FOR too long Bradford has looked on powerless as Leeds prospered – its growth threatening to leave other parts of the region permanently in its shadow.

Two years ago Bradford Council unveiled a bold ten-year plan for regenerating key parts of the city centre. It envisaged a new film production hub, better road and rail links, a new city centre pool, a revamped Odeon and a redeveloped St George’s Hall.

With public sector funds under intense pressure there was never a realistic prospect of the Council undertaking such an ambitious plan on its own. The private sector was always going to play a major role in making it all happen. And to be fair we have seen solid progress since then.

The £260m Broadway retail complex has opened, revitalising a ten-acre site derelict for so long it even had its own name, “the Bradford hole”, and building on the good work achieved by the nearby City Park. Both of these schemes were scaled down but no one can deny they have given the centre a lift.

Earlier this week Princess Anne officially opened the £1.9m Sunbridgewells underground retail complex and work finally began on St George’s Hall.

But it isn’t all good news.

Darley Street – once a thriving part of the city centre – is full of boarded-up shop units and rail links to the city are as poor as they ever were.

But Rome – and Bradford – wasn’t built in a day.

The city still has a long way to go but the green shoots of recovery are visible.