Bradford Council to consider £34m 'Growth Zone' plan
A MULTI-million pound plan to give a major boost to Bradford's city centre by attracting new businesses, creating jobs and generating economic growth is seeking approval.
The 'growth zone' will offer a range of benefits including a business rates relief scheme allowing eligible businesses to claim back a proportion of their business rates over three years providing they create new employment opportunities for local people.
The scheme is to be made up of £17.2m of investment from Bradford Council and a further £17.6m secured following a successful bid to the Government's Regional Growth Fund.
Businesses based within the 170 hectare growth zone, which includes the proposed Westfield Broadway shopping development, would benefit from the rate relief.
Businesses are also set to get help recruiting staff and with planning issues through the zone, which is estimated to create 2,800 new jobs.
A report requesting the growth zone is endorsed, and also seeking approval for the due diligence process on it to be started, will be considered by Bradford Council's Regeneration and Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee and its Executive over the coming weeks.
Coun David Green, Bradford Council’s executive member for regeneration and economy, said: "Creating a city centre growth zone would be a significant step towards improving the local economy by attracting new businesses and shops and creating extra jobs.
"Like many places across the country, Bradford has suffered in the national economic downturn but supporting existing businesses and encouraging new ones into the city centre is a key priority for the Council.
"We have taken action in the past to boost the city centre economy, ranging from supporting the development of the Southgate building – which led to hundreds of jobs being brought into the city centre – to putting on weekend musical entertainment throughout last summer. The commitment of more than £17m of Council funding to this growth zone shows we will continue to take action.”
Progress on the growth zone plans come as Bradford’s new City Park, the six-acre public space which includes a giant pool water feature and has been designed to attract visitors and inward investment, nears completion.
Money for the city centre plan will be spent on works to link the shopping centre with Little Germany and the city’s other shopping areas.
The Council has also pledged to spend £4.4m of public funds on the first stage of the project, which will include relocating the cells used by Bradford Magistrates’ Court, demolishing the old police station at the Tyrls to clear the site for 100,000 sq ft of office space, cafes and bars.
24th February 2012