Planners given go-ahead for Bradford's underground shopping arcade

Planners given go-ahead for Bradford's underground shopping arcade

Graham Hall at the entrance of the Sunbridge Wells arcade which has received planning permission

Graham Hall with the artwork at the tunnel entrance

TUNNEL VISION: Graham Hall at the entrance to the underground arcade

Planners given go-ahead for Bradford's underground shopping arcade

An artist's impression of what the the arcade will look like

An artist's impression of what the the arcade will look like

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

AMBITIOUS plans to create a shopping arcade, bars and cafes in centuries old tunnels and "dungeons" beneath Bradford have been given the go ahead by Bradford Council.

The Victorian style underground shopping centre will include 12 shops, two bars and a restaurant, as well as market stalls, and could be open by the end of the year.

The brainchild of Graham Hall, of Yeadon based developers Sunbridge Wells, the privately-funded, £1 million development will be built underneath Sunbridge Road, Upper Millergate and Ivegate, with an entrance at the back of City Park.

The tunnel was once used as a nightclub and music venue but has been vacant for decades.

Local artist Trafford Parsons is creating art pieces at the tunnel's entrance, and when complete a small part of the tunnel will be open for the public to see while work commences further down. This is expected to happen in about six weeks' time.

Although the tunnels were thought to date back to the Victorian period, council archaeologists who were asked to look at the application said: "The site includes opening up spaces that have been previously inaccessible, particularly to the public, for many years and possibly centuries. These include dungeons dating back at least to the early 1700s."

Mr Hall said: "It is brilliant news that we have been given planning permission, and I'd really like to thank the planners for how efficient they've been.

"We've already got two potential operators who are interested in running the bars. There will be 12 shops, one restaurant, two bars and 20 flea market style stalls.

"We really hope that this becomes a tourist attraction, you can't get anything like this anywhere else."

When complete, there will be Victorian-style units running along the tunnel's internal street with a large glass area above.

A courtyard will have an open-plan glass and steel staircase leading to Upper Miller Gate, designed to bring light to the tunnel system, covered by a Victorian-style atrium entrance and exit to the shopping area below.

The project has been designed to be attractive to young entrepreneurs.

Approving the application under delegated powers, planning officer Mark Hutchinson said: "In this economic environment, the proposal offers the prospect of investment in an important location.

Cllr Susan Hinchliffe, portfolio holder for regeneration at Bradford Council, said: "It's an initiative which has really captured people's imaginations and another sign of regenerated interest in the city centre. Now the owners have been given planning permission, I look forward to seeing Sunbridge Wells start to take shape."

Mr Hall said he hoped to have the development open by the end of the year or early January.

Comments (17)

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9:40am Sat 16 Aug 14

BertSanders says...

I hope the vision is a huge sucess. I would have thought Bradford already has too many shops and it is not an attractive place to visit Good luck
I hope the vision is a huge sucess. I would have thought Bradford already has too many shops and it is not an attractive place to visit Good luck BertSanders
  • Score: 18

10:30am Sat 16 Aug 14

Bikerbeardy says...

I really hope this works, I may have reason to enter Bradford once again
I really hope this works, I may have reason to enter Bradford once again Bikerbeardy
  • Score: 34

11:23am Sat 16 Aug 14

Mik_e says...

Dreamers, Bradford has far too many empty shops already. The city centre is not a nice place to visit, full of drunks, drug addicts and anti-social types.
Dreamers, Bradford has far too many empty shops already. The city centre is not a nice place to visit, full of drunks, drug addicts and anti-social types. Mik_e
  • Score: -25

11:48am Sat 16 Aug 14

Albion. says...

Good luck with it, you'll need to offer things that none of the other city shops do.
Good luck with it, you'll need to offer things that none of the other city shops do. Albion.
  • Score: 22

11:58am Sat 16 Aug 14

doubledigiter says...

think you're right mike - they may as well just not bother even trying then had they?
honestly comments like yours infuriate me. any time anyone comes along and wants to invest in bradford and try and make it a little bit better people like you post negative comments like this. it's almost like you really really want bradford to stay standing still and not even try to make itself better. so this venture may fail. or it may be a success. it may just attract extra visitors, it will create additional employment and hopefully provide further economical benefits for the city. we won't know unless it's tried. alternatively we could just not bother as you seem to think is a good idea and we could leave it to you to decide the best way forward to regenerate the city. perhaps you could invest a million pounds of your own?
think you're right mike - they may as well just not bother even trying then had they? honestly comments like yours infuriate me. any time anyone comes along and wants to invest in bradford and try and make it a little bit better people like you post negative comments like this. it's almost like you really really want bradford to stay standing still and not even try to make itself better. so this venture may fail. or it may be a success. it may just attract extra visitors, it will create additional employment and hopefully provide further economical benefits for the city. we won't know unless it's tried. alternatively we could just not bother as you seem to think is a good idea and we could leave it to you to decide the best way forward to regenerate the city. perhaps you could invest a million pounds of your own? doubledigiter
  • Score: 65

12:52pm Sat 16 Aug 14

zakenterprises says...

Congratulations to Sunbridge Wells, I wish them well and hopefully if they can get it open and running before Christmas it will be superb.

There is nothing like this concept that I'm aware of and having this underground theme of shops bars and market stalls can only help bring in tourism to Bradford.
Congratulations to Sunbridge Wells, I wish them well and hopefully if they can get it open and running before Christmas it will be superb. There is nothing like this concept that I'm aware of and having this underground theme of shops bars and market stalls can only help bring in tourism to Bradford. zakenterprises
  • Score: 43

1:46pm Sat 16 Aug 14

tallulah says...

Depends what type of shops? another Bazaar perhaps???
Depends what type of shops? another Bazaar perhaps??? tallulah
  • Score: -21

3:09pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Out of site says...

tallulah wrote:
Depends what type of shops? another Bazaar perhaps???
Bradford is a bazaar.
[quote][p][bold]tallulah[/bold] wrote: Depends what type of shops? another Bazaar perhaps???[/p][/quote]Bradford is a bazaar. Out of site
  • Score: -11

4:07pm Sat 16 Aug 14

llos25 says...

Wait till H&S get their hands on the plans it will cost more than bradfords worth.
Wait till H&S get their hands on the plans it will cost more than bradfords worth. llos25
  • Score: -15

12:30am Sun 17 Aug 14

mrs walker says...

I love this - Bradford seems to be championing the quirky, interesting stuff that it had in bucketloads 25 years ago, before an out-of-touch (Tory!) council decided to play giant monopoly with our venues, culture and heritage. I'm willing it to succeed and will do my best to support it when it opens.
I love this - Bradford seems to be championing the quirky, interesting stuff that it had in bucketloads 25 years ago, before an out-of-touch (Tory!) council decided to play giant monopoly with our venues, culture and heritage. I'm willing it to succeed and will do my best to support it when it opens. mrs walker
  • Score: 8

12:47am Sun 17 Aug 14

Shipleyvegas says...

This is great news shame the bradford one development didn't get the same council support

wonder why???
This is great news shame the bradford one development didn't get the same council support wonder why??? Shipleyvegas
  • Score: -1

8:36am Sun 17 Aug 14

fedupwiththeBS says...

I hope that this is a success, ideally if we can attract the same type of retailers that the Trinity Centre in Leeds has, we might give this city a fighting chance.

There are two new clubs planned for the west end as well.
I hope that this is a success, ideally if we can attract the same type of retailers that the Trinity Centre in Leeds has, we might give this city a fighting chance. There are two new clubs planned for the west end as well. fedupwiththeBS
  • Score: 10

11:13am Sun 17 Aug 14

Daedalus9 says...

Interesting idea if Mr Hall has the money necessary to fund this. £1m !!! I think not. It will be hugely expensive and I cannot believe this idea will get past the Health and Safety and Fire people.
Interesting idea if Mr Hall has the money necessary to fund this. £1m !!! I think not. It will be hugely expensive and I cannot believe this idea will get past the Health and Safety and Fire people. Daedalus9
  • Score: -7

12:37pm Sun 17 Aug 14

MrQuinque says...

Shipleyvegas wrote:
This is great news shame the bradford one development didn't get the same council support

wonder why???
Because they didn't show any realistic method as to how they'd raise the money to renovate the building, made unrealistic claims about how much they'd profit/re-invest, wanted to run a community centre in a building with 5 bars, decided it would be a brilliant idea to put a residential block right next to a late night music venue and to top it all wanted to be given the building by the council before doing anything else.
[quote][p][bold]Shipleyvegas[/bold] wrote: This is great news shame the bradford one development didn't get the same council support wonder why???[/p][/quote]Because they didn't show any realistic method as to how they'd raise the money to renovate the building, made unrealistic claims about how much they'd profit/re-invest, wanted to run a community centre in a building with 5 bars, decided it would be a brilliant idea to put a residential block right next to a late night music venue and to top it all wanted to be given the building by the council before doing anything else. MrQuinque
  • Score: 7

12:41pm Sun 17 Aug 14

MrQuinque says...

Daedalus9 wrote:
Interesting idea if Mr Hall has the money necessary to fund this. £1m !!! I think not. It will be hugely expensive and I cannot believe this idea will get past the Health and Safety and Fire people.
Mr Hall is a professional property developer who has already spent a considerable amount of his own money to clear and survey the site and prepare the planning submission, I think he knows what he's doing.
[quote][p][bold]Daedalus9[/bold] wrote: Interesting idea if Mr Hall has the money necessary to fund this. £1m !!! I think not. It will be hugely expensive and I cannot believe this idea will get past the Health and Safety and Fire people.[/p][/quote]Mr Hall is a professional property developer who has already spent a considerable amount of his own money to clear and survey the site and prepare the planning submission, I think he knows what he's doing. MrQuinque
  • Score: 13

12:41pm Sun 17 Aug 14

MrQuinque says...

Daedalus9 wrote:
Interesting idea if Mr Hall has the money necessary to fund this. £1m !!! I think not. It will be hugely expensive and I cannot believe this idea will get past the Health and Safety and Fire people.
Mr Hall is a professional property developer who has already spent a considerable amount of his own money to clear and survey the site and prepare the planning submission, I think he knows what he's doing.
[quote][p][bold]Daedalus9[/bold] wrote: Interesting idea if Mr Hall has the money necessary to fund this. £1m !!! I think not. It will be hugely expensive and I cannot believe this idea will get past the Health and Safety and Fire people.[/p][/quote]Mr Hall is a professional property developer who has already spent a considerable amount of his own money to clear and survey the site and prepare the planning submission, I think he knows what he's doing. MrQuinque
  • Score: 5

1:00pm Sun 17 Aug 14

Wyke 1981 says...

It's different and quirky so it just might work if sensible rents are charged. Good luck with it Graham!!!
It's different and quirky so it just might work if sensible rents are charged. Good luck with it Graham!!! Wyke 1981
  • Score: 17

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