Leeds & West Yorkshire

Bradford Broadway: New £260m shopping centre opens

Alexandra Burke at the opening of the Broadway shopping centre in Bradford Image copyright Paul Macnamara/Guzelian
Image caption X Factor winner Alexandra Burke was invited to officially open the new shopping centre

A new £260m shopping centre has opened in Bradford - more than a decade after construction first started on the site.

Work began in 2004, but halted in 2008 because of the global financial crisis, resulting in the site being dubbed the "Bradford hole" by some residents.

The 570,000 sq ft (53,000 sq m) Broadway Bradford now boasts more than 70 restaurants, cafes and shops.

Developers Westfield claim it will create 2,500 permanent jobs and boost footfall in the city by 40%.

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Council leader David Green said the opening represented a "real landmark" for the West Yorkshire city.

"This is the shopping experience the people of this district deserve," he said.

Image caption Plans for a major retail development in Bradford were first put forward in 1998 but work did not begin until 2004

The Broadway was officially opened by 2008 X Factor winner Alexandra Burke.

Retailers include Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, Next, Topshop and River Island.

Initial consent has also been granted for a six-screen cinema and a further 11,500 sq ft (1,070 sq m) of restaurant space.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionA new £260m shopping centre has opened in Bradford more than a decade after work began on the site.
Image caption Large crowds queued to be amongst the first to experience Broadway
Image copyright Asadour Guzelian
Image caption Initial planning consent has also been given to a six-screen cinema and additional restaurant space adjacent to the main site

Duncan Bower, director of development at Westfield, said the opening followed "many years of hard work".

He said: "The Broadway will not only bring a vibrant new retail centre to Bradford, but it will also deliver a significant boost to the local and regional economy whilst continuing to attract additional inward investment for the city's regeneration."

Mr Green said the shopping centre had already attracted hundreds of millions of pounds in investment.

He said: "The Broadway shopping centre has already acted as a catalyst to attract over £500 million of investment to Bradford city centre.

"It's an exciting time for Bradford as The Broadway will boost footfall across the whole of the city and that means boom time for businesses."


Image copyright BBC/PA

Timeline

1998: Plans for a major new city-centre retail development announced

1999: Planning application approved

2002: Regional development agency Yorkshire Forward withdraw funding for development

2004: Westfield takes over development and demolition work begins in Forster Square

2007: Preliminary works begin on site

2008: Westfield say the scheme has been put on hold due to the global financial crisis

2010: £300,000 temporary urban park built on the site

2012: Occupy Westfield protesters set up camp on site before being evicted by court order several weeks later

2013: Westfield announce work will restart in January 2014

2015: Bradford Broadway officially opened on 5 November


However, Andrew Carter, from think tank Centre for Cities, said people must be careful not to expect a "magnificent rebirth" off the back of the Broadway.

He said: "I do not think shopping can save any city, even those cities which have a really thriving, bustling retail offer like Manchester, Leeds or London. Retail is a relatively small part of what the city centre offers.

"Retail does not really draw lots of people in, it's work and activities and amenities, it's different things like that that draw people in and then they go to shop."


Correspondent analysis

Danni Hewson, BBC Look North Business and Money reporter

Over the last decade, as the hole in Bradford's heart was dug out and finally filled in, shopping has changed beyond most of our imaginations.

Certainly the Broadway's design today is nothing like the plans of old and has adapted to include large click and collect areas, but is that enough?

There is plenty of evidence to suggest shoppers will only leave the comfort of their armchairs to shop if they are also meeting friends, having a meal, and buying something they cannot get online.

The Broadway's shiny floors actually contain quite a traditional offer.

Other towns and cities plagued by empty shops have struggled to find new ways of filling them. Can Bradford be any different?


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