In the early 1970s, Bradford was said to have the highest square footage of retail space of any city in the country outside London.

Contrast that with today’s figures which show it now has the second-highest percentage of empty shops nationally, and it is clear how severe the decline has been in this regard.

A huge factor at play here is, of course, the lack of a proper shopping centre to attract people and help businesses thrive.

Instead of the promised Westfield development on Broadway, there is a hole, and while plans to landscape part of the site announced today should make the city a more pleasant place to visit and work in, they cannot change that fundamental fact.

Meanwhile, shoppers are lured away by the glamour of Leeds.

But while these figures are further proof of the damage the Broadway delay is causing, they also offer up some hope.

For if around one-in-five shops are currently empty – the rest, almost 80 per cent, must surely be open for business.

And with the support of local people they can remain so, which will provide a stronger foundation for recovery when better times return – as they eventually must.

Without that backing, however, more will shut, dragging the city down further and making recovery that much harder.

That is why ‘Buy it in Bradford’ is a message worth repeating.