For the city centre to thrive and be busier, we need to make it a more attractive place for people to live, work and spend time. Better quality, cleaner and greener public spaces, that are easy and safe to walk around and pleasant places to be, are key to this. To create these public spaces and make it easier to get around the city centre, we need to repurpose some road space. Removing through-traffic also makes the heart of the city centre safer for visitors, less noisy and less polluted, while making improvements for cycling and walking that mean it is still easy for people to get around.
By routing bus services immediately around the city centre, rather than running through it, bus services still serve key city centre destinations and we can improve the city centre environment while avoiding the traffic hold-ups that are currently making bus services less reliable across the district. People travelling by car can also still get to key car parks or disabled parking to visit the city centre.
Councils do not generally own retail units and therefore do not have the power to specify which retailers locate in city centres. Instead, this scheme is designed to create an environment that allows the city centre to be successful.
Shopping habits have been changing rapidly over recent years as online shopping has become more popular. If we want our existing shops and markets, and facilities such as the Broadway, to continue to grow and thrive we need more people to locate in the city centre, and to visit the city centre.
By encouraging more people to live and work in the city there will be more people to spend money with locally based businesses including shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. Bradford is also developing its cultural and entertainment offer to attract more visitors to the city centre, both from within the district and further afield. By creating a busier, more thriving city centre we can attract more shops and help existing shops to prosper.
By improving options for bus services and cycling and walking across the district, we can make it easier for more people to travel sustainably, helping to reduce congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions. This scheme focuses on improving the city centre. It also sets out how bus services travelling via the city centre can operate more effectively to improve service reliability, how cycling around the city centre can be made easier while connecting cyclists to existing and planned new cycle routes, and how we can make it easier for people to walk rather than drive around the city centre.
The city centre scheme is officially known as the ‘Bradford City Centre Walking and Cycling Improvements Scheme’. It is one of four schemes that sit under the Transforming Cities Fund project being delivered jointly by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Bradford Council. They are collectively designed to help the district adapt to be successful into the future by being more economically and environmentally sustainable.
Three other schemes have been designed to complement these measures. They are:
City Region Transforming Cities Fund – a major new programme of transport infrastructure investment secured as part of the West Yorkshire devolution deal. The £457 million programme, which is being delivered by the Combined Authority in partnership with local authorities, is being paid for with money from the Department for Transport (DfT) and local match funding. Communities across Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York are set to benefit from the schemes, which include new or improved bus and rail stations, cycling and walking infrastructure, and new Park and Rides. The programme is focused on connecting people in the communities of greatest economic need with job and training opportunities. This will, in turn, help boost productivity, living standards and air quality, helping to create happier, healthier communities for the future. It is estimated that schemes will improve journeys by bus, rail, bike and on foot for up to 1.5 million people, take up to 12 million car trips off our roads per year and reduce CO2 emissions from car travel by up to 15,000 tonnes by 2036.
Work to improve the road network around the heart of the city centre will start from Monday 10 July 2023. These works will be largely complete by the end of 2023, with limited further work in early 2024. This is the period during which delays to bus and other vehicle journeys are most likely. However, bus routes and vehicle access to the city centre will remain largely unchanged.
The next phase of work, from February, will then see work shift to the heart of the city centre itself, during which time the new public spaces will be created through the pedestrianisation of some streets, while other existing spaces will be improved and new walking and cycling routes will be built. Bus services will move to the new routing, taking them immediately around the heart of the city centre rather than through it from February. The city centre works should be largely complete by late December 2024, with limited works being finalised up to March 2025 when the scheme reaches full completion.
The full extent of the new greenery and planting that is part of the scheme will become evident during summer 2025 as the growing season allows the greenery to bed in. However, the landscaping and new paving will be in place at the start of 2025.
Traffic management is the name for the methods used by those doing work on the highway network to manage traffic flow during construction such as traffic cones, lane closures and diversions.
Work will be undertaken to the highways around the heart of Bradford city centre at up to seven locations at once from July 2023 – December 2023. Traffic management will involve measures including:
Information on what traffic management can be expected at each site will be provided weekly at www.future-bradford.co.uk with changes also communicated via social media. Traffic management measures will be adapted in real-time as work is undertaken, though we will try and provide as much notice as possible. Drivers should expect varied traffic management and some disruption in advance of travelling.
Our project team includes people with significant expertise in highways management in Bradford and, having considered all traffic management options, we have concluded that diversions would generally be more disruptive and lead to slower journeys than traffic management on existing routes.
As a result, diversions will not typically be used other than when a road needs to be closed either overnight or during off-peak times for resurfacing, for example. Full road closures will be kept to an absolute minimum and will only be used when necessary. We aim to keep existing routes in use throughout construction works, and access will be maintained to all areas, apart from where a street is to be permanently pedestrianised which will generally happen from February 2024.
This project is probably the most wide-ranging and ambitious change to Bradford city centre for 50 years. As such, there is a significant level of work to undertake.
As well as this, we are aiming to have most works complete by the end of 2024, ready for Bradford to be the UK City of Culture in 2025.
This requires work to be undertaken at a number of sites at the same time.
Working on each location one-by-one would significantly lengthen the time taken to undertake the works and would mean any disruption would also last for longer.
As bus services also use the highways around Bradford city centre they will also be affected by any delays. Bus services will continue to use their existing routing to and from the city centre until February 2024. From then, bus services will move to their new routing around the heart of the city centre.
Once the work the highway network is completed in early 2024, we expect delays to be far fewer from this point and once the project is complete, bus services should see more reliable journeys to and from the city centre as a result of the changes we are making.
As one bus can carry the equivalent number of passengers as several cars, if more people use the bus during construction works, congestion can be reduced.
Yes. Although there may be periods of increased congestion when travelling in and around the city centre, access to all operating car parks will remain both during and after construction. The only exception is the NCP car park on Hall Ings, which is now closed permanently to allow it to be demolished to create a new attractive entrance-way to the Interchange. There may also be temporary restrictions to on-street parking in some locations when the work is going on.
The scheme has been designed to allow deliveries to take place for both businesses and residents. During construction wherever possible, each work site will feature manually operated barriers operated by Balfour Beatty to allow access through construction sites for deliveries.
After construction on the scheme is completed, access for deliveries will remain largely as it is now where traffic is allowed.
Where deliveries require the use of pedestrianised areas, such as on Market Street, Bank Street, Bridge Street and Broadway, controls will be in place through the use of retractable bollards that can allow access for deliveries as needed. There may also be restrictions on the times that businesses are able to receive deliveries as with other pedestrianised areas in city centres around the country. Full details of delivery access following the completion of the scheme will be communicated in due course.
Food delivery services, such as Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats, will not be able to access pedestrianised areas in motor vehicles.
During the first phase of construction works, from now until early 2024, buses will remain on their existing routes into the city centre and bus stops will also remain in their current locations. We may need to move a stop temporarily while works are ongoing, however, this will be communicated at the stop which is temporarily moving with details of where the temporary stop will be.
Once the scheme is fully complete, access for general vehicles to the very heart of the city centre will be restricted to access-only. Traffic will not be permitted along some streets that are currently used by vehicles including Hall Ings, Broadway, Bank Street and part of Bridge Street north of the junction with Hall Ings. Market Street will also no longer be accessible to vehicles but this is currently used by buses and taxis only.
The first phase of works to the roads immediately around the heart of the city centre will not change vehicular access to areas within the heart of the city centre itself but traffic movements may change to allow work to be carried out.
From February 2024, work will shift from the roads around the city centre to the heart of the city centre itself where new public spaces will be created – vehicular access will be managed to allow for work to be undertaken but access will be maintained for deliveries.
Pedestrian access around the city centre will be largely unaffected during the works to improve the road network around the heart of the city centre (July 2023 – January 2024). There may be some temporary pedestrian routes and crossings put in place while our team are working on the pavements and crossings, however, these will all be signed appropriately to let people know where to go.
From February 2024, the work will begin to create new public spaces and a better environment for walking and cycling so pedestrian access will be managed to allow for construction works. This may include narrowing pavements or pedestrian diversions, however, access to all areas will be maintained throughout construction.
We will endeavour to retain access to current disabled parking spaces throughout the construction process where it is safe to do so. New disabled parking spaces are also being put in place as part of the scheme including on Bridge Street, Sunbridge Road and Bank Street.
We have run two rounds of public consultation on the scheme and undertaken engagement with local groups, disability groups and businesses.
The first round of consultation took place over July, August and September 2021. We sent postcards to every address in the city centre to inform people of the consultation, held online webinars (due to Covid-19) and had a website, email address, freephone information line and freepost address for anyone to look at the plans and get in touch with feedback.
You can see the website, accompanying documents and feedback report for this round of consultation here: www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/bradfordcentreroundone
In June, July and August 2022 we undertook the second round of public consultation with more detailed plans than the first round. Again, we sent postcards to addresses in the city centre informing residents and businesses of the consultation and had a website, freephone information line, email address and freepost address for anyone to get in touch with us.
During this consultation we held several drop-in sessions in the Broadway Centre and Bradford Interchange for anyone to look at plans and ask any questions.
You can view the website and consultation report for the second round of consultation here: www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/bradfordcentre
Since August 2022 we have held two further drop-in sessions in City Hall for residents and businesses to look at more final plans and provide any feedback.