Thousands of jobs on way in £17m boost for city
7:30am Tuesday 1st November 2011
Thousands of jobs are set to be created in Bradford city centre after a Government cash injection of more than £17 million was awarded to kick-start regeneration plans.
The Department for Business Innovation and Skills announced yesterday that a group of business leaders and members of Bradford Council had been successful in their £17.6m bid for cash from the Regional Growth Fund.
That means 2,800 jobs in the city centre could be created with new and existing businesses because the cash will be ploughed into a rate relief fund for tenants moving into the Westfield shopping centre in Broadway and to other new businesses starting up.
Eligible businesses will be able to claim a proportion of their business rates over three years, providing they create training and employment opportunities.
Money will also be spent on works to link the Broadway shopping centre with Little Germany and the city’s other shopping areas.
The news was welcomed by politicians from all parties, who said that it was great news for the district.
Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, the Liberal Democrat group leader, said she was pleased the case had been made for Bradford.
“This is the tipping point and now we all need to focus on really moving things forward and making a real difference creating lots of new jobs and getting out of this recession,” she said.
The business rate incentives are part of a longer-term move to create more than 6,300 private sector jobs by 2020 in a central business district.
The Council has also promised to spend £4.9 million of public funds on the first stage of the project, which will include demolishing the old police station at the Tyrls to clear the site for 100,000 sq ft of office space, cafes and bars.
“I think the City Park is changing the perception and now Westfield has got to step up to the plate and so have investors,” said Coun Sunderland.
“They need to deliver on some promises. Bradford has got all the right ingredients and the money from Government now to get started.”
The bidding body for the cash was the Bradford City Centre Develop-ment Group (CCDG) – a consortium of business leaders, councillors and senior Council officers.
They include chief executives of Bradford companies including Morrisons, Yorkshire Building Society, Provident Financial Group and Pace, along with the Council’s chief executive, Tony Reeves.
The Yorkshire and Humber had 23 bids accepted which will create 3,000 direct jobs and 13,700 indirect jobs throughout the supply chain.
Provident Financial chief executive Peter Crook described the success of Bradford’s bid as “super”.
“After not being successful last time we submitted a bid it is terrific news for the city to get it this time,” he said.
“I think that the bid put forward was very strong. It was a very clear project outlined in terms of delivery both with what is going on outside our office and Westfield. There is still a clear path through to new jobs being created and that is what it is all about.”
Councillor Dave Green, the Council’s executive member for regeneration, said he was delighted.
A lot of due diligence work would be needed, but he said the district would feel the benefit of the money.
“Moving half of the police station containing the cells will clear that site to create a development platform for the private sector right next to City Park,” he said. “It will kickstart the business forest around the edge of the city. It will help retailers coming to Bradford and help with the Westfield development.
“Bradford city centre will be a vehicle for investment and for future jobs.”
Council and Labour group leader Ian Greenwood said that regenerating the city centre was a top priority and that the cash was a major boost.
“Along with the near completion of City Park it demonstrates we are moving in the right direction,” he said.
“There is now a strong set of factors to attract business into the city centre.”
The £1.4 billion Growth fund is open until 2014 and is designed to encourage enterprise, growth and jobs in the private sector and support areas and communities that are dependent on the public sector.
Bradford East Liberal Democrat MP David Ward said he had invited senior members of Government, including Business Secretary Vince Cable, to the district to show them how vital the work was in Bradford.
“It is phenomenally good news,” he said. “At the end of the day we have private sector investment in this. It is desperately needed in the centre of Bradford and there will be more jobs created, and not public sector jobs.
“Jeanette Sunderland was talking to people including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg about how important this was for Bradford.
“It is the catalyst that kicks things off. Once we have managed to get the city centre sorted, everything else follows.
“The city centre is crucial in changing the image of the district.”
Mr Clegg said that the targeted support for businesses across the country allowed them to expand and create jobs.
“It unlocks private sector investment, with at least £5 put in for every £1 of public money.
“People in the rest of Britain have been let down for far too long by governments in thrall to one Square Mile of it. The first pot of Regional Growth money is already making a difference across the country and helping to rebalance our economy so that every region and sector benefits.”