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Hopes of boost for city centre prospects
Bradford Council’s hope of boosting the city centre Growth Zone through the arrival of 2,000 workers from across the district has been met with some scepticism.
At the anniversary of the zone’s creation last week, chief executive Tony Reeves told business leaders and traders assembled at the National Media Museum that the city centre was an increasingly attractive investment proposition.
Mr Reeves said one positive result for city centre shops and traders had come from closing outlying Council offices, which meant that 1,000 staff had been relocated to the city centre and another 1,000 education and social care staff were to follow within the next month.
Mr Reeves added that the city was “the engine that drove the district’s economy”.
When asked at the meeting if there would be a parallel negative effect on district business, he said the relocated workers came from areas where there were few shops and they had tended to “eat in Council canteens or have packed lunches”.
Mr Reeves said: “The regeneration of the city centre is a key driver for improving the economy of the whole district, alongside investment and development in our major towns.
“The consolidation of the Council’s estate, including the selling of some Council offices and the reduction in leasing and running costs, has saved £29.4 million.”
Councillor Andrew Mallinson, Craven councillor and chairman of Bradford’s Regeneration and Economy Scrutiny Committee, said over-selling the importance of the city centre was a matter for concern.
Bingley Chamber of Trade chairman Howard Martin said he was fed up with hearing about the city centre. “Bingley is losing its swimming pool, but there’ll be a new one in Bradford centre, Bingley is losing its Council shop, but you can go into Bradford to pay your bills and tax.”
Bingley councillor and businessman John Pennington said he doubted the impact of council workers arriving in the city centre.
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