The Bradford City Centre Transformation Project is set to commence this summer, marking the next phase of the city’s ambitious regeneration plans. The initiative, led by Bradford Council in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, aims to revitalise the city’s core and leverage its architectural heritage. With works starting on July 10, 2023, the scheme is part of the Transforming Cities Fund program, which focuses on enhancing accessibility through improved pedestrian infrastructure, cycling routes, and public transport services.
The upcoming developments are expected to create stunning new public spaces, elevating the city’s aesthetic appeal and preparing it for the City of Culture celebrations in 2025. The project involves the pedestrianisation of certain roads and the upgrading of existing areas to meet high standards. These enhanced spaces will feature top-quality paving, landscaping, and the inclusion of green areas, plantings, and seating, providing ideal venues for public events and social gatherings.
One notable addition is the creation of a ‘linear park’ on Hall Ings, which will replace most of the existing road space. This park will incorporate new trees and various types of plantings, contributing to a visually striking environment. Additionally, the demolition of the NCP car park is scheduled to commence in late July 2023, paving the way for a new access point to the Interchange. Collectively, these elements will enhance the city centre’s arrival experience for both visitors and commuters.
The city centre project aims to modernise Bradford by optimising its potential as a vibrant cultural hub. By providing attractive links between cultural and entertainment venues, the regeneration efforts seek to transform Bradford into a social city. This transformation is expected to attract new employers, increase the city centre’s residential population, and establish a suitable backdrop for a thriving visitor destination during the City of Culture year and beyond.
Furthermore, the scheme includes the creation of improved cycle routes across the city centre, facilitating sustainable modes of transportation. These routes will connect existing and planned cycling paths, enabling efficient movement throughout the city.
The development of appealing public spaces with greenery, coupled with efforts to reduce pollution and improve accessibility, is considered vital to fostering the right environment for the city centre’s growth. It is expected to attract residents, employers, and tourists alike.
To facilitate the project, bus services will be rerouted around the heart of the city centre starting from February 2024. This will allow for the creation of new public spaces while also improving service reliability by avoiding congestion hotspots. The revised bus routes aim to make public transportation more attractive and reduce traffic congestion for easier access to and from the city centre.
The construction work for the city centre project will be divided into two phases. The initial phase will focus on enabling works, involving road and pavement improvements throughout the city centre. This phase will also establish new bus routes around the city centre’s heart, with the transition to these routes occurring in February 2024.
The second phase, starting in 2024, will concentrate on creating new public spaces, walking paths, and cycling routes within the city centre. The majority of this work is expected to be completed in time for the City of Culture celebrations in 2025.
The scope and scale of the 18-month-long construction work in the city centre are unprecedented in recent decades for the district. Consequently, the Council warns that disruptions and delays to journeys are likely to occur from the beginning of construction on July 10, 2023, until the core elements of the project are completed in late December. Peak times, in particular, are expected to experience significant delays, with the potential for delays at other times as well.
Starting from January 2024, the initial phase of highway works will gradually diminish, allowing traffic to flow more smoothly. Simultaneously, the second phase will shift construction activities to the city centre itself. Throughout this period, pedestrian access will be maintained, and vehicular access will largely remain unchanged, except for the removal of access to Hall Ings, which will be predominantly pedestrianised. As a result, disruptions should decrease significantly until the project’s completion in late 2024 or early 2025.
To mitigate the likely disruptions, the Council and its construction partner, Balfour Beatty, are implementing traffic management measures to facilitate smoother traffic flow. The public is encouraged to bear with the ongoing works and plan their journeys in advance by referring to dedicated project web pages at www.future-bradford.co.uk. These pages provide the latest information and updates for both the public and local businesses.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, expressed her confidence in the scheme’s ability to transform the city centre into an attractive, accessible, and dynamic hub that residents and visitors will be eager to explore. She emphasised Bradford’s potential to become one of the most vibrant and sustainable cities in the UK.
David Shepherd, Bradford’s Strategic Director for Regeneration, emphasised the project’s goal of offering a city centre destination that encourages frequent visits from residents and creates a positive experience for visitors. The scheme’s objectives include reducing the dominance of road vehicles, creating a calmer atmosphere, and providing spaces for people to meet, relax, shop, work, and socialise.
Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, highlighted the significant investment being made to transform Bradford. She emphasised the importance of facilitating walking, cycling, and public transport usage to enhance connectivity, inclusivity, and the overall quality of life in the region. The project aligns with the vision of making Bradford an even better place to live, work, and visit, especially in preparation for its designation as the UK City of Culture in 2025.
Stephen Semple, Area Director at Balfour Beatty, the construction partner for the project, expressed excitement about the opportunity to turn the Bradford city centre vision into reality. He emphasised the scheme’s lasting positive impact on local communities and residents, with additional green public spaces and new active travel routes that will significantly reduce air pollution in the city centre.
With the commencement of the Bradford City Centre Transformation Project, the city is poised to embark on a new chapter of growth and development. The ambitious plans aim to rejuvenate the city centre, enhance accessibility, and create an inviting and sustainable environment that will captivate both residents and visitors alike.