‘More should be done to encourage city centre living in Bradford’

21 March 2012.....   Manningham Mills dominates the skyline of Bradford
21 March 2012..... Manningham Mills dominates the skyline of Bradford
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Its city centre is home to mills and factories which at one stage helped produce the fabrics which clothed the world.

And while the looms may have long fallen silent in Bradford’s former textile mills, many business leaders in the city feel they may well have a vibrant future.

Entrepreneurs in Bradford say the city’s rich heritage and quality architecture is being under-sold when it comes to urban living.

A breakfast meeting from Bradford’s Property Forum has heard that the city has the opportunity to deliver more high-quality premises when it comes to city centre living.

The forum, run by West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, discussed the topic, where delegates were told that more high-quality design and development would help the city’s fortunes.

This could be augmented by further improvements around health and well-being amenities and leisure facilities, it was claimed.

The meeting showed that there is a clear desire for city centre living, with the current total of residents now five times higher than at the turn of the century.

However this figure still only remains around the 5,000 mark, far lower than that seen in cities like Leeds and Sheffield which have extensive city centre apartment developments.

The meeting was also told that among those living in the city centre, there is a distinct lack of families, with the majority of dwellers being young, single people.

The breakfast event, held at Bradford City Football Club, was facilitated by the Property Forum chairman, Allan Booth of Rance Booth Smith architects.

Speaking afterwards Mr Booth said: “Questions around urban living in Bradford have been circulating among the property sector for some time now: who lives there? What jobs do they do? Who’s looking to invest? What are the good and bad examples of recent residential conversions and how do we raise values and returns on future schemes?

“These were some of the areas that we tried to cover at this event; and, while we may not have been able to explore each of them to the extent that we would have liked, it did provide much food for thought.

“There’s probably scope for a second event on this topic to delve further.”

Among the other speakers at the Bradford Property Forum event were Nav and Hass Mir of Locate Properties, Dave West from Little Germany Action and Amir Hussain from Yeme Architects.