THE man behind plans for a 400-seat Indian restaurant at The Broadway shopping centre has spoken of his devastation after being forced to abandon the project despite ploughing £500,000 into the doomed scheme.

Last week the Telegraph & Argus revealed that the Papadoms restaurant, which was initially due to open last summer, looked unlikely to open after a notice was posted on the door of the 6,500 sq ft unit.

It stated that The Broadway Bradford has “recovered possession of the premises” and that the unit in Charles Street, between Zizzi and Patisserie Valerie, had been secured.

At the time Broadway bosses said they had been in discussion with Papadoms for some time and would provide an update in the coming weeks.

But now Sanjeev Sanghera, founder and chief executive of Bavava Restaurants, the firm behind Papadoms, has revealed the financial misfortunes that mean the restaurant will not open.

He said: “This has been absolutely and utterly devastating for us.

“I know that we have had problems and it’s taken a long time, but we have ended up in this situation through no real fault of our own.”

He described how he was still in dispute with his first contractors, which had resulted in him taking a loan out against his own home.

Then, once work was completed in January using a second set of contractors, he received an “unexpected” business rates bill from Bradford Council for £21,000.

As part of the council’s city centre growth zone scheme, firms creating jobs are eligible for a rebate on their rates, but Mr Sanghera admits he was “perhaps naive” about how the scheme worked. “We were given this final bill in January and this is when we realised we could only claim it back once we have employed somebody,” he said.

He told the T&A how he was forced to divert money set aside for furnishing the now-completed restaurant – meaning the restaurant could not open.

He was then dealt a further blow in February over £20,000 he had promised the second set of contractors on opening – a payment he could no longer honour.

At this point efforts to raise further funds through private investment failed, and Mr Sanghera went to The Broadway owner Meyer Bergman to see if they could assist financially with the £100,000 needed to get over the line.

Then last week he learned they had “terminated his lease” having “lost faith” in the restaurant opening.

He said owes around £100,000 in total to his second contractors. He added: “I have made assurances that I will make sure they will be paid their money.” But he did not know at this point how.

“I’m confused. I’m stumped for words and energy and I’m very emotional still. This restaurant was to have been the culmination of 10 years of hard work and it’s devastating to see it end this way,” he said.


In January 2017, when Mr Sanghera first spoke to the T&A about the project, he said he was “blown away” with the regeneration of Bradford’s city centre and that it had been instrumental in the decision to locate a restaurant in the city. At the time he described a £1.2 million fit-out to create a bar and cocktail lounge on the ground floor and a 400-seat restaurant on the first floor level. The restaurant would create 60 full-time equivalent jobs.

A year ago he revealed that they needed approval for some extra structural work at the premises, which had pushed back the opening until July. Then in September, he outlined how significant delays with the original contractor had been behind the move to open in November.

Mr Sanghera has been in the restaurant business for more than 30 years in Glasgow and was part of the city’s team that won the Curry Capital title.

The first Papadoms restaurant opened in Sunderland and closed down last year in order to focus on the Bradford launch. In the meantime the firm has recently opened two restaurants under its new Döner Haus brand.

A Bradford Council spokesperson said that business rates became due on new properties when they were completed and valued by HMRC. “Once HMRC valued The Broadway unit in question, we billed Mr Sanghera at his registered office address for outstanding businesses rates. This was paid after a court hearing for non-payment which Mr Sanghera attended in January 2018. The City Centre Growth Scheme rates rebate becomes active once the relevant new jobs are created. This is clearly set out in all our Growth Scheme communications including offer letters and grant agreements which are sent to all successful applicants including Mr Sanghera.”

In 2006 Mr Sanghera - who was dubbed the Curry King - appeared on TV showing curry fan Robbie Coltrane how to cook at his family’s restaurant in Glasgow. In 2012 he told the Daily Record how he had turned to YouTube to pick up DIY tips – and saved £100,000 on his new Papadoms eatery in Ayr.