Firms invited to Bradford Growth Zone day

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Council leader David Green Council leader David Green

Business owners and entrepreneurs have been invited to a summit this week so they can find out how they can benefit from Bradford’s City Centre Growth Zone.

Established last year, the growth zone has committed more than £3 million in business rate rebates to new businesses moving into the city centre or existing ones taking on extra staff.

Now businesses in the zone can apply for grants to improve their building or to buy equipment.

The Council’s chief executive Tony Reeves and Council leader David Green will speak about the development opportunities and financial incentives on offer in the city centre at the National Media Museum on Thursday.

And the authority is also encouraging more businesses to put forward ideas for the former Odeon cinema which is now in its ownership.

Councillor David Green said: “Bradford’s city centre is set to transform over the next few years. An additional 2,800 jobs are being created through the city’s £35 million City Centre Growth Zone and Westfield’s new 570,000 sq ft shopping centre.”

Meanwhile, MP George Galloway (Respect, Bradford West) has described Bradford city centre as an “unplanned mess” and suggested ‘Queen of Shops’ Mary Portas be drafted into to save it.

The Respect MP wants a task force set up to revive the heart of the city and has called on Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to back it.

Mr Galloway has written to Mr Pickles, a former Bradford Council leader, to tell him that the city is suffering “more civic distress” than most other town and city centres in England.

“I’m sure the Secretary of State will be sympathetic to the argument. Let’s see if he back it with cash and commitment,” he said.

“The centre of Bradford is full of pound shops and bookmakers which simply underlines how poor the population is. But it’s all an unplanned mess in what should be the best and brightest part of the city.”

Coun Green challenged the MP to support the Council in its efforts to improve the city centre.

“It strikes me that, as opposed to actually wanting to engage with the Council and with local businesses who are in the process of regenerating the city centre, he is more interested in putting out press releases without recognising what is happening,” he said.

On Mr Galloway’s ‘pound shop and bookmakers’ comment, Coun Green said: “We have said it and we are looking to do something about it.

“Mr Galloway may wish to support our efforts and actively work in parliament to change planning legislation to restrict the numbers of any particular type of shop.”

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