BRADFORD Council is shutting all its museums and galleries, sport and leisure centres, theatres and residential outdoor centres for the foreseeable future from Wednesday.

And in a statement invoking the Blitz spirit, Council Leader Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe called on the district's community to rally round and "be kind to each other at this time".

She asked residents to only buy their "fair share" and also condemned shops that have hiked prices on essential items, saying they had "angered her" and any that do would be reported to Trading Standards for action to be taken against them.

In the statement released on Tuesday evening she said: “Coronavirus is a huge challenge for our district. But people have stepped up to the challenge and are wanting to play their part in getting us through these difficult times.

"In line with many of you, I have been phoning those friends of mine who are vulnerable and who may need help over the coming weeks. Elderly friends have been stoic in their attitude, talking about how people are coming together in the spirit of the Blitz and how we have a history in this country of being resilient no matter what.

"We will need that resourcefulness in the weeks to come and will be relying on each other to keep Bradford district moving and healthy.

“Times such as this bring out the best and the worst in us. We have all been staggered by the run on some items in supermarkets. It’s completely unnecessary. The supermarkets have clearly said there is enough food to go round if we all buy our fair share and no more.

"Similarly I have been angered by the shops who have sought to make money out of worried people by hiking up prices on essential items. They should immediately stop such practices. We are reporting this to Trading Standards."

She added that the Council will be concentrating on delivering its essential services to the vulnerable and it had taken the "difficult decision" to close some service that are non-essential.

“The entire organisation of the Council is focussed on putting plans in place to enable the district to manage life through the next few weeks. Our top priority must be to focus Council resources on maintaining essential core services to vulnerable children and adults. This means closing some services which are non-essential at this time.

“We have taken the difficult decision to close from tomorrow all Bradford Council-run museums and galleries, sport and leisure centres, theatres and residential outdoor centres for the foreseeable future, as well as stopping all events, tourism services and training courses.

“Some volunteer-run libraries have reluctantly closed but we intend to keep all Council-run libraries open for the time being as community hubs. Library-based activities will stop but we know people need to access information and support, as well as use a computer, and we want to keep these services going.

“Our Register Office, Housing Options, taxi licensing and customer service receptions will also be staying open but staff will be practising social distancing in order to protect themselves and customers.

“Our markets will remain open for the time being. We are asking that people only come to markets if they are well. We have also placed extra hand sanitising facilities in all our markets and are encouraging people to use them and to wash their hands often. Some of our traders are increasing their delivery service to help residents.

“We will be putting further support in place for communities in the coming days but in the meantime if you are well and able I would encourage you to do three things:

  • Buy responsibly, don’t overstock
  • Know your neighbours, ring those who are elderly, vulnerable or who might need your help
  • Donate to the foodbank if you can, your local councillors will know which the nearest to you is.

“We will be putting regular updates out through local media, social media and Stay Connected email alerts. Information is also available on the Council’s website at where people can sign up to receive email alerts.

“Finally let’s be kind to each other at this time. We can resume the brick-bats of regular debate when the crisis is past!”