BRADFORD Council said there is still work to do to improve people’s perception of safety in the city centre.

It comes after one visitor described the late-night atmosphere in Bradford as something akin to Resident Evil or “some post-apocalyptic world”.

The man, who wrote on the Bradford City Centre Regeneration page on Facebook, said he’d found his experience “uncomfortable and intimidating”.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford at night. Picture: Ricky Hague/T&A Camera ClubBradford at night. Picture: Ricky Hague/T&A Camera Club (Image: Ricky Hague/T&A Camera Club)

He explained that he’d been for a meal and praised the pre-6pm vibes in City Park where the fountains were on, the sun was shining and people were stopping and admiring the water display.

“For the most, it was a good advert for our city,” he said.

Later in the night, things took a darker turn and the man was left concerned at his experience.

He said: “Unfortunately, walking back about 8.15pm, was a totally different story.

“I understand that cost-cutting measures have to be done in these hard times but Bradford Council, please don't make it at the cost of people's potential safety and wellbeing.

“The whole City Park area was practically unlit, the brightest illumination was coming from the big TV screen.

“It was like walking through something from Resident Evil or some post-apocalyptic world.

“People you could just make out in the shadows; loads of people whizzing around on electric scooters (aren't these illegal unless licensed and ridden on roads?).

“It was very uncomfortable and foreboding to say the least.

“If a crime was to happen, nobody would notice or be able to identify anyone in the near pitch blackness of it.”

He complained that it was a Friday night and added: “Aren't we supposed to be attracting people to our city for evening recreation?

“Isn't City Park supposed to be one of the jewels in the city centre's crown? I am a big bloke and like to think l can look after myself and l found the whole experience, very uncomfortable and intimidating.

“Is it always like this on an evening now or was there some problem l was unaware of?”

A Bradford Council spokesperson said an inspection of lighting was carried out and it was all in “full working order”.

They added: “We also audit city centre lighting twice a year and the next audit is due to take place next week. Any lights found to be not working will be replaced.

“There is an extensive series of projects starting very shortly, with the demolition of the NCP, the Transforming works around Norfolk Gardens and Jacob’s Well and upgrading works to the operational side of Norfolk Gardens by the Bradford-by-the-Sea Park, Centenary Square and City Park.  Council Officers have carried out a nighttime survey to help create a lighting scheme in these areas to integrate with this programme of works.

“We also are working closely with the Bradford Business Improvement District (BID), West Yorkshire Police and Bradford Pubwatch to attain the Purple Flag Accreditation - a charter mark which recognises good management of nighttime economy - and to make Bradford city centre a more desirable place to visit at night time.

“However, we recognise we still have work to do, including improvements to lighting, CCTV, perception of safety. 

“We have recently carried out a public consultation on the City Centre Public Safety Protection Order (PSPO) which will provide more powers of enforcement for PSPO and Police Officers to tackle anti-social behaviour."

Jonny Noble, who is manager of the Bradford BID, said perceptions of how safe an area is can have a “huge impact” on businesses and customers.

He said: “Lighting is key to that perception and we have invested in additional lighting schemes that are switched on in November to help celebrate the Christmas period but which we leave on until late March to help to ensure that walking routes – such as the ‘ceiling of light’ on Ivegate and the scheme that runs from the University to the city centre, for instance – are well lit and easier to use.

“The core lighting provision, however, is in the remit of the local authority and we would welcome proactive management of all city centre lighting schemes, including those in City Park.

“It is in everybody’s interests that people feel safe when enjoying everything our city centre has to offer.”

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