Business rises from ashes of city riots

A MULTI-million pound business which was looted and razed in the Bradford riots unveiled its new £4.5m premises in the city yesterday.

The Duke of York, the UK's special representative for international investment and trade, was at the new JCT600 dealership in Sticker Lane to perform the official opening.

The former Lister Park BMW showroom suffered 15m damage during the riots on July 7, 2001, but was quick to re-open less than three weeks later in temporary premises off Canal Road.

Yesterday, almost two years on from the devastation that closed the Manningham site, JCT600 opened what is expected to become one of the firm's biggest showrooms.

The move demonstrates the commitment the firm pledged to Bradford when it was driven out of Manningham and brings a much-needed boost to the city, which is determined to fight back from the devastation of two years ago.

Within a year of the Government announcing its urban renaissance programme in 2001, which promised to renew communities and tackle social exclusion, more than 100m was pumped into Bradford.

An independent report criticised many of the programmes for being localised and lacking a strategic focus, which resulted in organisations and communities applying for the grants having to show they were either creating jobs or learning opportunities.

Prince Andrew was keen to visit Bradford and show his support for JCT600 for keeping its flagship dealership in the city. He was given a short tour of the premises by group chairman Jack Tordoff and his son John, the chief executive.

The chairman said: "It is an honour for JCT600 and the City of Bradford to have His Royal Highness here to mark the completion of our building work.

"Lister Park BMW will be fully open for business on July 14 and we look forward to welcoming all our customers to this new state-of-the-art dealership.

"Our commitment to Bradford and our customers is reflected in the investment we have made in the area with this superb facility and in the plans we have put in place to expand and develop JCT600 for the future."

Mike Cartwright, policy executive at Bradford Chamber of Commerce, praised the firm which recently announced plans to invest more than 10m in the city over the next two years.

"All credit to JCT600, they are doing a great job for businesses in Bradford," he said.

The Duke's visit to Bradford was part of a day of engagements in West Yorkshire, which also took him to Huddersfield.

Earlier in the day, he followed in his grandfather's footsteps when he visited Globe Worsted and Huddersfield Fine Worsted Mills in Huddersfield.

He saw the cloth production processes, as his grandfather did in 1932.

As holders of the Royal Warrant, Huddersfield Fine Worsted, at Kirkheaton, and Globe, at Slaithwaite, make cloth mainly for men's clothes, including the Crombie brand.

sally.cope@ypn.co.uk