It is late autumn, 2003, and I am standing in what used to be a Dillon’s bookstore but has yet to become Caffe Nero. It is not standing empty, though; it is host to a number of people who are here to look at what will swiftly become known as The Masterplan.

Not some supervillain’s nefarious scheme for world domination... although, reading some of the press that follows this little event, you might be mistaken in thinking it actually is. This is the launch of architect Will Alsop’s vision for Bradford, and there is something of a momentary stunned silence when he announces that his grand plan for Bradford essentially involves flooding it.

Were this a 1940s black-and-white movie, a flood of reporters with press tickets in their hats would mob a line of phone cubicles, cranking the handsets and barking into them: “Maverick architect says flood Bradford!”

Of course, Will Alsop’s answer to regenerating Bradford isn’t really to flood it, but to create an urban lake right in the centre. I interview Alsop about his plan for a little pen-picture, walking with him through the streets and over the long-gone Hall Ings footbridge as he outlines his scheme. He’s a larger-than-life character, always with the beginnings of a smile playing at the corner of his mouth, an undisputed twinkle in his eye.

Once the jokes about flooding Bradford had subsided, the work began to see just whether Alsop’s Masterplan could be put into practice, or whether it was what detractors said it was – a pipe dream, a flight of fancy, a waste of money.

I next meet Alsop three years later in 2006, when he is in town as part of National Architecture Week. We are in Salt’s Mill, where the always black-clad Alsop, sipping on a seemingly-ever-present glass of red wine, declares that Bradford is a city centre of “extraordinary buildings from another age... surrounded by complete c***.”

There hasn’t been a huge amount of work done on the Masterplan at this point, but he is philosophical. “These things aren’t delivered overnight,” he tells me.

It’s the best part of six years later – just a couple of days ago, in fact – that I speak to Will Alsop again, this time by telephone. He is in Vienna, but is looking forward to visiting Bradford again on Saturday, for the launch of the City Park – his vision made reality.

After our interview, I e-mail his press officer to thank her for setting up our chat, and say that Will had been lovely on the phone.

“Will IS lovely... “ she e-mails back. “Friendly, down-to-earth and doesn’t do the kind of elitist archi-babble that some renowned architects indulge in.”

I have to admit, that I like Will Alsop. I like people who come up with grandiose schemes, big ideas, and tell people to get on with it. Will Alsop’s attendance at the official opening of the Mirror Pool in Bradford tomorrow is proof positive that if you dare to dream, great things can arise.