The Government approval for Bradford’s City Centre Growth Zone project is a major step forward that could now help to kickstart long-awaited regeneration.
This time next week a rate-relief scheme will be in place to make the city centre a much more attractive proposition to new businesses, especially retail outlets.
All those who have been instrumental in putting together this package and lobbying the government to rubber-stamp it deserve congratulations, and now the framework is in place the momentum must be maintained to work even harder on getting investment into Bradford.
The number of vacant shops in the city centre is off-putting to both shoppers and retailers, and anything that can be done to get them filled with the sort of businesses that Bradford city centre needs – shops, cafes, bars – is vital.
With work mooted to begin on the long-delayed Broadway shopping centre early next year, the Growth Zone could well be the extra kick the city centre needs, to make the Westfield site more attractive to prospective tenants and to ensure the rest of the city centre doesn’t fail if the retail focus does indeed shift towards Broadway.
As welcome as the news is, this is one part of a larger regeneration jigsaw, the pieces of which are only just coming together to signify a sea-change in Bradford’s fortunes.
The Growth Zone, Westfield and the City Park together add up to a potentially potent regeneration package which will, with a following wind and a lot of hard work to be done by the Council, ensure that Bradford finally gets moving in the right direction.