Bradford’s new city centre Growth Zone has scored an early success by enabling the opening of a new bistro and bar which will mean the ‘banana’ building in Centenary Square is again fully occupied.

Forsters Bistro & Deli, a 100-seat restaurant and bar, will open for business on Friday, December 7.

It is being opened by bosses at Forster Community College in Captain Street, near Bradford Cathedral, on the back of the success of a college-based bistro which opened in January as part of moves to reduce the college’s reliance on public funding.

The new bistro will use the premises previously occupied by Tulsi restaurant, which closed last year. It will create 16 full-time equivalent jobs and provide work experience and training opportunities for catering students at the college’s chefs’ academy.

General manager of the restaurant will be Marc Philpott, who trained at Harvey Nichols and has worked at the Create restaurant in Leeds. The head chef has been recruited from the four star Devere Oulton Hall hotel, near Leeds.

Alistair Griffin, business services manager at Forster Community College, said it had signed a 15-year lease with Leeds-based property development and investment company Rushbond plc.

He said: “We are delighted that we are expanding in Bradford city centre. We could have gone to Leeds, but wanted to develop the business in our home city. Help from the new Growth Zone has made this move possible and affordable.”

The £35 million Growth Zone, started this month by Bradford Council and half- funded by the Government, aims to boost skills and stimulate investment by providing rate rebates for job-creating new and existing businesses in a defined city centre area.

Mr Griffin said: “As well as being a commercial operation, the new Forsters Bistro will also enable us to provide work experience opportunities for our trainees at the college academy. There will also be nine apprenticeships at the bistro to which suitable students can aspire “As well as providing a new dining experience for the city, it will also provide hands-on experience for our students, training to boost the career path for some as well as new jobs.”

Bradford Council leader David Green said: “It will enhance the facilities around the City Park and also benefit from our support to boost training and employment.

“It demonstrates that the zone can help people with ideas who want to invest in Bradford and provide support to help bring their vision to fruition.”