The forlorn site of a mothballed shopping development has become the unlikely scene of a passionate piece of poetry.

A mystery poet, dubbed the ‘Bard of Broadway’, has daubed 18 lines of rhyming verse on the hoardings that surround the site of Westfield’s stalled Broadway shopping centre scheme.

The poem, in its own subtle way, leaves people walking along Church Bank in little doubt that there is no rhyme nor reason to the ongoing delays to the £320 million development.

In February, Westfield said it would definitely not be starting construction work on the scheme this year due to the credit crunch, but insisted it would not walk away from Bradford and would continue with pre-development work.

Now poetry has become the latest outlet for the mounting frustration among Bradfordians, who have seen the so-called “hole in the ground” go from bad to verse.

The work is notable for the poet’s decision to rhyme the word ‘dollar’ with ‘tomorrow’ – a rhyme that might not work so well outside Yorkshire!

Mary Frame, of Bradford Chamber of Trade, said: “This poem is very, very good. We have got a bard in out midst. In fact, the Bard of Broadway sounds quite good.

“There’s a lot of truth in that poem and you have to be amused. Put it this way, if you weren’t amused, you could probably get quite upset about the whole Broadway situation because nothing seems to be happening.

“Hopefully this poem will do some good and stir the hearts of the city fathers.”

Anthony Mann, chairman of Bradford Civic Society, said: “I think it’s very apt and succinct.

“It’s a hot topic, but it wouldn’t be such a hot topic if something was actually happening on that site.

“The public have got a right to be upset, angry and annoyed and this poem is just another expression of that anger.

“Good graffiti is actually acclaimed as artwork these days and, in this case, I thoroughly approve of it.”

In recent weeks, an increasing amount of graffiti has appeared on the hoardings that surround the site, much of it somewhat less subtle than the Bard’s scribblings.

The boards contain several adverts promoting the shopping centre scheme, including one which shows three young women enjoying a cup of coffee together with the slogan ‘Good Times’. Underneath, someone has simply written “When?”


What the poet wrote:

Westfield’s hole in the ground, is very big and sort of round.

It took so long to prepare, for something that was never there.

The Council splashed a great success, a certain sighting on Loch Ness, then a shopping mall or two, now the monster joke’s on you.

Doctor who regenerates, Bradford’s butchered cityscape, pave paradise for an Aussie dollar, then rip us off again tomorrow

Grass and parkland, that’s the way, Don’t dilly dally, don’t delay.

Tomorrow is another year, Westfield’s hole must disappear.