AN opening month has been revealed for Bradford's new Darley Street Market. 

A report on the multi-million-pound project's progress will be discussed by councillors next week and says it is expected to open in May 2024. 

Once a bustling shopping area, Darley Street has been plagued by empty premises for several years after many businesses relocated to The Broadway shopping centre. 

But it's hoped the £23m market will turn the street's fortunes around and kickstart much-needed regeneration.

The report says: "Bradford Council’s vision for the new market is not only to revitalise and modernise its market offer but also to act as a catalyst for the regeneration of Darley Street and surrounding area.

"It is encouraging that the owners of the buildings on either side of the market have submitted a planning application, as well as seeking funding from the City Centre Townscape Heritage Scheme, to upgrade their properties, which have been vacant for several years, and to let to potential tenants to coincide with the opening of the market.

"It is envisaged that the market will encourage further investment by other property owners."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: An initial artist's impression of the Darley Street Market in 2018.An initial artist's impression of the Darley Street Market in 2018. (Image: UGC)

The project was given the go-ahead in May 2019 before Kier Construction was appointed in December 2019. Work on site began in May 2021 with the demolition of several properties, including the former Marks & Spencer building. 

Construction of the new market and market square began in April last year. 

The report outlines that Darley Street Market will have four principal levels, including a general merchandising hall. This will have 28 stalls specialising in non-food and health and beauty. There will also be two cafes, a flower unit, and three external units. 

Then in the market hall, 32 stalls will sell fresh food and there will be two 'pop-up' test trading or short-term trading spaces. 

In the dining hall, there will be 13 kiosks, seating for 500 customers - both indoors and on an external terrace balcony - and a stage for day and evening entertainment. 

The lower level, underneath the market square, will include an underground delivery area, plus space for waste handling and a storage area. 

The report outlines how the market square "will be a place for people to meet family and friends and where regular community, commercial, charitable and leisure events can take place".

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A more updated artist's impression of what Darley Street Market could look like.A more updated artist's impression of what Darley Street Market could look like. (Image: UGC)

Around the edge of the market square will be seating for up to 66 people. There will be eight large umbrellas that can be converted into a large ‘pop-up’ marquee for bespoke events.

After a leasing brochure was published in January 2022 to identify potential traders, interest was strong and 261 outline expressions of interest were received.

An application process began in June 2022 and closed in September 2022, with 141 applications received.

Sixty-two applications were from existing market tenants and 79 applications were received from new businesses - many from outside of the district.

Forty-three businesses received and accepted provisional offers and 28 businesses have been placed on a reserve list.

Forty businesses are being assessed or will be considered in the coming months.

The initial 43 selected businesses were invited to discuss their shop fitting proposals and vision for each stall.

To help these businesses achieve the required retail stall design, Bradford Council will offer a capital grant contribution and share fitting costs with traders. Each business can apply for a grant of up to 50 per cent towards fitting costs, says the report. 

It also provides a timetable for the coming months.

Kier Construction is expected to complete building work by the end of this year, after which Bradford Council will manage fitting-out activities before the market opens, expected in May next year.

A fitting-out contractor will be appointed at the end of October when consultations with tenants will begin. Fitting-out works on site will start in January and are expected to take up to 16 weeks to complete.

An outdoor 7m x 4m LED screen will be installed that will form the focal point for activities on the market square.

Stage lighting for visiting performing artists will be installed. There will be CCTV for public safety as well as footfall counting cameras.

Two sets of gates and overthrows from the former Kirkgate Market will be restored back to their original colour and repaired to be put on display on the market square and dining hall.

The report will be discussed at a meeting of Bradford Council's Regeneration and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee at City Hall on October 3.