amazing how things are moving along now that Bara's left. Poor old Bristol.
Makes you think doesn't it.
[quote][p][bold]sorrow&anger[/bold] wrote: Provided that they're sensible shops and not junk then this is a really good idea. It'd be nice to see some live/work units for craftsmen. What with this and the Kirkgate Square it's amazing how things are moving along now that Bara's left. Poor old Bristol.[/p][/quote]Makes you think doesn't it. WISE OLD WALTER
  • Score: 6

6:59pm Thu 13 Feb 14

we'recitynotbradford says...

How old are those photos? 2003?
How old are those photos? 2003? we'recitynotbradford
  • Score: 2

7:21pm Thu 13 Feb 14

graham hopkinson says...

i just don't believe that fast track and Bradford planning could be in the same sentence. i think someone is having a laugh.
i just don't believe that fast track and Bradford planning could be in the same sentence. i think someone is having a laugh. graham hopkinson
  • Score: 7

7:31pm Thu 13 Feb 14

graham hopkinson says...

Bradford missed its chance,it should have left the lights on in 1945 the luftwaffe could have done the job in one night, its taken the Bradford council just under seventy years to do the same. well done Bradford council.
Bradford missed its chance,it should have left the lights on in 1945 the luftwaffe could have done the job in one night, its taken the Bradford council just under seventy years to do the same. well done Bradford council. graham hopkinson
  • Score: 4

8:33pm Thu 13 Feb 14

collos25 says...

The council are now pulling at straws they have no other weapons in their arsenal and with a big name likely to pull out of a large project in the city they are like the nowhere man in the film Yellow submarine.
The council are now pulling at straws they have no other weapons in their arsenal and with a big name likely to pull out of a large project in the city they are like the nowhere man in the film Yellow submarine. collos25
  • Score: -5

8:34pm Thu 13 Feb 14

alive and awake says...

Sorry but off topic, just read about George Galloway pretending he knows Bradford. Asking about flood defence and preparation. He has not got a clue.
Worried about property at the side of the Beck in Frizinghall? Every now and again he lets us know he is back in the Country. Roll on the next election.
Sorry but off topic, just read about George Galloway pretending he knows Bradford. Asking about flood defence and preparation. He has not got a clue. Worried about property at the side of the Beck in Frizinghall? Every now and again he lets us know he is back in the Country. Roll on the next election. alive and awake
  • Score: -2

3:11am Fri 14 Feb 14

justjustice says...

Even if this allows more shops to open, how long will they be there for? From what I last heard the business rates are ridiculous, it wouldnt be long until most would have to close down as they arent making enough money.
Even if this allows more shops to open, how long will they be there for? From what I last heard the business rates are ridiculous, it wouldnt be long until most would have to close down as they arent making enough money. justjustice
  • Score: -1

8:46am Fri 14 Feb 14

SinnerSaint says...

It isn't glamorous living in a flat over a shop so you end up with tenants who either don't care or have no choice. The flats above shops will end up occupied by Eastern Europeans like they are in some areas of London. They congregate in the doorways on the street smoking and drinking cans of strong Eastern European beer.

Very intimidating and just what we need.
It isn't glamorous living in a flat over a shop so you end up with tenants who either don't care or have no choice. The flats above shops will end up occupied by Eastern Europeans like they are in some areas of London. They congregate in the doorways on the street smoking and drinking cans of strong Eastern European beer. Very intimidating and just what we need. SinnerSaint
  • Score: 2

3:57pm Fri 14 Feb 14

tabster says...

Bradford ruling counselors should be fed to pigs!!! They have ruined this city!!!
Bradford ruling counselors should be fed to pigs!!! They have ruined this city!!! tabster
  • Score: 1

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