BRADFORD city centre is being “gradually re-invented”, regeneration chiefs have said.

Leading Bradford councillors said the right steps were being taken to adapt and help make the city thrive once again.

They were speaking after a report, from thinktank Centre For Cities, said Bradford’s commercial spaces consist of a high portion of retail – many of which are now vacant. The report said 40 per cent of business space in the city was given over to shops with almost one in four of these currently empty.

Bradford also lacks office space and “quality” office space at that, the report said.

Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “The messages in this report don’t surprise us. We know that the future of town and city centres nationally is to diversify more into leisure and residential with less dominance by retail. The investment in Bradford Live, creating a 4,000-seater live music venue and our plans for more residential at the top of town are key to delivering on this change which is sweeping the nation.”

Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, whose portfolio includes regeneration, said: “Following the opening of the Broadway shopping centre, Bradford city centre has been undergoing a transformation of which the Council is one of the key drivers and supporters. We’re gradually re-inventing the city centre. We are investing in the cultural development of the city centre with the refurbishment of St George’s Hall, we have helped to secure a healthy future for the Science and Media Museum and we are also providing massive investment to develop the former Odeon building into a world class performance venue.”

He said the council would still provide support for retail in the city centre with the advocation of the Business Improvement District (BID) being one example.

But he spoke of a new focus on improving the city’s infrastructure, as well as opening up more office space with recent examples including the conversion of Sunwin House from retail to office space and a proposal for more office space at One City Park.