Bradford regeneration company with only 11 employees spent £4m on staffing

A PRIVATE company set up to administer Bradford's regeneration spent more than £4m of public money on staffing costs despite never employing more than 11 people at any one time.

Video special report: The millions spent on schemes left unstarted in Bradford's regeneration game

Bradford Centre Regeneration (BCR), which was set up in 2003 with the job of encouraging and attracting development in the city, spent a total of 6.78m in operating costs during its time in existence – all of which came from public funders.

In its first year, the company employed an architect, Will Alsop, to develop a masterplan for how the city centre could be re-developed over a 20-year regeneration programme.

However, the firm was wound up after six years, during which time it spent a total of 4,076,096 on staffing costs, including 853,000 in payments to its chief executive, Maud Marshall.

In 2003/04 alone, it spent more than 250,000 in employee costs despite having just two members of staff.

Figures obtained by the Yorkshire Post have also revealed that 53,881 was spent on hospitality during this time period, with just under half of this total being spent during the organisation's final three years.

BCR also spent 404,000 on premises, 163,000 on transport and 2.1m on "supplies and services" during its time in business.

One of the centre pieces of BCR's existence was the "Birth of a New City" campaign, which was designed to attract investment into the city.

BCR employed the Leeds-based communications company Brahm – now known as Brass – to handle the project.

This strategic marketing programme was handed a 1.15m budget and was made up of 800,000 from BCR as well as a further 350,000 from the now defunct economic partnership, Bradford Vision, and involved a series of outdoor, cinema and Press advertising in Bradford and across Yorkshire as well as nationally.

Included among this were advertisements at three airports in London, Leeds and Nice at a cost of 75,000.

BCR was wound up in 2009, with Bradford Council deciding to take regeneration work back in-house.