BRADFORD’S evening and night-time economy has taken a significant step forward with the appointment of its first co-ordinator.

Elizabeth Murphy has been appointed by the city’s Business Improvement District (BID) to work with hospitality and leisure businesses to help build a “rich, vibrant and successful” offer in the city centre.

Ms Murphy, who is experienced in place management, working with both BIDs and local authorities, started the new role today.

Bradford BID chairman Ian Ward said: “The development of Bradford city centre is at a pivotal time.

“We are on the cusp of some major developments, such as the opening of the NEC Bradford Live Arena in late 2022, that have the potential to significantly increase footfall. In 2019 the accounting firm PWC and think tank Demos indicated that Bradford is the most improved place in the UK to live and work, with jobs and work-life balance highlighted in a report.

“We believe that now is the time to start building on this further by developing and supporting our night-time offer to ensure that we have excellent operational procedures and partnership working in place to support the additional footfall and high-quality offer that is in the planning stages."

BID manager Jonny Noble said they were looking forward to working with Elizabeth to create a better city centre.

“The BID is committed to supporting businesses open between 6pm and 6am to operate to the highest standards by sharing best practice, training and intelligence.

“Through partnership working we aim to create a welcoming clean and safe environment, that has a vibrant and rich mixture of entertainment and leisure options at night, that are easy and safe to access and leave.

“It’s all about delivering a successful evening and night-time economy in Bradford city centre and to ensure that the city centre economy is thriving and open for business into the evening and night-time."

Ms Murphy is a Fellow of the Institute of Place Management, an expert and mentor on the Government’s High Streets Task Force and has a Master’s degree in place management.

She worked as the city centre retail and night-time economy lead officer for Wakefield Council and in management roles at Wakefield and Harrogate BIDs.

Ms Murphy said of her new role: “It’s an adventure just to be here – Bradford has so many possibilities.

“I’m really looking forward to going and meeting the businesses that are open after 6pm and being there solely for them – and that just doesn’t mean just pubs, bars and clubs; it’s a wide-ranging and diverse sector out there and I’d like to bring them together as a business community to work in partnership to really put Bradford on the map as the place to come and visit on an evening.”

She said she was very keen to hear what these businesses had to say about the way forward.

“I’m here for the evening economy and I’ll be listening to their concerns and their ideas and helping to light that fire that illuminates how exciting the potential here is,” said Elizabeth. “It is a really wondrous place – there are some fantastic venues out there and we need to bang that drum and support these businesses and build on the ideas that come from that sector.

“It’s been a heck of a year for hospitality – and for anybody really with a city centre business – but I think we’re on the cusp of something brand new and Bradford has seen it’s there for the taking and it’s going to be a leader, rather than a follower, and people will be following what Bradford’s doing.

“It’s a great night out here already and it’s just going to get better!”