ALL CITIES must move with the times and Bradford is no exception if we want it to grow and develop and be left as a better place for those who come after us.

But there must be balance in all things so it’s important to retain and protect the best of the old while creating a new legacy for the future.

Bradford has learned from some of its past mistakes. If the Swan Arcade existed today, for instance, I would like to believe it would be in no danger at all of demolition.

And beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder – although I find it hard to believe that, if put to a referendum, the citizens of Bradford would vote in favour of keeping the Westgate monstrosity that dominates the city skyline, despite the recent Civic Society debate that led to a vote in favour of keeping it.

I agree there is a place for retaining fine examples of brutalist architecture – but the former YBS HQ is neither fine nor Westgate the right place for it. The concrete carbuncle is so completely at odds with its surroundings and so out of scale I can only assume the planners who agreed to it in the first place must have been smoking something unusual.

No such complaint could be made about the computer-generated artwork created to illustrate what a new city centre rail station and its immediate environment could look like if plans to take the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail east-west high-speed link through Bradford come to fruition.

I rarely get excited about artists’ impressions. They are usually created in a way that requires a large dose of scepticism to imagine how they will appear in real life.

Of course, they are often designed to stand out, to show off the architect’s skill and creativity, and so contrast strikingly with the reality of the tired environment they are designed to enhance.

But there was something about the images created for Bradford Council to illustrate how a new city centre station could look that made me think “yes, exactly.”

I genuinely believe that a new central station could transform Bradford’s fortunes and help it take its place as the big beating heart of the Northern Powerhouse. But, as the CGI so effectively demonstrates, the redevelopment of the “island” of land on which it would be built has the power to set the tone for the sort of balanced environment that could completely alter perceptions of the city for visitors and residents alike.

There is nothing for anyone to cry over standing in its way – although no doubt there’ll be someone who wants to launch a campaign to save the “brutalist” Interchange or the “exquisitely concrete-clad NCP.”

They were all buildings of their time and have fulfilled their purpose but, like High Point on Westgate, they are not worth saving and don’t add anything to Bradford even if they have played a very minor part in its architectural history.

What makes this site so interesting, though, is that it is bounded by some of the city’s best buildings: St George’s Hall, The Great Victoria Hotel and City Hall.

The CGI illustrates perfectly how modern buildings can blend in with a historic street scene, even enhancing its presence, while creating their own contemporary identity and proving the city is not pickled in aspic.

Some of this, of course, could be achieved without a new station but it is the fact that it creates a new gateway to the city that says “we’re proud of our past but we’re carving out a great new future” that makes Northern Powerhouse Rail so vitally important.

I want people from Manchester and Leeds and beyond to step off a train here after a speedy journey and say: “Wow, Bradford’s alright…”

That, in itself, is enough to justify the cost because it will be a game-changer in the battle for more jobs, more investment and massive economic growth. And that’s why Next Stop Bradford must happen.

Tom's frank example can tackle important taboos

IT WAS enormously refreshing to read the open, frank and honest account of his struggles with mental health that Tom Boldy gave to the Telegraph & Argus.

The 22-year-old trainee teacher from Eldwick first shared his story on social media and the response has prompted him to want to visit schools to speak to students about the importance of talking about their problems. Tackling mental health taboos is vital and Tom’s brave example has the potential to make a real impact on the lives of many young people struggling with these issues.

Hands-on hospitality a perfect way to cater for student need

I WILL often tell anyone who wants to listen that I learned far more about being a journalist in my first day as a trainee reporter, nearly 40 years ago, than I did in all the time I spent studying the subject before I arrived.

There is no substitute for hands-on experience, so I was impressed to read about the Bradford College initiative which saw 17 level-three travel and tourism students “take over” the running of the Holiday Inn, at Brighouse, for a week.

The students apparently had a go at just about everything involved in running a hotel and, by all accounts, it was such a success that both the hotel and the College plan to repeat it soon.

Most importantly, though, the students all seemed to have enjoyed it and walked away with real enthusiasm. Employers, please take note.