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Day of huge importance in city’s history
Now there is no going back.
And the legal agreement it has now signed means that there is finally a guarantee in place that the long-awaited shopping centre development for Bradford will happen.
That agreement has huge significance not just for this development but for the future of the city of Bradford, and it is a further sign that things are finally looking up.
The firm has always said work would begin once the recession showed signs of levelling out, when retail firms start looking for new investments, and that is what is now happening.
The city’s patience has undoubtedly been sorely tested by the presence of the so-called “hole” but now is the time to look forward, not backwards.
Bradford Council has held its nerve; it would have been easy for councillors and officers – and indeed for this newspaper – to bluster and criticise Westfield constantly over the long delays. That would have achieved nothing, and may have frightened potential investors away.
Instead, it has acted responsibly, often in the face of huge criticism, to work with Westfield to ensure the development eventually came to fruition.
There will be those who will still talk down the plans, and today’s news is unlikely to appease all the naysayers, not least because Westfield will narrowly miss hitting its self-imposed deadline of construction starting in 2013 – but only by a whisker.
The simple fact is that this announcement means today is one of the most important days in the city’s recent history and truly marks the beginning of the revival of Bradford’s struggling retail sector.