A BRADFORD Council scheme to boost investment and jobs in the city centre has helped create more than 700 new jobs since it began.

The City Centre Growth Scheme has seen Council officials grant more than £83,000 in capital improvement grants and rates relief as part of the programme, which began in 2012.

It has assisted 226 business to either open or expand within Bradford city centre.

The scheme has also encouraged 45 new start-ups to open, with the initiative recognised by the government for its role in creating the right environment for business growth.

To date 722 new full and part-time jobs have been created by these businesses, equal to 614 full time equivalent roles.

It has also helped to bring 86 vacant units back into commercial use on the high street.

The scheme was set up by the Council to offer capital grants and rates rebates to businesses seeking to invest and create jobs in a defined area with Bradford city centre.

It will run until March 2020.

Due to the scheme’s success, a similar programme, the District Growth Scheme, has been developed to cover the rest of the Bradford district.

One of the latest businesses helped by the scheme is Bar 39, a new craft ale and rum cocktail bar which will open on Ivegate, as part of the Sunbridge Wells tunnel complex.

The development will bring a property which has been vacant since 2014 back into use and is a new venture for entrepreneur, Joseph Waite, who hopes to open by the end of August.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, portfolio holder for regeneration, planning and transport at the Council, said: “We are thrilled to see another new business set up in Bradford city centre.

“It will make important contributions to Bradford’s rapidly expanding food and drinks offer, and provide valuable jobs.

“The City Centre Growth and District Growth schemes are part of a wider package designed to boost investment, skills and jobs across Bradford district.”

To find out more about the Council’s support for businesses visit investinbradford.com, email info@investinbradford.com or call 01274 437727.