OVER the past 12 months, Covid-19 has changed the landscape of the Bradford district, in some parts temporarily and others have changed for good.

Areas that would usually be bustling with shoppers, friends socialising, or heading for a night out are unrecognisable from a year ago.

For the bulk of last summer, and since winter began, Bradford city centre has been a ghost town except for the new alien creation that now dominated the heart of the city centre.

A Covid-19 testing centre opened up in Centenary Square, filling a shape which is most often used for gatherings, festivals, civil ceremonies and socialising with gloomy, fenced off testing tents.

The same happened at the University of Bradford, which has given up a car park to being used as a Covid-19 testing centre, and the same happened at Marley Fields Sports Centre in Keighley.

For so long, Richard Dunn Sports Centre was a place associated with fun, from the water slides to all the other activities on offer at the centre named after Bradford’s greatest ever boxer.

It had been due for demolition last May, but before this happens it has added to its history in gloomy manner.

For a time it also became a testing site, and at the beginning of the pandemic when little was known about the impact Covid-19 would have, Bradford Council was considering using the site as a morgue if deaths from the virus overwhelmed existing bereavement services as a “last resort”.

One of the stark differences that has been noticed since the pandemic began was the deserted streets it has caused.

When the ‘stay at home’ message was first issued last March, the city and town centres around the district, usually bustling with people at work or out shopping were suddenly empty, leaving Bradford feeling like a ghost town.

When restrictions were eased slightly in the summer some normality resumed, but this came to an abrupt halt last November when the second lockdown came into force.

With this exodus, there have been some major casualties on the high street which will have a lasting impact on the city.

The demise of Debenhams will leave a flagship store-sized hole in the Broadway, Topshop and Paperchase have also vanished from the high street, and brands like Burton and Dorothy Perkins have disappeared.

Some independent businesses, such as cafes, bars, restaurants and boutique shops have also fallen victim of the pandemic and left our high streets leaving a big hole in local communities.

One permanent addition in the city centre, and stretching up Wakefield Road, has been new cycle lanes, providing a safer, greener way of coming into the city and encouraging people to leave their cars at home.

The cycle lanes are the latest in Bradford Council’s push to promote greener travel and healthier lifestyles and add to existing routes in the district.