'Sack city centre plan boss' call

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) in Bradford has called for the resignation of the boss of the city's regeneration company.

Following a heated meeting earlier this week when Bradford Centre Regeneration (BCR) chiefs clashed with members of the public over plans for the city centre, UKIP wants to see BCR chief executive, Maud Marshall, step down from her post because of what it calls "BCR's failure to deliver on their plans to regenerate Bradford."

UKIP Bradford chairman, Jason Smith, was among over 200 people who attended the meeting which included a presentation on the regeneration company's plans for the future and the progress it has made in the past five years.

Mr Smith said: "The presentation was very professional, but it was only a vision of what they intended to deliver – after five years in charge they have achieved virtually nothing of substance in Bradford.

"What kind of business would bulldoze an entire area of the city without any firm assurances of when or if the development could be delivered; this is sheer incompetence on the part of the Bradford Centre Regeneration. Their failure to consider saving the iconic Odeon building goes to prove that their claims of listening to the people of Bradford are simply untrue.

"It was clear from the BCR event that they are no further forward with their regeneration plans and that they have failed miserably to engage the people of Bradford. It is clear that somebody must take responsibility for this debacle."

BCR, which was set up in February 2003 to spearhead the renaissance of the city centre including plans for a multi-million Park at the Heart scheme around the city hall, came under fierce criticism earlier this week.

A spokesperson for Bradford Centre Regeneration, said: "Mr Smith clearly misunderstood the information that was presented on Monday night as he has omitted key elements that were discussed and has made assertions and claims that are factually inaccurate."

The company declined to expand on which part of Mr Smith's claims and assertions it felt were "factually inaccurate."

On Monday, a panel, which included Bradford Council leader Coun Kris Hopkins, BCR chief executive Maud Marshall and regeneration agency Yorkshire Forward's director of environment Jan Anderson, faced heckling and applause as they fielded questions on controversial plans to tear down Bradford's former Odeon cinema and replace it with a development called New Victoria Place which will include a hotel, restaurants and bars.

Angry residents also demanded to know when Bradford Council would set a deadline for construction work to begin on the city's long-awaited Broadway shopping centre which is being developed by Westfield.

The council has the power to buy back the land and seek another developer if it believes Westfield cannot take it forward but Bradford Council chief executive, Tony Reeves, refused to divulge any timescale for such action.

Westfield development director, Neil Huntington, told the meeting the firm means to complete the project by 2010.