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Fowler & Oldfield director calls on traders to show their faith in Bradford
City centre retailers are putting their weight behind a bid to turn the area into an enterprise zone.
Becoming an enterprise zone will kickstart £1 billion of city centre projects and create more than 5,000 jobs, say Bradford Council’s regeneration chiefs.
Jeff Frankel, a director of Fowler & Oldfield The Jewellers, in Kirkgate, Bradford, said a successful bid would bring a wave of confidence back into the city.
He said his firm had already displayed its loyalty to Bradford after it re-opened last week following a £30,000 refurbishment.
He said: “Of course I’m in favour or anything that brings extra trade and interest to the city.
“If something like this goes well then people will have more confidence in the city centre and we have stated already our confidence in the city with our refurbishment.
“After saying ‘I’ve seen it all before’, if only one of the schemes come to actual fruition it will be of benefit.
“The traders are looking for anything that will help boost business and if this is the thing that’s going to do it then everyone will be 100 per cent behind it.
“What people don’t want of course is another false dawn.”
Mr Frankel also made a call to other retailers to show their faith in the city centre by investing in their businesses to improve the range of shops on offer.
He said: “Business was going down and we decided if we had this refurbishment to show our faith in Bradford we would get a return on our investment with hopefully the people of Bradford supporting us.
“If people want their businesses to expand they have got to be prepared to invest.
“But at the end of the day we are relying on the people of Bradford to support us because without their support the city centre will go down even further than it is now.
“Now, by doing what we have done, and if other people do the same, then we might encourage people to come back into Bradford.
“As shopkeepers we are reliant on the public – if the public don’t come to us whatever we do will not help.”
Rival bids have been submitted by three other authorities: Leeds City Council, Wakefield Council and Selby District Council.
The Leeds City Region LEP Board, which includes Bradford Council leader Ian Greenwood and John Parkin, chief executive of Leeds-Bradford International Airport, will make a decision on June 15 after recommendations from a private sector-led task group. That decision will then need Govern-ment ratification.
Mary Frame, of Bradford Chamber of Trade, said she hoped if Bradford was successful in its enterprise zone bid, it would also bring benefits to existing shops.
She said: “Anything that stimulates trade is welcome of course, but we need some investment to get shoppers back into Bradford because so many have drifted away and we need that stimulus to bring them back.
“The current shops have stuck by Bradford and, as Jeff is saying, they have invested in the premises again to entice people to come, so they need some reward for their efforts.”
- Read the full story in Monday's T&A