Rumours that Westfield will not start construction work on the Broadway shopping scheme until late 2010 have been strongly denied.

Last week a construction trade magazine claimed the Australian developer had started a “wave of redundancies” as the economic downturn took its toll.

The magazine said it “understood” Westfield had put back the start date of three UK schemes, including the £320m Bradford development, as well as the £700m Nottingham Broadmarsh project and a £140m extension to The Friary in Guildford.

One source close to the company was quoted as saying construction work would not start on these schemes until the “back end of 2010.”

But today, Councillor Adrian Naylor, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, described the article as “nonsense”.

He said: “When I saw this article, I spoke to Westfield straight away and there is absolutely no truth in the supposition that any of the shopping centres mentioned in the article will be delayed.

“It’s still my hope that the Bradford scheme will be progressed as soon as is practically possible. I am aware that work is going on to secure local as well as national retailers to take space in the scheme. Because of that, I have confidence that the scheme is progressing.”

A Westfield spokesman said: “We have not put these projects on hold. We have active teams involved on them and they are all in pre-development. We continue to progress them by seeking pre-lets and meeting other development goals.

“We remain committed to all of our developments in the UK and we will ensure that we have the appropriate level of resources to maintain and focus on all of them. Following the completion of Westfield London we are currently reviewing our resource levels. We are currently in the middle of a consultation period so it is too early to confirm the full outcome at this stage.

“However, some reductions to our current staffing levels are anticipated.”

With Westfield being an Australian company, it is thought that the weak pound could mean the time is ripe for Westfield to begin construction work on UK projects because of the potential for reduced building costs.

And there are signs that Westfield is stepping up its preparation for construction work. Local retailers who are looking to move into the Broadway centre are now being contacted two or three times a week by Westfield as the company attempts to finalise deals.

e-mail: will.kilner