‘Start next year’ on retail centre

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The developer behind a long-awaited shopping centre in Bradford has said it “anticipates” that work will begin in the second half of 2013.

Australian retail giant Westfield revealed the likely start date as it announced one of the anchor tenants, Debenhams, has requested to expand its planned presence in the shopping centre.

Plans for a shopping centre were first discussed more than 12 years ago and a sizeable portion of the existing centre was demolished in 2005 to make way for the development.

However a lack of anchor tenants meant the project has been continually delayed, leaving a massive hole in the city centre.

It was mothballed in 2008 and then brought back to life two years later, albeit on a much reduced scale, but no confirmed start date has been made public.

The developer this week submitted an application to amend its existing planning approval to enable Debenhams to expand its floor size from 100,000 sq ft to 117,000 sq ft and create a third sales level in The Broadway development.

Duncan Bower, Westfield’s director of development, said: “Debenhams’ expansion is another strong vote of confidence in The Broadway development and in Bradford”.

Council leader David Green (Lab), who made resolving the ongoing Westfield situation one of his key priorities on assuming office earlier this year, said the move represented “strong retailer confidence in Westfield and Bradford”.

He said: “There is huge demand and desire for great shopping in our city centre, which provides retailers with excellent trading opportunities.” 

The council decision is expected early next year.