BRADFORD has seen one of the steepest growth rates in the UK for people moving into city centres. Between 2002 and 2015 the number of people living in Bradford city centre soared by 146 per cent. Bradford is rapidly catching up other major city centres.

The shift to online shopping is inevitable – it is happening inexorably – and our city centres are changing rapidly.

One only has to stroll up Darley Street to see what happens when major high street multiples abandon a shopping area – boarded up shopfronts plastered with illegal flyers are not the kind of image Bradford wants to present to visitors.

City centres are going to have to adapt to a new paradigm: fewer shops, more bars and restaurants and more living accommodation.

Converting empty premises into flats is good business sense and good for Bradford as a whole.

It brings more people into our city centre who will be spending their money in Bradford and not looking to places like Leeds or Manchester.

Of course, plenty of good accommodation is only part of the story. Bradford also needs a compelling night life offer.

The new city centre cinema is a big step in the right direction, but the city needs more – and varied – upmarket restaurants where families and couples can enjoy a pleasant meal.

And Bradford’s growth spurt comes from a particularly low base; just 1,300 people were living in the city centre in 2002. By comparison Leeds had 12,000 city centre dwellers and now it has more than 32,000.