TOP architects and city planners will join forces with local groups to improve Bradford city centre and make it “look and feel a bit smarter.”

Yesterday it was announced that Bradford was one of just five areas that had been chosen for the Future Place programme. It will bring a range of high skilled professional support and advice, and help Bradford Council and its partners “develop a vision for the city centre and unlock its potential.”

It will also help to better promote the city to an international audience.

After being selected, Bradford will be offered free development support from the Royal Institute of British Architects, Chartered Institute of Housing, Local Government Association and Royal Town Planning Institute.

Bradford Council believes the panel selected Bradford from a UK-wide field of local authorities due to the Council focusing its bid on improving and enhancing people’s lives, community wellbeing and sustainable environments. The other areas of the UK chosen as part of the project are Greater Exeter, North Northamptonshire, Gateshead and Great Yarmouth.

The announcement was made at MIPIM, an international property event in Cannes.

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A delegation of representatives from Bradford were there to promote the district on the international stage.

Si Cunningham, chair of Bradford Civic Society, has welcomed the news. The society will be working with RIBA to bring a major architectural exhibition to the city later this year.

He said: “It’s good news for Bradford, and very encouraging that a prestigious organisation like RIBA is getting excited about our city. I appreciate that these groups can sometimes use a lot of fancy buzzwords and jargon, but what I think it means for Bradford is that we’re all going to be working together to improve design standards and make the city centre look and feel a bit smarter.

“As an extra feather in our cap, the Civic Society is working with a couple of other groups, including the RIBA, to bring a big national architecture exhibition to Bradford later this year.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We are thrilled to have been selected for such a prestigious programme. Bradford has a history of delivering innovative and award-winning urban development projects such as City Park. By working alongside top professionals from internationally recognised leaders in urban development, and local stakeholders such as the Bradford BID, Property Forum and Civic Society, we can develop some truly ground-breaking and transformational projects.”

Steve Hartley, Strategic Director for Place, said: “Our ambition is a city centre that is transformed to enable new and styles of living that are attractive to all our communities, provide economic opportunity and be the cultural heart of the district.”