Bradford hopes to build on new-found confidence

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CIVIC leaders have drawn up a blueprint to bring a decade of regeneration and growth to one of Yorkshire’s biggest cities.

The plan for Bradford city centre focuses on finding new uses for vacant buildings and encouraging the development of new homes for “urban living”.

City leaders are keen to capitalise on rising confidence which has seen work start on the Broadway shopping complex and the success of projects such as City Park and the potential of the former Odeon live music venue proposal.

The council has drafted the 10-year plan after consulting various bodies such as Bradford University, Bradford College, the Chamber of Commerce and transport bosses at Metro.

The blueprint includes a prospectus aimed at potential investors and developers.

A council spokesman said: “City Plan is ambitious in its scope and includes a wide range of interventions and projects that will require significant co-ordination over the next ten years.

“The Plan not only includes physical projects but also actions around education, skills, improving links with the manufacturing and business sectors and effective management of the city centre.

“It highlights the need to find new uses for vacant buildings, including bringing back into use older buildings as well as the revitalisation of the high street and the construction of new homes.”

Bradford Council leader Councillor David Green said the council would have a leadership role but, as funding to the public sector reduced, future schemes would be delivered increasingly by the private sector.

Colin Philpott, of lobbying group Bradford Breakthrough, said: “The City Plan...offers an ambitious but realistic vision for taking the city centre forward and includes some exciting ideas. The challenge now is for all of us to work with the Council to make it happen.”

Dr Mohammed Iqbal, founder of networking body Bradford Matters, said improving the city centre was a top priority, adding: “It is crucial that Bradford Council has ongoing engagement with all the key stakeholders throughout the lifetime of the plan and progress is monitored regularly.”

The proposals will go before a meeting of the Council’s Executive which meets on Tuesday February 10.