Construction set to start on ambitious £43.5 million scheme to transform Bradford city centre

July 7, 2023

Construction set to start on ambitious £43.5 million scheme to transform Bradford city centre

The next phase of Bradford’s ambitious regeneration plans to position the district perfectly for its new future is to begin this summer.

Work to transform the look and feel of Bradford city centre and build on the city’s incredible architectural legacy is set to begin from the 10 July 2023 as part of a scheme delivered by Bradford Council, in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. The works are being delivered through the Combined Authority’s Transforming Cities Fund programme, which is aimed at making it easier for people to walk, cycle and use public transport.

Set to deliver the perfect stage for the City of Culture celebrations in 2025, a series of stunning new public spaces will be created through the pedestrianisation of some roads, while existing spaces will be brought up to a similar high standard. The new spaces will feature high-quality paving and landscaping, with new green areas, planting and seating, delivering the perfect spaces for public events or gathering to meet friends and family.

A new ‘linear park’ will be created to replace the majority of the existing road space on Hall Ings, featuring new trees and other types of planting. Demolition of the NCP car park is also due to start from late July 2023 to enable a new access point to the Interchange. Together, these elements will create a dramatically improved sense of arrival to the city centre for visitors and commuters alike.

The scheme will modernise the city centre to showcase it at its best, providing attractive new links for people walking or wheeling between the abundance of culture and entertainment venues as Bradford becomes a social city. The end result will provide the perfect setting for residents and the thousands of visitors due to descend on Bradford for the City of Culture year and beyond.

Alongside this, improved cycle routes will be created across the city centre connecting current and planned cycle routes, while enabling people to travel around and across the city in a more sustainable way.

Creating new attractive public spaces with greenery, reducing pollution and making it easier for people to get around the heart of the city centre without negotiating heavy traffic is seen as crucial to creating the right environment to boost the city centre residential population, attract new employers, and create an appropriate setting for the city centre as a thriving visitor destination.

From February 2024, bus services will be rerouted to travel around the very heart of the city centre to enable the creation of the new public spaces. The new routing will also help services to avoid congestion hotspots to improve service reliability, making bus services more attractive while reducing traffic and making it easier to get to and from the city centre.

Work on the city centre project will be constructed in two phases. The first phase will see enabling works on road and pavements around the city centre. This phase of work will create the new routes for bus services around the city centre’s heart. Bus services will move to the new routes from February 2024.

The second phase of construction works will begin in 2024 and will create the new public spaces and walking and cycling routes in the city centre heart, with the vast majority of work due to be completed in time for the City of Culture celebrations starting in 2025.

The scale of the works being undertaken over 18 months in the city centre is unprecedented in recent decades in the district.

The Council is warning that disruption and delays to journeys to and from the city centre are likely from the start of construction on 10 July 2023, until the core elements of the works are completed in late December. Significant delays are inevitable at peak times, with the potential for delays at other times.

From January 2024, phase one works to the highway around the city centre will tail off, and bus services will move to their new routing, allowing traffic to flow more normally. While the second phase of works will see significant construction move to the heart of the city centre itself, pedestrian access will be maintained and vehicular access will remain largely unchanged apart from the removal of access to Hall Ings, which will be largely pedestrianised. As a result, disruption should thereafter be greatly reduced up to the scheme being completed in late 2024/early 2025.

In response to likely disruption, the Council and its construction partner, Balfour Beatty, are implementing traffic management to help keep traffic moving. People are asked to bear with the works and plan journeys in advance by referring to a number of dedicated project web pages at www.future-bradford.co.uk  where the public and businesses can check on the latest information and updates.

Commenting on the works, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “We are ambitious for Bradford District, both in terms of driving the economy and seeing Bradford become one of the UK’s most vibrant and sustainable cities.

“Bradford has the potential to have one of the most attractive, accessible and dynamic city centres in the country and we are confident this scheme will deliver that. People will see a transformed city centre that they want to visit when the works are complete.

Bradford’s Strategic Director for Regeneration, David Shepherd, said: “We want to offer a city centre destination that encourages our residents to visit the city centre more often. We also want visitors to have a better sense of arrival and a positive experience meaning they keep coming back. This scheme will improve the look and feel of the city centre by reducing the dominance of road vehicles creating a calmer place for people to meet, relax, shop, work and socialise.”

Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire said: “We are investing millions of pounds to transform Bradford.

“And making it easier for people to get around by walking, cycling and using public transport is a huge part of our journey towards creating a more inclusive and better-connected region.

“This is a great example of how we are making the city an even better place to live, work and visit in the run-up to its year as UK City of Culture in 2025.”

Stephen Semple, Area Director at Balfour Beatty, the construction partner on the project, said: “We are excited to commence on transforming Bradford city centre, turning the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s vision into reality.

“Once complete, the scheme will leave a lasting, positive legacy for local communities and residents alike; providing additional green public spaces and new active travel routes which will significantly reduce air pollution in the City Centre.”

The next phase of Bradford’s ambitious regeneration plans to position the district perfectly for its new future is to begin this summer.