Poor road and rail links could put off new firms coming to Bradford, according to the financial director of one of the district’s most successful businesses.

And Stuart Hall, finance director of set-top box maker Pace plc, has revealed that if the firm had its manufacturing base at Saltaire it would probably look to relocate elsewhere in order to transport goods more easily.

Pace, which last week was confirmed as the world’s number one supplier of set-top boxes to pay TV operators, has its international HQ, design and development and sales and marketing operation in Salts Mill, where it employs 450 people. Most of its boxes are made in China.

Mr Hall backed the idea of a cross-rail link across Bradford to open up direct connections with the main rail network. He also urged bosses at Leeds-Bradford International Airport to speed up developments there.

He said: “While companies will be naturally drawn to places like Manchester and Leeds, the transport network around here does not make it a natural choice.

“If Pace had its main manufacturing site here then I could envisage us looking elsewhere where there is a better transport infrastructure. As it is, we don’t need to move goods around like many companies, and our Saltaire base has many attractions, not least for lifestyle reasons.

“The Bradford district’s road and rail network needs improving, as do links with Leeds-Bradford Airport and the airport itself. We bring many people from overseas into LBIA and it doesn’t give a good impression.”

Mr Hall was speaking after being a panellist for a debate held by accountants BDO as part of its annual Yorkshire Report on the state of the region’s business and economy.

The need to improve the transport infrastructure was highlighted as the most important local issue for regional firms.

Mr Hall said the debate also highlighted the need for Yorkshire firms to export more, particularly to the growing Asian market.

Of the £80 billion in revenues generated by regional firms last year, £73 billion was based on UK trade. The biggest export market was Europe, with £3.8 billion of trade. But exports to Asia amounted to only £200m.

Also on the panel were former trade minister Sir Richard Needham and Tim Clarke, corporate finance partner at BDO in Leeds.