THE pedestrianisation of large sections of Bradford city centre and a major refurbishment of Bradford Interchange are among a number of schemes that will be completed more than a year behind schedule.

The Transforming Cities Fund is a set of major infrastructure developments across West Yorkshire, first announced in 2020 in the Government's devolution deal for the area.

In Bradford there were four major projects, worth over £80m.

There were the pedestrianisation of Hall Ings, Market Street and the Jacobs Well area, expected to cost £30m, the demolition of the Hall Ings car park and the creation of a new entrance to Bradford Interchange in its place (£13.2m), a new South Bradford park and ride that would ferry people from a site in Odsal to the city centre via a new bus fleet on Manchester Road (£20m), and the creation of a new cycle route on Thornton Road (£17.5m).

All the projects were due to be completed by March 2023.

However, a new report into the progress of the schemes has revealed that the earliest any of these four schemes is likely to be completed by is now March 2024.

And one will not be completed until Summer 2024.

Delays in the projects were first revealed last year, with a report claiming the Thornton Road scheme and the Park and Ride plan unlikely to be completed until December 2024.

The other two schemes would be completed on time.

What is the "Transforming Cities Fund" and what will it mean for Bradford?

But a report going before West Yorkshire Combined Authority's Place, Regeneration and Housing Committee on Monday says the Thornton Road and the park and ride schemes will be completed first, with a scheduled completion date of March 2024.

The new entranceway to Bradford Interchange is no longer expected to be completed on time - estimates now say it will be finished in April 2024.

And the city centre pedestrianisation plans are now not expected to be completed until July 2024.

They are not likely to be the only schemes in West Yorkshire to be completed beyond schedule - a plan for bus, cycling and walking improvements on the A64 in Leeds and the A629 Wakefield Road Sustainable Travel Corridor are among the other schemes unlikely to be completed until 2024.

Explaining the likely delays, the report says: "There have been some significant challenges faced by the programme over the last six months which have impacted on progress against milestones.

"The impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been felt across all schemes and is expected to continue to affect programme delivery and cost.

"In addition to absence periods due to sickness and isolation, staff retention in key roles across the partnership has been an issue and is expected to continue as the economy recovers."

Originally the Government had said that failure to complete the schemes by 2023 would jeopardise funding.

But the new report says new funding for mayoral areas like West Yorkshire announced since then allowed for more flexibility.

It adds: "Whilst this new funding regime enables an element of flexibility to the Transforming Cities Fund programme timescales, it does not mean that the projects within the programme can progress at a slower pace."

The report adds there will be "significant pressure" to complete the schemes as soon as possible.

A West Yorkshire Combined Authority spokesperson said: “We are continuing to work closely with our local authority partners to deliver the Transforming Cities Fund programme in full.

“Building on the significant investment made to date, the programme will see more than £450 million invested in making it easier for people to walk, cycle and use public transport across our region.

“This investment will not only connect more people with job, training and education opportunities, it will also help us tackle the climate emergency on our way to becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038.”