Bradford Urban Garden will close on Monday so construction work can start on the city’s long-awaited £260 million shopping centre.
Signs were placed at entrances to the temporary landscaped space, on the site of the new Broadway retail development, yesterday.
The 11,000sq ft park, with grassed areas, wild flower meadows and pathways across the city, was created in August 2010 after initial work on the project stopped.
Shorlty before Christmas, Australian developer Westfield announced that construction would start early in January after all legal documents meaning the scheme would definitely go ahead were signed.
Last night, a Westfield spokesman said: “The commencement of the construction works marks a major milestone in the delivery of the shopping centre and the future of Bradford’s retail landscape.
“The shopping centre will provide a significant economic boost to the city creating thousands of jobs in both the construction phase and on completion. From Monday, we will be able to see the development begin to take shape.”
The start of major construction works follows a two-month period of essential preparatory works for the centre which is estimated to create 1,500 construction jobs and 2,500 new retail jobs for Bradford.
Bradford Council leader David Green said: “This will be the first major sign of the main construction work starting and it’s what we said would happen.”
On Monday, Westfield hoardings will go up around the site to ensure it is safe and secure so that the building work can start. Six large wooden planters have been removed from the garden and will be placed in the Prince of Wales Park, Bingley; Holden Park, Oakworth: St Ives Estate, Bingley; Northcliffe Park, Shipley; via Sustainable Shipley and Harold Park, Low Moor. The gazebo in the centre of the garden has also been moved to the Bradford Apple Group community orchard at Bowling Park.
The shopping centre, which will include high street names including Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, River Island and WH Smith, is scheduled to open in December 2015.
Westfield acquired the site from developer Stannifer in 2004 with hopes of opening the shopping centre in 2007, but work stalled and then stopped due to the economic downturn.
In 2011 the company submitted revised plans for a scaled-down development.