CITY Hall's doors will stay shut during this year's National Heritage Open Day because it is too expensive to open on a Saturday.

A Bradford Council spokesman confirmed spending cuts meant the local authority could not justify backing the event, which has traditionally brought in crowds of weekend visitors from near and far.

A spokesman said: "Unfortunately due to significant budget cuts the Council is not able to justify the cost of organising, promoting and hosting the Heritage Open Day in City Hall this year."

However, the Council will be running weekday 'Sneaky Peak Tours' offering a behind the scenes look on Wednesday afternoons from August 6 to September 10 and Thursday mornings from August 7 to September 11 this year.

The Council spokesman added: "The volunteers from the 'Sneaky Peak Tours' may consider supporting Heritage Open Days in City Hall in the future. However, at this moment in time, it is too early in the project to confirm this possibility."

Chairman of Bradford Civic Society Alan Hall said scrapping City Hall as an official Heritage Open Day venue was "false economy."

He added: "It's a missed opportunity to put Bradford on the map nationally. If people are denied that chance to come and see it on a Saturday when people can travel from outside the area and are not at work, is at best a great shame but at worse it's short-sightedness. It's false economy.

"Every time someone walks through those doors, it re-enforces their view of Bradford. It is an incredible building and to not open it as part of the Heritage Days national programme is to miss out on the chance to showcase it. Anything that raises the profile of our city should be embraced."

He said City Hall was built at a time when Bradford had a lot of self-confidence but added: "You get the feeling now from the Council that if they had to build a new city hall it would probably be a corrugated shed because they don't have the same self-confidence their forefathers had - it is a big injection of self confidence that this city needs."

However, Bradford Council's culture portfolio holder, Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, said there were still plans to open up City Hall on that day but in a different format.

She said: "Bradford's Museums, Libraries and Theatres across the Bradford District will be taking part in National Heritage Open Day on September 13. We are still planning the activities but will announce details nearer the time.

"As for City Hall we are now running Sneaky Peak tours round City Hall twice a week over the summer. We are also planning on running a Sneaky Peak tour on Heritage Open Day on Saturday, September 13."

The Telegraph & Argus understands the tours will not operate throughout the whole day from 10am to 5pm like former Heritage Open Days.