Bradford has seen significant progress in various regeneration projects over the past year, along with a successful bid to become the City of Culture for 2025. These achievements mark a turning point for the district, highlighting its ambitions and potential for growth.
The city and district of Bradford have undertaken key regeneration initiatives, recognising the importance of revitalising the area. These projects have been delivered and are still being developed to align with the vision for the city and district. The successful bid for City of Culture status further elevates Bradford’s position in the country’s cultural landscape, attracting talent, investments, and fostering the creation of new skills, jobs, and civic pride. The preparation for 2025 is already underway with a dedicated senior team in place.
The City of Culture 2025 designation will see Bradford District host over 1,000 performances and events, including major arts festivals and collaborations on national and international levels. This prestigious status has the potential to bring in an additional £700 million, create 3,000 jobs, attract over a million visitors, and unlock the social and well-being benefits associated with cultural participation.
The Arts Council has shown support for City of Culture 2025 by announcing an investment of over £10 million in Bradford. This includes granting national portfolio status to museums and galleries in the area, and securing annual funding of £381,000 for three years. Additionally, Spirit of 2012 has provided funding of £250,000 to support volunteering in 2025.
Bradford’s city center is undergoing a transformation through flagship projects that are making visible progress. These projects include the development of One City Park, a state-of-the-art Grade A office space aimed at stimulating business growth and creating high-quality jobs.
The former Odeon cinema is being redeveloped into Bradford Live, which will become the largest “mid-size” venue outside London with a capacity of 4,000. The completion of the Darley Street Market, expected soon, will create 400 new jobs and bring economic benefits of £32 million over the next decade.
The Transforming Cities Funding, amounting to £80.7 million, will be used to enhance transportation in and around the city centre, improving access to Bradford Interchange and implementing a £20 million M606 park and ride scheme, among other walking and cycling improvements.
Moreover, the “Top of Town” public realm improvements scheme, with an allocated budget of £2 million, aims to enhance North Parade, home to numerous independent shops, bars, cafes, and businesses.
Homes England has entered into a Strategic Place Partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) to develop new housing sites in Bradford City Centre, potentially accommodating up to 4,000 homes. This includes the City Village project, which plans to construct 1,000 homes.
Both Keighley Towns Deal Board and Shipley Towns Deal Board have secured significant grants to fund various projects. Keighley has been granted £34.7 million, including £15 million for the Development Investment Fund, while Shipley has secured £27.4 million to rejuvenate the town centre and support small businesses. These projects are progressing well, with further announcements anticipated.
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, the Bradford Council Leader, acknowledged the remarkable progress made on key regeneration projects, transforming the city centre and district towns. She emphasised the district’s ambitious plans and the confidence displayed through Bradford’s designation as the City of Culture 2025. Cllr Hinchcliffe highlighted the importance of recognising the efforts of residents, communities, staff, and partners who have contributed to these achievements.
However, she acknowledged the challenges faced by local authorities nationwide due to financial and demand pressures, particularly amid the cost-of-living crisis characterised by soaring energy, fuel, and food prices, rising interest rates, and increased costs of goods and services.
Despite these challenges, the Council remains committed to protecting services and supporting the residents, especially the most vulnerable, while working closely with partners and communities to address future needs.
The accomplishments and highlights of the district’s significant successes from 2022/23 will be showcased in front of Bradford Council’s Executive in the upcoming week.
Other notable achievements include the opening of Wyke Sports Village in November 2022, following a £7.5 million investment. The village features a full-sized floodlit 3G football pitch, three grass pitches, a pavilion with changing rooms and community space, and a cycle track for community use and major cycling events.
Each constituency area now has its own Locality Plan, which identifies priorities tailored to the locality, aiming to build safe, strong, and active localities where citizens and local leaders collaborate with public agencies and partners to address local needs and improve people’s health and well-being.
The district actively participated in the Jubilee celebrations, holding community-based events through small grants that allowed neighbourhoods to join the nation in celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Additionally, the district had the privilege of hosting one of King Charles III’s initial official engagements, where he explored the diverse talents and potential within Bradford.
Thousands of children and families benefited from the Holiday and Food Programme, which provided holiday clubs, activities, and access to nutritious meals. Moreover, Bradford became the first city in the north to establish a Clean Air Zone (CAZ), aiming to reduce pollution in deprived areas and improve children’s health, considering that 33% of childhood asthma cases in the district are associated with poor air quality. The income generated from the CAZ is being reinvested in initiatives such as the Schools Clean Air Programme, targeting air quality improvements in schools throughout the district.
The comprehensive report showcasing the district’s achievements and highlights from the past year will be presented to Bradford Council’s Executive on Thursday, July 13. These accomplishments represent a significant step forward for Bradford, demonstrating its commitment to growth, revitalisation, and the cultural enrichment of its residents and visitors.