Workers starting on the city’s £260 million shopping centre were yesterday digging up grassed areas of the Bradford Urban Garden.

The landscaped area was created on an 11,000sq ft section of the Broadway site in August 2010 to give it a temporary community use after previous construction halted.

Developer Westfield and investor Meyer Bergman announced in December that all paperwork had been signed meaning the scheme must go-ahead and the urban garden was closed on Monday.

Since then wooden fencing surrounding it has been removed to make way for hoardings which will close off the site.

Next week more of the garden is expected to be dug up, ready for piling rigs to arrive on site on about January 20.

The visible start of work has been welcomed by the city’s Chamber of Trade, councillors, MPs, the Prime Minister and the general manager of the neighbouring Midland Hotel, Gary Peacock.

He said: “It’s great news for us and for the city centre at long last – it’s nothing more than we deserve.”

The Australian developer took on the site in 2004.