BRADFORD Council officers have explained why the authority needs to bring in outside help to move ahead with several major transport projects.

Announced in March, the Government's Transforming Cities Fund will see around £83.5 million worth of funding allocated to a number of projects in Bradford.

These include sustainable transport measures in the city centre, the redevelopment of the entrance to Bradford Interchange, a South Bradford park and ride scheme, which will include an "express busway" on Manchester Road transporting people from a car park near the M606, and the Thornton Road cycleway.

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Members of the Council's Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee were told on Tuesday that a condition of the funding is that projects needed to be delivered by 2023 - meaning the Council needed to produce business cases for these schemes by March at the latest.

The authority was looking to outsource the work to make sure they met the target, and would be using Crown Commercial Services.

Darren Badrock, Principal Engineer, said: "This is a once in a generation work programme to carry out a transformation of the city.

"The money comes with the interesting caveat that the money allocated is time sensitive and that everything has to be delivered by 2023.

"Normally we'd like to do this ourselves, but the sheer scale of what is going to be happening means the majority of our staff are tied up in existing projects."

He said these included work to improve the Shipley to Bradford corridors - Manningham Lane and Canal Road, works to Tong Street, a number of corridor and junction improvement schemes and several other transport schemes funded by West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

He added: "It is a happy position to be in, having too much work to do, but we're in the difficult position where we don't have enough staff in place to put it all together.

"I isn't our normal way of doing it, but we have been pushed into a short time scale.

"I'm confident we can deliver, but we need the people in place to deliver it."

Councillor Michael Johnson (Lab, Tong) said: "The cutbacks in the highway service during the Austerity years means we don't have the capacity." 

Councillor Julie Lintern (Lab, Keighley West) said: "I'm not keen on this much spend being outsourced, but in this case it looks like we don't have a choice."