A NEW “city square” will be created in the centre of Bradford as part of plans to revitalise Darley Street.

Bradford Council had already revealed plans to create a new food market in the former Marks & Spencer building, and today announced it would be “extending the scope” of that development.

The Council is looking to compulsory purchase more properties on the street and flatten the buildings, creating a new public open space that would host events throughout the year.

New proposals will see 10-14 Darley Street and 8 Darley Street razed to make way for the public square.

In recent years Darley Street has been plagued by empty units as businesses either re-located to The Broadway Shopping Centre, including Marks & Spencer and Game, or shut down, such as Poundworld.

The Council says the new plans will help regenerate both Broadway and Piccadilly, which will be linked to both the market and the city square. It hopes that in particular the plans will encourage more investment in Piccadilly and its “high quality Victorian buildings.”

The Darley Street food market would replace the Oastler Centre - with that building being demolished to make way for an “urban village” once the new market is opened. Kirkgate Market will be refurbished to create a non-food market to complement the Darley Street market.

The expanded market plans will be discussed by the Council’s decision making Executive on January 8, when members will be asked to authorise compulsory purchase orders for the buildings.

A report going before members says: “This will have a positive impact on Darley Street, resulting in over 50 per cent of the frontage facing the Kirkgate Centre currently unoccupied being redeveloped and improved, with the critical mass of the new ‘Food Market’ creating strong pedestrian flows in this part of the city.

“The new area of Public Realm would not only enhance the market setting by creating an additional trading frontage, but also improve access and visibility (and rental levels) for the lower ground trading floor and augment the ‘market offer’ by using the space to host ‘ad hoc’ events throughout the year.

“It will also provide improved permeability and amenity space for visitors to the city centre and local residents, providing better access between the Kirkgate and Broadway shopping centres.”

Originally the market shake up was budgeted at £21 million. The finances for the expanded project will be discussed at the Executive meeting, but with press and public excluded for “legal and commercial reasons.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We want to create a vibrant and attractive transformational public space on Darley Street, which will support the new food market but also transform Darley Street and showcase the fantastic Victorian buildings on Piccadilly by making them a lot more visible.

“This project will help redefine the city centre and make the top of town a lot more attractive and easier to get to. To be able to create a new public space in the heart of the city centre is a fantastic opportunity and we’re really excited to consult with people on how it will look and what sorts of activities they’d like to see there.”