A COUNCIL-backed Asian bazaar has proved a huge success since it opened at the start of the summer, with a 100 per cent occupancy rate.

The bazaar, at the former Rawson Market in Bradford city centre, opened early in June as the first ethnic bazaar to be supported by the local authority and has seen every one of the 112 stalls occupied.

The average occupancy rates for the Council's own markets in the city stands at 80 per cent.

Before the bazaar opened, Rawson Market had been empty since 2003. The bazaar had been based on Cemetery Road until 2012 when that site was re-developed as a new Asda store. When the Council decided to open an official ethnic bazaar in the city, it chose The Bazaar, which also operates markets in Rotherham and Leeds to run it.

Although the traders are mostly from the Asian community the market is open to all.

Manager Hassan Ali said work was ongoing to build a mezzanine floor in the building to allow more stalls.

He added: "There are no empty stalls in the market, we have people waiting to get a stall here. Our busiest days seem to be on Saturday and Sunday and it will probably get busier as more and more people realise we're here, because we haven't been in the city for 18 months.

"The majority of our traders are from Bradford, but we have a few from places like Leeds. We were extremely busy on Eid."

As well as the stalls there is also a beauty parlour, tailors and cafe.

A Council spokesman said: "We are pleased that the Asian bazaar is trading well and attracting customers into this part of the city centre, which can only be a good thing for our markets and the surrounding retail businesses."

The authority is now considering different options for the other two city markets, Oastler and Kirkgate, with traders being asked their views and an outside firm looking at the viability of the two markets. A decision on their future will be made in January.

Councillor Mohammed Shabbir first raised the idea of a Council-owned Asian bazaar last year, saying the authority should make the most of the popularity of that style of shopping with the city's Asian community.

He said: "I hope things continue there in a positive way.

"We need to make sure it integrates into the more coherent plan around the city's markets for when Westfield opens.

"The more variety our markets offer the better."

He said he would like even more diversity in city centre markets, adding: "We have a large Eastern European population, we need to make sure the markets are responsive to all communities needs and that they bring them into the city centre."