THE creation of a new park in the city centre is one of the changes suggested in a consultation into the future of a Bradford area.

Members of the public are being encouraged to take part in a consultation on future changes to the “Top of Town” area - which includes North Parade, Northgate and Rawson Square.

Among the questions raised in the consultation is whether there is enough parking in the area - or if there should be less, and whether Oastler Square should be transformed into a “public open green space.”

The area is set to undergo some major changes in the coming decade, with the neighbouring Oastler Market due to be demolished once the new Darley Street Market opens. It will then be replaced by a housing development, which will be known as the “City Village.”

Last year Bradford Council secured £925,000 funding from the European Regional Development Agency to make a number of public realm improvements in the area.

And yesterday a month long public consultation began to gauge opinion on what changes should be made to the area.

New market will be ‘heart’ of Bradford's new City Village

The consultation hints that the statue of Richard Oastler, a politician and reformer who helped improve work conditions in mills, could be moved from its currently location in Oastler Square.

One possible location for the statue could be Rawson Square, which would also undergo public realm improvements.

The re-location of the listed statue could allow Oastler Square, currently known for street drinking and anti social behaviour, to be turned into a green park space.

The consultation asks what people would like to see happen on North Parade, which in recent years has thrived as a street of independent bars and cafes.

Options include increased planting and the creation of small outdoor events spaces.

One question asks whether people think there is enough parking in the Top of Town area. People can reply to say they think there is enough, that “there could be a little less” or that there “could be a lot less.”

The issue of parking on North Parade has been a contentious one in recent years.

On one had some businesses have criticised Bradford Council for increasing parking charges on the street, saying the streets business need cheap parking outside their premises to survive.

On the other hand, other groups have criticised the Council for not making North Parade a pedestrian only street, which they say would boost its food and drink scene.

Si Cunningham, Chair of Bradford Civic Society, said: "There's been a lot of talk about improving the area around North Parade and Rawson Place for many years now, so it's good to see a bit of movement with funding in place and consultations under way. I hope people make their suggestions known to the Council.

"The Civic Society is really keen to see North Parade in particular become much more pedestrian friendly, while still supporting the needs of those thriving, long-established businesses that rely on vehicular access. There's some excellent examples of shared streets around the world that could work really well here.

"There is some truly stunning architecture up there, and some of the best pubs and places to eat in Bradford too, so with some really high-quality public areas, it could be a really special destination."

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport at Bradford Council, commented: “Public realm is important because it provides a place for people, families, and communities to come together. The events of the previous 12 months have shown us more than ever how crucial these open spaces are to our communities.

“This project is important because enhanced public realm can contribute to a safe and healthy environment where people will choose to live, work and thrive and where businesses will want to invest, trade and grow. The funding secured for ‘Top of Town’ as part of the wider City Village proposals can transform public realm and make Bradford an even better place to live, work and invest.

“We are eager to hear the views of local residents and businesses about what they want to see in the top of town and the proposed City Village, so we can create public spaces which focus on their needs and priorities.”

To have your say on the consultation visit