Westfield, the developer behind Bradford’s long-awaited Broadway shopping centre, is in detailed talks with a number of prospective retailers about signing up to the scheme.

The news comes as an application has been submitted to Bradford Council to amend the existing planning permission to allow Debenhams to expand its store plans and increase its sales floors from two to three.

Westfield has described Debenhams’ expansion as a “strong vote of confidence” in the development and the city.

Duncan Bower, Westfield’s director of development, said: “The opening of Debenhams will be the first department store in the city and the larger format store will offer the people of Bradford and its surrounding area a greater range of quality brands.

“There is strong momentum behind the Broadway development with Marks & Spencer and Next also having confirmed stores in the development and a number of other prospective retailers in detailed negotiations.

“The recent launch of the Bradford City Centre Growth Zone, which offers business rebates to new or expanding businesses, will also be a further incentive for retailers to expand in Bradford and capitalise on the untapped retail opportunity. Following the completion and opening of the new shopping centre, total retail sales in Bradford are expected to grow by more than 40 per cent to reach just under £1bn.”

Rob Hadfield, property director of Debenhams, said: “Bradford is a key part of our expansion plans in Yorkshire and the larger store will offer the community a more compelling reason to shop locally.”

In October, Westfield announced that work is expected to start on the £260 million shopping centre in the second half of next year following a deal designed to kick-start the project.

It was confirmed that the site was being sold to a specialist real estate investment management firm, London-based Meyer Bergman.

Meyer Bergman will own the site and will appoint Westfield to develop, design, construct and lease the new shopping centre. Westfield will also be appointed as property manager for the centre once it is completed.

Councillor David Green, leader of the Council, said: “Debenhams wanting to expand the size of its store in the Broadway development signals strong retailer confidence in Westfield and Bradford. There is huge demand and desire for great shopping in our city centre, which provides retailers with excellent trading opportunities.”

The Council’s planning application decision is expected early next year.