A SCHEME to bring empty city centre units back into use will give more focus to preparing for the opening of the Bradford Live development.

At a meeting discussing city centre regeneration projects, Councillors were told of the work done in recent years to support new businesses opening in the city.

And there would now be a focus on improving the city's nighttime offer, which will help "complement" the major new music venue.

The Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee heard that the City Centre Growth Scheme, which provides grants and busi9ness rate rebates, had helped 245 businesses either open or expand in the city centre since 2012.

The investment supported 104 vacant units to be brought back into use and created 798 jobs.

The Priority Streets area scheme sees capital grants of up to £100,000 made available for property refurbishments and equipment. This funding is focussed on those streets most affected by retail closures and relocations.

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Recent businesses supported by the Council include Geek Retreat on Bank Street, Nighttrain bar and music venue on Queensgate and Tiffin Coffee Grande on Charles Street.

Clare Wilkinson, Economic Development Programmes Manager, said there had been numerous new businesses open in the past few years, many of which had Council support.

These openings had helped transform parts of the city centre such as Ivegate.

In the same presentation members heard that work is currently underway to transform the former Odeon building in the city centre into a 4,000 capacity live music venue called Bradford Live.

The venue is due to open in late 2021, and committee members were told work now needed to be done to ensure that there were enough businesses around the venue to cater to the thousands of extra visitors coming to the city.

Mrs Wilkinson said: "We're working with the Bradford BID to support the evening economy. In the last 12 months a number of bars have opened across the city centre.

"There have been a number of bars on Ivegate and two new ones on North Parade, as well as businesses opening in the Sunbridgewells development.

"With Bradford Live coming we need to make sure there is a complementary offer in the city centre to support that venue."

The area around the Bradford Live building, often referred to as Bradford's "West End" has seen a steady decline in recent years, with the closure of a number of bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

Shelagh O'Neill Assistant Director - Economy and Development added:" We want bars as well as restaurants where people can have family meals. There is very little in the city centre for children and young people, and these are areas we want represented.

"We're trying to get people back into the city centre, we want people to have a different experience in Bradford than they can get in other places."

The committee asked for a breakdown of what businesses have been supported, and what form that support has taken. They were told it would be provided to them in the near future.