How a £21m market development will regenerate Bradford - Dave Baldwin

Bradford is a thriving city with a great heritage.
Bradford is a thriving city with a great heritage.
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Another piece of the jigsaw is coming into place.

The £21m market development will be the biggest project to date in the ongoing regeneration of Bradford city centre.

It combines location, heritage and investment, essential ingredients for urban renewal.

The project will burst into life this spring. The destruction of several vacant stores will make space for the creation of a new multi-storey market building.

Large windows will bathe the interiors with natural light, multiple entrances will welcome shoppers and a public square will connect Piccadilly and Darley Street and provide a place for open air events and outdoor stalls. Filled with food, fashion and other fare from every corner of the world, it will be irresistible.

The people of Bradford are getting behind the project. A consultation exercise attracted 1,200 responses and produced a name for the development: Darley Street Market.

Coun Alex Ross-Shaw, portfolio holder for regeneration, planning and transport at Bradford Council, said: “The markets have a special place for so many Bradford residents and therefore it was very important for us to consult with as many people across the district.

“We want residents to be involved in the new market project and what better way than to decide on the name for the new market. Darley Street Market was the overwhelming favourite as people made clear they wanted a name that was direct, celebrated the heritage of the street and gave a clear indication as to its location.

“We are fully committed to delivering the extensive reconstruction of the markets offer in the city centre and this is another step in creating a space that not only offers an innovative shopping experience, but also a place that the local community feels belongs to them.”

The council has appointed Kier as its preferred bidder for the development. Phil McDowell, operations director at Kier Regional Building Northern, said: “This vital regeneration project is the largest to be undertaken in Bradford and will provide a dynamic, vibrant and diverse shopping location for visitors. We’re thrilled to be appointed as preferred bidder to work with Bradford Council and are committed to delivering a project that benefits the community.”

Darley Street Market will be split across three floors, each with their own special identity and environment. The lower ground floor will focus on dry foods within a vaulted structure intended to be warm and intimate. The upper ground floor will house the main fresh food stalls. The first floor will host a world food court with communal seating areas.

Bradford is developing a fine reputation for the creative reimagining of public space. City Park has established itself as one of the best examples of dynamic new urban realm, winning multiple awards. I hope Darley Street Market goes on to achieve the same success.

The entire city centre will be transformed this decade as developers commit to the district. In the One City Park project, Muse will create a state-of-the-art and environmentally excellent building with 56,403 sq ft of grade A space.

At Forster Square, Morgan Sindall will carry out a £17m redevelopment of the railway station with improved facilities, public spaces and better access to the city centre for the benefit of commuters, shoppers and visitors. In the area around the top of the town, a city village of 1,000 new homes and spaces for business is planned.

All this adds up to something significant. This is what happens when you get everyone’s noses pointing in the same direction. Investment, jobs and growth follow. The people are getting behind it, as demonstrated by the strong response to the survey on public markets. This is the renewal of pride and ambition.

The jigsaw is taking shape.

Dave Baldwin is the chair of Bradford Economic Partnership