LONG delayed plans to create a new “public sector hub” on a city centre site seems to have been cast into doubt after appetite for such buildings “cooled.”

The £20 million hub, due to be built on the site of the former Jacob’s Well offices off Manchester Road, has been in the pipeline for years, and would bring together organisations like the Council', police, government and health services.

Although the building was demolished last year, there has been little movement since and the site is currently a car park.

The original plan was for the building to open in early 2018.

At a meeting of Bradford Council's Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday evening, members were given an update on a number of city centre regeneration projects, including One City Park, an office building that would be built next to City Park and marketed as prime space for major businesses.

But the Jacob's Well public service hub - until recently hailed as one of the biggest Bradford regeneration projects, was conspicuous by its absence.

Meeting told of importance of new Grade A office space to city

When asked about this, Shelagh O'Neill, Assistant Director - Economy and Development, said although the original push from government to bring together public services in single buildings, the enthusiasm for this type of project had now diminished.

She said the Council had struggled to secure the volume of occupiers needed to move the scheme forward, and that the authority will have to decide if it wanted to "take the scheme forward in the future, or whether to re-consider."

The original plans for the hub had always been that the project would be privately funded. However even three years ago concerns were raised about the lack of any tenants announced for the project.

After Wednesday's meeting the Telegraph & Argus contacted the Council for a further update on the project.

A spokesman said appetite for public service hubs had "cooled" - but that the site still has "huge potential."

A similar hub planned for the former Keighley College site was still moving ahead, they said.

The Bradford Council spokesperson, said: “When the agreement was signed five years ago there was significant interest from government and other public sector agencies in creating public sector hubs in city centres across the country.

“However, the Government’s appetite for this kind of activity has since cooled, which has affected our plans.

“Nevertheless it’s a different proposition in Keighley where we continue to make encouraging progress on our proposed hub, which is attracting interest from local public sector partners who we are continuing to negotiate with.

“Jacob’s Well is a prime city centre location for us, available right next door to the site where the Grade A office development One City Park is being built, so we know it has huge potential.

“The city has exciting prospects.

"We are making good progress in bringing about the kind of transformation the district requires, having just been listed as one of the 20 best places in the country to do business by The Sunday Times. We recently announced Morgan Sindall as our delivery partners for the redevelopment of Forster Square station. We are making the case for a city centre stop on Northern Powerhouse Rail.

“Bradford Live and the NEC Group are working to revitalise the former Odeon as a world-class entertainment venue from 2021. And work has already started on our major new Darley Street Market and public square which will open the following year and rejuvenate that part of town.”

Councillor John Pennington, leader of the Conservatives on Bradford Council, said: "It is a great site for development. I'd rather have this site developed for One City Park than the City Park site, I think the way forward for the city centre is keeping open spaces.

"Things may well change - we have a new chancellor now. Let's move forward with the Jacob's Well proposals and convince the chancellor to move the Treasury up here."

Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, leader of the Liberal Democrats on the Council, has long been critical of the plans for the Jacob's Well site.

She feels the Council took to push ahead with the scheme, and that many potential tenants of the building had since moved to similar hubs in Leeds.

She said: "All the investment in Yorkshire and the Humber went into Leeds. Bradford missed the boat, everything went to Leeds. We didn't get out act together fast enough.

"We wasted loads of money on it, and at the moment it is just a car park. I think we should have a wholescale review of what developments we are planning for the city centre."