Simon Stell: Eyes of the nation on Bradford, a city that’s going places

The gothic Victorian spire of the Wool Exchange dominates the Bradford city centre skyline
The gothic Victorian spire of the Wool Exchange dominates the Bradford city centre skyline
0
Have your say

Last week was special for Bradford thanks to the BBC ‘We Are Bradford’ campaign with TV and radio shows broadcasting from the city all week.

Radio 1, Radio 4, Radio 5 Live and Asian Network, as well as BBC Breakfast, Look North, and The One Show were all in Bradford to showcase the city. It gave viewers and radio listeners a wonderful opportunity to see the positive side to Bradford, which is a rapidly expanding city with lots of new start-up companies and is already home to many household names.

You can’t underestimate the impact this type of media coverage will have on the city of Bradford. It’s shone a very positive light on Bradford to a national audience.

Plenty of other positive stories have also come out of Bradford recently. These include planning permission being granted for the redevelopment of the city’s former Odeon Cinema, which has stood empty for almost 20 years, into a live entertainment and events venue that will hold 4,000 people operated by NEC Group.

Bradford Manufacturing Week, which took place last October, has announced plans to expand the event this year following its success. Half of the district’s 50 secondary schools took part alongside 40 manufacturers in more than 143 events and 3,000 work experiences including work experience days, tours, employer talks and life skills events for students aged 14 to 19.

One of the ‘Big Four’, PwC recently announced it is opening a new office in Bradford city centre, something that any town or city would die for. In preparation for the expansion, the company has already hired 60 new staff who will be based in the new office and says this will climb to 225 people in the next few years. We’ve been in Bradford for more than 30 years, so we know why it’s a great place to do business. Bradford is a genuinely global city with a population of more than 500,000 people who speak 150 different languages, and today this is the backbone of its entrepreneurial spirit.

When LCF Law opened its doors in 1988, initially known as Last Cawthra Smith, there was just 15 of us, and now we have more than 145 people in offices in Bradford, Leeds, Harrogate and Ilkley, working in corporate and personal legal services.

Having a head office in Bradford has been a big part of our success and earlier this year Julie Davis, who heads up our residential property division in Bradford, was named Lawyer of the Year at the Modern Law Awards in January 2019.

We are supporting the ‘Next Stop Bradford’ campaign to secure a high-speed Northern Powerhouse Rail station in Bradford city centre, reducing journey times and better connections to neighbouring towns and cities including Leeds and Manchester. It was great to see Bradford Council unveiling its Northern Powerhouse Rail Growth Strategy last week at the MIPIM property conference.

This is focussing on skills and education, as well as unlocking growth potential at the Southern Gateway to the city, which would create huge opportunities for people living and working in the area, as well as businesses, investors and developers.

Estimates suggest bringing high-speed rail into Bradford could benefit the North’s economy by up to £15bn in additional GVA by 2060.

Another big announcement, is that Bradford is one of just five areas selected to benefit from the Future Place programme.

This will provide Bradford with free development support from the Royal Institute of British Architects, Chartered Institute of Housing, Local Government Association and Royal Town Planning Institute in order to develop a vision for the city centre and unlock more of its potential.

Bradford is playing its role in the Leeds City Region and the North as a whole, and we certainly don’t plan on ever moving from this great city.