THE team behind proposals to pedestrianise a city centre street have pleaded their case before Bradford Council.

Councillors were told that blocking off Market Street to traffic would be the latest piece of the jigsaw in the regeneration of the City Centre, and would complement the recent refurbishment of St George’s Hall and attractions like the Broadway and City Park.

The campaign to pedestrianise the street was first announced last year by a group of local businesses, and has proved a big talking point ever since.

They claimed the street did not live up to its potential for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is not a through road for most traffic, that pavements are often blocked by queues of people, and that it is often used as an ‘alternative’ to the Interchange, leading to buses parked for long periods of time block the view of business frontages.

A number of businesses on the street have shut in recent years.

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They argued that pedestrianisation would make Market Street more of a destination, opening up the possibility of live music and similar events.

A petition in favour of the proposals has been signed by over 1,600 people.

On Tuesday a full Council meeting heard from the people behind the scheme, which includes Doug Mclean, who runs Tiffin Sandwiches, Tiffin Coffee, City Vaults and Ginger Goose.

The biggest obstacle to the change would be the diversion of a number of bus routes. At the meeting, held in City Hall, the Council was urged to offer its highways engineering knowledge to help formulate a way to make the pedestrianisation work with minimum disruption to bus services.

Richard Cullen, speaking on behalf of the group behind the plans, said; “I represent a group of local businesses committed to seeing Bradford thrive.

“Being from Liverpool originally I see the benefits of closing streets off to traffic every time I go back.

“We want to create a better, safer city centre for the people of the district and visitors.

“It would help revitalise Market Street and create an attractive link between developments that have happened and are currently underway.

“It was a key commercial street in Bradford, and it can be again.

“The buildings on that street are currently struggling to live up to their potential due to bus shelters right outside and queues of people blocking business frontages. Businesses have closed because of this problem.

“This will help current businesses and attract new businesses to the area. It will bring in investment as well as events and entertainment. It will enhance the city’s offer.

He said the pedestrianisation would also reduce emissions in the area.

Referring to how the traffic would be diverted he said: “We’re not highways engineers, but we believe it should be possible.

“We hope the Council will work with us to produce a more detailed plan. We have support from two MPs, are putting the idea to the Bradford BID board and are meeting with West Yorkshire Combined Authority.”

He said the economic benefits would outweigh any costs.

The proposals were applauded by councillors, and will now be discussed in more detail by the Council’s decision making Executive at a future meeting.