Scrapping courts plan short-sighted

First published in Our View by

It is extremely disappointing that the ambitious plans to move the city’s magistrates’ court away from City Park to a new purpose- built courts complex in Exchange Square have finally been scrapped.

The decision, it must be said, seems very short-sighted; giving up on the bid to move the court away from the flagship city centre attraction surely sends all the wrong signals.

Aesthetically, this building doesn’t fit in with the City Park environs, but more importantly, it is simply the wrong location for it.

This is supposed to be a place for recreation and leisure for families; an attraction to draw in visitors. The magistrates’ court and its clientele of criminals and their associates does not in any shape or form fit in with that image.

The Council has invested a lot of money and time into the City Park and various other projects designed to regenerate Bradford.

It is a shame that the final part of the City Park jigsaw now appears to have been scrapped, and the city is surely in danger of missing its one opportunity to centralise its courts and in doing so create the urban park environment everyone wants.

While demolition of the old police station is welcomed, opening up the site for a new office development as it will, the decision to give up on the courts complex has the air of admitting defeat.

Surely it must be possible to find some way of finding the finances to make this happen – possibly from the close to £100m Council reserves highlighted today.

If not, this will go down as a missed opportunity to allow City Park, which no one is denying has been a success already, the full development potential it deserves.

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