More than half the floorspace in the £320 million Westfield shopping centre on Broadway is now “spoken for” by retailers, with more expected to sign up soon.

A new report looking at work being carried out prior to construction starting says anchor tenants Marks & Spencer and Debenhams have now been joined by Next.

A spokesman for Westfield said: “2013 has seen solid momentum on the Bradford Broadway development with the signings of new retailers including Next, WHSmith, Vodafone and Phones 4U to join confirmed anchors Debenhams and Marks & Spencer.”

Those new signings are in addition to their existing city centre shops.

“Earlier this year, Westfield secured planning permission to create an additional third sales level for Debenhams and a number of new retailers are currently in contractual negotiations,” said the spokesman. “Since February this year, Westfield has submitted the required documentation to discharge all of the planning conditions which need to be discharged prior to start of construction.

“Of the pre-start conditions, only three remain to be discharged and it is expected that these will be discharged in mid October.

“The exact start date is still subject to finalising the remaining retailer contractual agreements. However, Westfield is working intensively with the relevant retailers to facilitate a start late in the fourth quarter of 2013.”

The report to the Regeneration and Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on Thursday, October 10, said: “Including prospective occupiers where solicitors have been instructed and where detailed heads of terms are in negotiation, over half of the proposed floor area is now spoken for.”

In terms of officially-confirmed tenants, contracts have been exchanged for 18,500 sq m of the total 53,000 sq m proposed centre, the report added.

More are expected to sign up soon thanks to the assistance from the Council’s Growth Zone business rate scheme, which is available to Westfield tenants along with the rest of the city centre. It is also reported that 2,500 retail jobs could eventually be created by the Westfield development.

The Council’s £35 million City Centre Growth Zone initiative uses money from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund to entice new and existing city centre businesses to open or expand and create new jobs.

Eligible firms can receive rate rebates if they demonstrate that they are creating new jobs in Bradford city centre.

The news comes days after business leaders from advocacy group Bradford Breakthrough tried to get more restaurant and leisure businesses to open around the Westfield site.

The aim is to create a ‘leisure hub’ around the Westfield centre, in areas such as Market Street.

Bradford Breakthrough says having more restaurants is vital to the regeneration of the city centre.