The man behind a £1.9 million underground shopping development in Bradford city centre says the first year of operation has been a “life-changing experience” for him.

Sunbridgewells, a complex of tunnels off Centenary Square which run beneath Sunbridge Road, Upper Millergate and Ivegate, has attracted more than 300,000 visitors since it opened in December 2016, according to estimates.

The first phase of the project, which was originally due to open in late 2014, includes the Wallers Brewery and a gin bar.

Graham Hall, of Yeadon-based Sunbridgewells, says the site has attracted visitors from across the country and become a regular social venue for people from across Yorkshire.

But he says the venue remains a hidden gem to Bradfordians and wants to see more people from the district visit. Mr Hall said: “The first year has been a life-changing experience for me.

“It’s been overwhelming, it’s a unique concept.

“People from all over the country, who would never come to Bradford, have come to see it.

“It’s just building and building. It takes time though. It’s about getting our name out there. It has been a successful year.

“I think 50 per cent of Bradford people don’t know it exists. Lots of people from Leeds are coming here for a night out. We are also getting people from places like Halifax, Barnsley and Skipton.

“We need to get the message out there to the people from Bradford, to get them to support it.

“It’s a mixture of people who come to our venue, from 20-year-olds to pensioners.”

The site’s Laurel and Hardy Bar, which opened as part of its original offering, has been re-named and re-packaged as the Sunbridge Sports Bar. It will screen live football and other sporting events, replacing large screen showing of silent black and white movies from its previous guise.

Sunbridgewells has celebrated a successful year, which included being officially opened by the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, in June this year. Only three of the site’s 14 shops have yet to be leased.

The second phase of Sunbridgewells will include a juice bar and steakhouse, with a combined 100-person capacity.

But Mr Hall says work has not started on this yet, as he focused on the existing business.

However, he said that phase was now due to begin in the next few months.

The complex’s first phase includes bars and shops, selling goods including sweets, coffee and women’s fashion.

Meanwhile, Sunbridgewells will host an 1980s takeover night on Saturday, December 30. There will be six rooms and nine DJs to cater for all tastes - from pop and soul to funk, hip-hop and dance. The event will host DJs from the era including Tank, B-Fresh and Jerry Crawford.

Entry is £5 and tickets can be bought from any of the complex’s bars.