Bradford business leaders are assuring shopkeepers of a trade boost once the major redevelopment of the city centre is completed.

Bradford District Chamber of Trade is urging shopkeepers to weather the disruption caused by the demolition of large sections of the rebirth project.

Chamber chairman Ernie Bagshaw said businesses must find ways of coping with the interruptions to eventually enjoy the knock-on effects of new shopping developments.

In the Chamber's annual report, Mr Bagshaw said he was delighted to see the demolition of "uninspiring 1960s concrete shops and offices" in areas between Petertgate, Hall Ings, Charles Street and Broadway.

"We can look forward to the new Broadway Shopping Centre taking the place of those demolished buildings which l am sure will bring a much needed boost which will definitely attract new customers to Bradford," he said.

"Unfortunately, during construction we must also all find ways of overcoming the inevitable disruption to the surrounding road infrastructure while these changes take place.

But the end result will make that disruption worthwhile and it will also have a positive knock on effect on the rest of the city centre as well."

Mr Bagshaw said 2005 had been difficult for some traders, with consumers 'calling the shots' on when, how and where they made purchases.

He said the rise in spending over the Internet had an effect on the high street. "Locally in Bradford we seemed to be holding our own," he said."l was very pleased not to find Bradford on the list of 'clone towns' published during the year which means that the independent businesses, many of which we are delighted to say are within our membership, are still making Bradford unique."

He welcomed the opening of the Rawson Quarter with Wilkinsons as a key tenant, and said the arrival of the T J Hughes store at Sunwin House had already increased footfall in the area.

Mr Bagshaw said the mini-tram trials between the Interchange and the shopping area had been well used. He said:

"We hope it will be reintroduced in the future with perhaps a more extensive route with access to other parts of the city centre." Mr Bagshaw praised the Telegraph & Argus Buy it in Bradford campaign, in which participating businesses offered a discount scheme to attract shoppers.

He noted the Chamber's support of the unsuccessful campaign to save the Exchange Post Office in Bank Street, and said they were awaiting a presentation from one of the three shortlisted companies on uses for the former Odeon site.

He used the report to pay tribute to PC Sharon Beshenivsky, who was shot dead, and her colleague Teresa Milburn, who was wounded, when they investigated a robbery at Universal Express travel agents in Morley Street on November 18 last year.