The buzz and enthusiasm created by the work taking place on the city’s new shopping centre has taken Bradford Council’s leader by surprise.
Councillor David Green said he knew the Westfield development would generate massive interest in Bradford’s regeneration, but he was not prepared for the speed at which it would happen.
Work on the centre is running on time and budget, the developer’s head of design and construction said this morning.
During a tour of the site, Westfield’s Keith Whitmore said the construction was taking shape as the “giant Meccano” like steelworks were being built.
“We’re progressing really well and we’ve made a lot of headway since early January when we made a concerted start on site after the pre-site works that we did just before Christmas.
“We’ve got a busy site now, we’ve got over 200 people on site today. We’ve put in over 2,000 cubic meters of concrete since January, over 200 piles have gone in the ground since January, 700 tonnes of steel has gone up as of today and there’s more on its way. So things are progressing really, really well here on site. The weather’s not been too good to us, but nevertheless we’ve still made really good progress,” he said.
Outside of the construction, many key retailers have signed-up for the centre, including Debenhams, Marks and Spencer, Topshop, Topman and River Island, he added.
“We’re on schedule and we’re going well and we hope to keep this good progress up throughout the project,” Mr Whitmore said.
Coun Green added: “It’s great to come on site, this is the first time I’ve actually been on the site since January. To see the progress that’s going on, to see the employment that you can see on site. The job creation and the buzz that it being created by this development with further developments coming off it for the city centre is something that’s been quite remarkable.
“We always knew that we would get further interest in the regeneration of Bradford on back of Westfield starting, but the speed and the enthusiasm that people are coming forward looking to develop other parts of the city centre, has I think surprised us.”
Steelworks to build the framework of the centre will take about another 18 weeks to complete before floors and walls start to be added.
The centre is due to open by December 2015.