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Could Bradford become the 'Shoreditch of Yorkshire'?

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A debate is raging about Bradford's potential as a hipster hub after its council chief executive spoke of her desire to turn the city into the 'Shoreditch of Yorkshire'.

Guardian journalist Simon Jenkins interviewed Kersten England about her vision for how Bradford can develop into an alternative, creative city rather than an economic powerhouse similar to Leeds or Manchester.

Jenkins, who worked in Bradford during its industrial heyday, spoke to England about her decision to eschew grants, subsidies and support from London in favour of cultivating a 'do it yourself' culture of creative start-ups.

She took the writer on a tour of Sunbridgewells, Bradford's pioneering hipster enclave. Old storage tunnels have been converted into an underground nucleus for artisan traders, live music and independent food and drink.

Despite these shoots of growth, Jenkins spoke to the owner of an artisan soap shop who was closing her business due to a lack of footfall in what many hoped would become the city's hipster quarter.

Also interviewed is the owner of a creative co-working space in a former warehouse, where tenants are charged a fifth of the rent they would pay in Leeds and half of what it would cost in trendy Saltaire - although few of them actually live in Bradford.

Jenkins calls for the residents of the city to find 'inspiration in dereliction' - to work to attract artists, designers and other creatives who can repopulate rundown buildings and areas of the centre.

Twitter users waded into the debate, with many arguing that comparing Bradford to London's fashionable districts was patronising and that the city needed to carve its own identity.

Thomas Barrett posted:

"In spite of all its problems, Bradford is still a handsome city, and this article makes some good points. Time to put the patronising 'Shoreditch of *insert northern town/city here*' tag to bed now though. Makes me cringe."

Peter Matthews added:

"Bradford is a fantastic city, and it needs to find its niche in the modern world and develop in its own way. Probably more like a big Hebden Bridge than a Shoreditch."

The Guardian has previously identified nearby Halifax as having potential to become the Shoreditch of the north
The full article can be read here.

Sunbridgewells: Tunnel vision sees Bradford's lost underground world brought to life