Monday, 30 January 2012

Pretty Vacant

Bradford has got loads of vacant shops.  Most of Market Street, a good smattering on Broadway and a few others dotted about too, such as those on Rawson Place (below).  Empty shops are a national issue, but Bradford has more than most other large centres.
Empy Shops!
One of the city centre's most prominent units, the former Zavvi / Virgin Megastore unit received some positive news last week.  The support of Fabric who run the Pop Up Art Space at Centenary Square and financial support from the Council can helcp provide lots of artists to become entrepreneurs, ensure one can buy unique and interesting stuff in the centre of Bradford and hopefully lead to other shops being occupied in the centre of the city.  One similar place I visited was the Corner Emporium in Middlesbrough, providing free retail space to budding entrepreneurs.  Artistsandmakers.com are producing a report on Pop Up People to see how all of this impacts on the High Street.

The empty shops in Bradford City Centre can be a real opportunity for the city to do something bold and different.  Its not just pop up shops, empty retail units can be brought back to permanent use like the work by Space Makers Agency at Brixton Village (I've probably used this example about ten times now, but that's because its ace - see below).
Brixton Village
The number of vacant shops in the region has been documented in the media by Insight With Passion.  This consultancy is giving free advice to retailers in the city centre in a couple of weeks on how to 'bring magic back to the high streets'.  There are many creative entrepreneurs in the district, such as Kitschen Sink who have things to sell and surely the shops are the best places to sell them, for the whole retail experience!

Perhaps one day larger empty buildings in Bradford could become something like Afflecks Palace in Manchester or Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin (below)...

Tacheles - Berlin

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Market Street

Market Street?
Yes.  Market Street was once one of the cities main shopping thoroughfares with the Swan Arcade (Up until the early 1960s) and the Brown Muff & Co Department Store (Rackhams up until the 1980s).  This is one of the main streets in the city centre and a popular place to get a bus out of town.  It acts as a main street between the Broadway and Kirkgate / Darley Street shopping areas.

The Swan Arcade and its replacement are shown below.

An avenue in the Swan Arcade looking towards Market St, Bradford, 1958.

Market Street, Bradford


What's wrong with it?
The street is now blighted by vacancies.  On one side of the road there is the Ginger Goose pub (was vacant prior to 2011), Old Bank pub (vacant, shown below), four vacant shops (below), a couple of banks, three more vacant shops and a couple of other shops (Early Learning Centre and Bright House).  On the other side of the road is two vacant shops, a bookies, Caffe Nero and Wool Exchange / Waterstones including Pizza Pieces, Mario's Hair Salon and the Exchange Bar.  So it has nine vacant shops and a vacant pub and it isn't really a shopping street any more.

Old Bank, Market Street, Bradford

Market Street, Bradford

What could be done with Market Street?
The empty shops presents an opportunity, but bringing them back into use would require a lot of work:

  • Planning restrictions limiting the uses to retail should be relaxed, there are already tools in place to do this.
  • The Council should have an empty shops fund to provide assistance to retailers with fit out costs and rents (they do it in Rotherham, so why not Bradford)
  • Property owners and the council should work in partnership, negotiating lower rates as part of an empty shops fund would be a start - what's better no rent or a low rent?
  • Business rates are far too high, there is a rate relief scheme coming to Bradford too - but perhaps this is a national problem for empty shops
Market Street could be a vibrant street of bars, caf├ęs and other shops.  There must be plenty of entrepreneurs out there who would like to take on such projects but the rent, fit out and rate costs are significant barriers to entry.  The Council providing assistance to new business start ups could ensure that the council are able to exercise control on the quality of businesses that take up the tenancies.  Market Street is a key link between Forster Square and The Interchange and would be much more welcoming at night if vibrant businesses there.  When (if) Westfield is developed, Bradford will have an area that nicely compliments the new retail offer for the city - helping the city be an attractive place to come and shop and spend time.

My poor Photo editing skills below show an 'imagining' of different uses in some of the Market Street shops.
marketstreetconcept

There are probably many reasons why this wouldn't happen, but how many reasons are there for why it couldn't?  

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Bradford's missing retailers

There's a shortfall of multiple retailers in Bradford.  There is no department store and thousands of people leave the city to shop elsewhere, for places that do offer those retailers.  It is no surprise that Bradford lacks retailers found in Manchester and Leeds, these are among the top ten centres nationally.  It is worth comparing Bradford to other towns and cities that have big neighbouring centres to compare with.

Huddersfield and Wakefield are arguably ahead of Bradford now as retail centres in West Yorkshire, so they are worth a comparison.  Bolton is a similar distance from Manchester to Bradford is from Leeds, but performs relatively well as a shopping centre.  Derby is a smaller city than Bradford, and whilst it has a shiny new shopping centre (built by Westfield!) it still has to compete with Nottingham down the road.

Research by the Bradford Property Forum asked young people about retailers missing from the city centre.  Whilst there are many vacant units in the centre, some of them will not meet the requirements of national retailers and retailers will not be willing to commit to the city when there is no certainty about Westfield getting developed.



Bradford
Wakefield
Huddersfield
Bolton
Derby
Accessorize
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
All Saints
No
No
No
No
Yes
BHS
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Debenhams
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Gap
No
No
No
No
No
H&M
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
House of Fraser
No
No
Yes
No
No
Lush
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Monsoon
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
Republic
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Schuh
No
No
No
No
Yes
Superdry
No
No
No
No
Yes
Zara
No
No
No
Yes
Yes


Whilst some of those retailers may not have a strong presence across the other four towns, it is noted that retailers such as Schuh and Superdry were located in those sexy shopping hotspots of Wigan and Bury respectively.  Bury and Wigan have both had new retail space developed in the last five years, Wakefield have had a new mall open in the last year and Huddersfield saw its most recent shopping centre development a decade ago.

There's something about Mary...

Bradfordia is a few weeks behind everyone else, largely because its a new blog, but the Mary Portas review into the High Street was big news at the start of December.  That said, the Government aren't publishing their response until the Spring.  The review contains 28 of Ms Portas' recommendations to save the High Street, the impact of a celebrity figure somewhat trumps the '100 Ways to Help the High Street' published by, amongst others, the Association of Town Centre Managers.  But its time to do what others were doing over a month ago and analysing the Portas Review, but from a Bradford City Centre perspective.

Many people will look to Westfield and the delays over the construction of the new shopping centre as one of the issues that impacts on retail in the City Centre.  Mary Portas should come to Bradford and look at this, though there may be a conflict of interest with her work for Westfield.

Welcome to the Westfield Shopping Experience

1. Put in place a “Town Team”: a visionary, strategic and strong operational management team for high streets - Town Teams have been successful in other towns and cities, such as Scarborough,  to bring a range of different people around the table and to find creative ways to improve their centre.

2. Empower successful Business Improvement Districts to take on more responsibilities and powers and become “Super-BIDs” - Not relevant to Bradford now, but a BID might be something to look at in the future.  Preston is an example of a BID which has made improvements to the City Centre 'offer'.

3. Legislate to allow landlords to become high street investors by contributing to their Business Improvement District - As above

4. Establish a new “National Market Day” where budding shopkeepers can try their hand at operating a low-cost retail business - Not sure how successful a 'National Market Day' would be, but there is lots of space in Bradford which could be used on a trial basis for budding retailers.

5. Make it easier for people to become market traders by removing unnecessary regulations so that anyone can trade on the high street unless there is a valid reason why not - Unaware of how difficult it is to obtain a Market Trading Permit - and is it really fair to call regulations unnecessary?

6. Government should consider whether business rates can better support small businesses and independent retailers - This is something that can't be controlled on a local basis, but rates are often cited as a barrier to entry for independent retailers.

7. Local authorities should use their new discretionary powers to give business rate concessions to new local businesses - A Rate Relief Fund will be rolled out in Bradford to support businesses who commit to employing and training local people.

8. Make business rates work for business by reviewing the use of the RPI with a view to changing the calculation to CPI - CPI is forecast to be a lower and more steady rate of growth than RPI.

9. Local areas should implement free controlled parking schemes that work for their town centres and we should have a new parking league table - Difficult to see how this would work in practice?  If every city centre had free parking, it wouldn't give Bradford a competitive advantage over them.  It would still be difficult for the city centre to compete with out of town sites, due to the scarcity of parking and traffic issues.  A review of car parking provision and more favourable charges to entice car based customers could work.

10. Town Teams should focus on making high streets accessible, attractive and safe - This is what Town Teams in towns and cities that have them do anyway.  It would certainly be a good thing for the city centre.

11. Government should include high street deregulation as part of their ongoing work on freeing up red tape Some of these regulations will be absolute necessary, others less so but are still in place for a reason.


12. Address the restrictive aspects of the ‘Use Class’ system to make it easier to change the uses of key properties on the high street  If this is a genuine issue stopping investment into the city centre, then it should be changed.  The city centre already has a lot of Betting Shops and Amusement Arcades, so the 'use class' hasn't been a barrier to these, plus in the Planning system it is impossible to differentiate between a high quality and low quality end user.

13. Put betting shops into a separate ‘Use Class’ of their own - This is particularly pertinent to Bradford, though the 'horse may have already bolted'.  Betting Shops are currently in the same 'Use Class' as banks and estate agents (Class A2).  Since the gambling licensing laws were changed, more and more betting shops have taken advantage of vacant Class A2 shop units.

14. Make explicit a presumption in favour of town centre development in the wording of the National Planning Policy Framework - National Planning Policy has contained a presumption in favour of town centre development since the 1990s.



15. Introduce Secretary of State “exceptional sign off ” for all new out-of-town developments and require all large new developments to have an “affordable shops” quota - The Secretary of State has to oversee most out of town retail developments.  Its difficult to see how an affordable shops quota in out of town locations would help city centres, especially ones such as Bradford where there is a high proportion of existing vacant stock.

16. Large retailers should support and mentor local businesses and independent retailers - Difficult to understand what this would mean in practice, but they should all be working together as part of 'town team' or  in city centre partnership.

17. Retailers should report on their support of local high streets in their annual report - What will this mean in reality and who will actually read the annual reports?

18. Encourage a contract of care between landlords and their commercial tenants by promoting the leasing code and supporting the use of lease structures other than upward only rent reviews, especially for small businesses - This is something that could well help lower the number of vacant promises in the city centre.

19. Explore further disincentives to prevent landlords from leaving units vacant - You would have thought not receiving rent and having to pay business rates was an incentive to get a tenant in, so what are these issues that make landlords leave units vacant?

20. Banks who own empty property on the high street should either administer these assets well or be required to sell them - Not sure what the extent of this problem is in Bradford.

21. Local authorities should make more proactive use of Compulsory Purchase Order powers to encourage the redevelopment of key high street retail space - Not sure how this would work in Bradford.

22. Empower local authorities to step in when landlords are negligent with new “Empty Shop Management Orders” - Define negligent?  Are properties empty in Bradford because of this, or just because of market forces?

23. Introduce a public register of high street landlords -It would mean people would know who to hold to account if properties were 'neglected'

24. Run a high profile campaign to get people involved in Neighbourhood Plans - Difficult to see how Bradford, a city of many neighbourhoods, would have plans that impacted on the city centre.

25. Promote the inclusion of the High Street in Neighbourhood Plans - As above.

26. Developers should make a financial contribution to ensure that the local community has a strong voice in the planning system - Developers have to make contributions towards transport and the provision of infrastructure, there is a danger of asking too much of them.

27. Support imaginative community use of empty properties through Community Right to Buy, Meanwhile Use and a new “Community Right to Try” - Letting out vacant properties at a discounted rate on a trial basis would be a good thing in the City Centre, but how would it work out in the long term?

28. Run a number of High Street Pilots to test proof of concept - And if Bradford could get something from Central Government for this, why not?
Bradford Kirkgate

Monday, 9 January 2012

T&A Comments Wordle

1) Take the reader comments off four city centre retail related from the Telegraph and Argus;

2) Paste them into the Wordle website;  and

3) You get this:

Wordle: T&A City Centre Comments


The four stories were about Christmas in the city centre and the Kirkgate Centre, the new Rate Relief Scheme and trading in the run up to Christmas:






The reader comments often paint a bleak picture of Bradford City Centre.  Some of the most prominent words are related to politics, then there are the usual suspects of parking, footfall and empty shops.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Welcome to Bradfordia

I like Bradford city centre and I am interested in making it a better place, do you feel the same? 

What feeling inspired my will to want to do something in Bradford? A walk around the city centre at the start of December just made me think of how much of the city centre was a bit of a waste, it should be so much better.  So I thought that people should do something about this and I wondered if people had already, so I emailed around a few people, including the City Ward Councillors and other key ‘stakeholders’.  I was grateful to get responses from the City Centre Manager and Insight with Passion (more on that later) and the Civic Society, but I have received no other responses.

Kirkgate, Bradford

People are so quick to be negative about the city. It’s got things wrong with it and it’s easier to point these out and use them as reasons for why the city is such a bad place than to even contemplate addressing these negative issues.  Some people will blame everything on the council, even things out of the council’s control.  The Council can’t do everything, nor do they control every aspect of the city centre, but they might be more willing to listen and act on things if people engage with them properly and helpfully.  People coming together as an organisation could itself lead to positive changes, such as the formation of a development trust or a co-operative.

Recent media articles on the city don’t paint a positive picture:   The Sun  and The Guardian both featured the city centre in an article about Kate Hardcastle’s Insight With Passion firm’s Retail roadshows, which are seeking to provide advice to the city’s retail sector.  The BBC also featured a report about the city centre’s vacant shops, with a particular retailer saying they were struggling and offered little help from the council.  The local press is often full of articles regarding the state of the city centre, including this one .  Nationally, the coverage of the Mary Portas review showed that people still care about their town and city centres.

So yes, you’ve read those above articles, we should give up now, right?  Bradford has a lot of opportunity – and to be honest, if I’m being positive about the city, ‘Bradford’ is always mentioned in the same sentence as the word ‘potential’.  The architecture of the city, the view out to the moors, the curry, the real ale, the museums, galleries, theatre and lots of other things mean there are some positives for the city, as celebrated on the Positive Bradford Day.

The Wool Exchange and New Market Place

There are strong feelings about the city centre, people still care about the city centre.  The City Centre Park development, along with the Odeon and Westfield developments / fiascos / projects / sagas have generated much discussion in the city… so I say; a lot of energy has gone into this and I say its time to harness this energy for the better.

Surely I’m not alone in wanting to make the city centre a better place, so the idea behind Bradfordia is to try and see if there are other like minded people out there who want to change things.  I chose the name Bradfordia, because its a somewhat affection name some people give to Bradford, I googled the name and found out that it was a name for some kind of Fossil, that isn't some kind of whacky irony going on, just a coincidence.

So, where should one begin this search for the soul of the centre of Bradford and think about what can be done?  Hold on to your hats, here comes the SWOT analysis*.  OPPORTUNITIES is the most important part, that is where a real difference can be made to the city.

*The SWOT analysis will appear back-to-front, because I wanted it to be in order as one scrolled down the page.

Strengths

The Strengths of Bradford.  Can you think of any more?

Architecture: From the Lockwood and Mawson's Neo Gothic gems of The Wool Exchange and City Hall are amongst the 19th century architectural heritage that defines most of the city centre, when Bradford was the home of the Worsted Wool Trade.  Many of the 19th century buildings were replaced in the 1960s and 1970s, including the Brutalist High Point building, described by Owen Hatherley as 'unnervingly brilliant and insane'.

wool exchange

Culture: The City Centre has the Imax and Pictureville Cinemas and has an International Film Festival and the city was named UNESCO City of FilmSt George’s Hall and the Alhambra to give it a good programme of shows with comedy, music and theatre. There are galleries at Cartwright Hall, outside of the city centre, and at the Media Museum, Bradford 1 and The Impressions Gallery, as well as the Pop Up Art Space.  The National Media Museum is one of the UK’s main museums outside London. In 2011, the city hosted the first Ways of Looking photography festival.

City Park:
The yet to officially open City Park is one of the biggest public realm projects in the country, the fountains can add real activity on a summers day, as well as the myriad of light displays it showcases at night and this space can host events and be an attraction in its own right.

Bradford City Park


Shops: People do still shop in the city centre, even though the ‘offer’ of multiple shops isn’t what it should be, there is a range of independent and specialist shops within the city centre.  The city centre is good for buying diverse international foods, as celebrated in the World Mile concept and specialist shops like Bradford Camera Exchange have held their own in the city for decades.

University and College:
Both of these institutions, on the edge of the city centre, attract thousands of people to the city centre. 

School of Health Studies, Bradford University

Curry: Bradford is the curry capital of the UK, perhaps this is not a strength for the city centre, as many restaurants are located on the edge of the centre, or on Leeds Road.  There are other good Budget Eats around the City Centre, as featured in the Guardian, but sadly not many.

Pubs: The city centre has some good pubs selling real ale and quality beer and one could drink a whole range of different ales in many distinct ale houses.

Existing Groups /  A will to improve things: The Positive Bradford day in September showed that many people want to speak up for the city and improve it.  The strength of feeling aroused by the city centre, shows that people care about it.

Links to other places: The proximity of Bradford to other cities and towns, as well as beautiful countryside and national parks should make the city centre an attractive place to live and work (Even though it does seem odd to list this is a strength, it is / should be an influence on the city centre).

Weaknesses

The weaknesses of Bradford.  Can you think of any more?


Shopping provision: There are loads of multiple retailers missing from the city centre, relative to its size, (Debenhams, H&M, BHS, Lush, Schuh... to name but a few) and the vast majority of people in the district shop in other places than Bradford and over a fifth of city centre shops are vacant.

Vacant Shops, Ivegate, Bradford

Westfield: The old buildings on Broadway were demolished in 2004 and eight years and a couple of planning applications later, the saga is still on going. 

Odeon: Whilst the City Park has been developed, the derelict former Odeon cinema has been empty for 12 years and it is still unclear what its future will be.
Odeon

Crime / Fear of Crime: There is considered to be a high crime rate in the centre of the city and the lack of footfall and activity in the centre only exacerbates the feeling of the city centre being unsafe.

Anti-Social Behaviour: There is lots of street drinking and begging in the city centre, which puts people off being in the town centre at night.

Footfall: Lack of footfall in the centre does not help make the city an attractive place to set up a business, nor does it help make the city feel like a safe place.  Footfall has declined by some 39% in the City Centre from 1999 to 2010.


Derelict buildings: A couple of mills on Thornton Road have burnt down in the last six months and this whole area is full of derelict buildings, making it feel like a very unsafe.

Tetley Street / Thornton Road, Bradford

Lack of Quality Jobs: Office developments to bring shiny new office space alongside the City Park (including at the aforementioned Odeon) haven’t materialised – the city is lacking in highly paid jobs for people to come into the city centre and spend money.

Reputation:
The 2001 riots, arising from racial tension, and high profile killers such as Peter Sutcliffe and Steven Griffiths and other negative news articles about the city have not given the city a good reputation in the media, with Bradford viewed as 'boring and dangerous', which lead to quite a few responses.

Opportunities

The Opportunities for Bradford.  There must be some more?


New retailers: There are plenty of people who would shop in Bradford, if certain national multiple retailers were here and existing ones had a better presence.  How often do you see people on the train / bus from Leeds with carrier bags from mainstream retailers, who wouldn't be out of place in Bradford.  A few more quality independent retailers would also help, which could work on the back of multiple retailers.

Events: Bradford has got a great outdoor space now in the City Park, it has some existing events like the International Film Festival and the Classic Car Rally and a number of one off events at the theatres/galleries which could come together to form an event such as a Light Night.

Creative use of retail space: Over a fifth of city centre shops are empty, but there is lots that could be done with these, the oft mentioned pop up shops and galleries (Bradford already has a pop up arts space) and long term projects perhaps looking at alternative uses to retail, the Brixton Village is a successful example of this, as is the Igloo Ice Cream Parlour in Dewsbury, put in place by the Town Team there.
Brixton Village

Markets: Bradford lost its traditional covered market in the 1970s redevelopment of the city centre, but the Oastler and Kirkgate markets still perform an important function.  The markets could be a place (particularly in a city with so many different cultures) for buying, sitting and eating different types of food.  Could a market liven up a particularly quiet part of the city centre?  Could a building, like Sunwin House, be used as an ‘alternative’ market? Food grown / Animals reared within the district could be given special market rates or the food could be sold via a co-operative shop, like the Green Valley Grocer in Slaithwaite.

Events venue: A long term aspiration for the Odeon site, but the city centre already has events venues around and the Centenary Square / City Park can be used for outdoor events.

Evening economy and Late Events: Later opening of shops, combined with events in the city centre at outdoor and indoor venues and ‘out of hours’ free / discounted car parking.

Nightlife: Some empty shops, as well as empty pubs, could have incentives to bring them back to use – the focus being on quality and distinctiveness rather cheap drinks and loud music.  Some local authorities have put maximum size thresholds for venues, to maintain a relaxed drinking atmosphere.  The Sparrow on North Parade is the prime example of this type of venue and there are plenty of bars in Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester which would fit in well in Bradford.

Restaurants: The dearth of chain restaurants in the city centre may change when shopping is improved and with more events venues, but there is scope for a city centre presence for city’s well known restaurants such as Akbars and Zouk.

Architecture: The city has amazing architecture and should be celebrated more.  An empty shop unit could take on a temporary use as an architecture exhibition, guided walks could be taken around – perhaps in an Architecture Week or on a national Heritage Open Day. 
Bradford

Living: There is some living in the city centre already, many buildings in the ‘Goitside’ area are unoccupied, as are many floors above the shops.  Given the housing waiting list figures, the general shortage of housing in the city – there is scope for the city centre to provide more housing in the long term and for facilities such as health centres to have a presence in the city centre.

Public realm and the Park: The park and public realm works in the city centre have helped to give a good setting to events and shopping in the city centre, now we just need the events and the shopping!

Policing / CCTV: It goes without saying, but upgrades of CCTV and more extensive monitoring, as well as a more visible police presence can help reduce crime / the fear of crime and make the city centre more welcoming.

Entrepreneurs: This is something that should be actively encouraged, the volume of empty retail space and building space is something that should be used to support business start ups.  New Start Ups in Rotherham are given assistance to pay rent from the Local Authority.

Providing Grade A Office Space
: This is something that is likely to arise from new developments, the provision of high quality space and high quality jobs will see more people with more spending power in the city centre.

Development of Westfield and a new life for Kirkgate
: The Westfield development, when / if it goes ahead will undoubtedly breath new life into the city centre with new retailers, but it is crucial that the Kirkgate Centre and the current prime retail area is supported in this change and that the Westfield / Kirkgate are able to compliment each other.

Carving out a niche: Easier said than done, but Bradford could have a great niche to make it somewhere worth visiting / worth spending money in.

South Asian businesses / World Mile: The World Mile from White Abbey Road down to Westgate features many South Asian and Eastern European businesses and Bombay Stores, a mile from the centre, is the UK’s largest Asian department store, giving such businesses more of a preference in the city centre can help to attract visitors.
Rolls of Cloth at Bombay Stores, Bradford

Better links to the college / university: These are so close to the city centre, but at times the University feels remote and Bradford does not feel like a University city like so many others.  The physical links, the type of businesses and there being an education presence in the very heart of town could change this.

Parking regime: Different ways of paying for parking, such as paying on exit could be more attractive than current parking, cheaper shopping parking v more expensive commuter parking, free parking to support late night shopping events.  If so many people say they don’t go into Bradford because of parking issues, there is a chance to get some of these people back.

Threats

Threats that may face Bradford.  Hopefully there isn't many more.

Westfield: The lack of progress is bad for all, its hanging over the city and stopping any other kind of big retail activity.  If it does go ahead, it may have a negative impact on the existing ‘prime pitch’ is this isn’t managed properly. 
Westfield Bradford graffiti opinion

Odeon: Again, lack of activity and this large and distinctive derelict building performing the backdrop to one of the county’s biggest public realm projects will continue to be damaging to the impact of the city centre and will damage the morale of people in the city.

Rents: High rents from retailers and no incentives to fill vacant units will continue to have a damaging impact.

Business Rates: Again, high rate valuations and lack of incentives / rate relief will continue to be damaging.

Competition from elsewhere and online: Bradford is arguably no.4 in the West Yorkshire retail hierarchy (Behind Leeds, Huddersfield and Wakefield) and suffers from competition from The White Rose Centre, Meadowhall and the Trafford Centre and of course from online retailers. Shopping provision in  Leeds will improve when Trinity opens in 2013 and plans for a Primark store in Halifax are at an early stage. This is not an issue that will go away, so the city centre needs to respond accordingly.

Abandonment: If Bradford continues to lose out to neighbouring cities, people will stop visiting the city centre for shopping and some retailers may pull out of the city centre if it is not viable, as footfall will continue to decline.

Market Street, Bradford
Spiral of decline
: More or less linked to above, once shops are closing and people moving elsewhere, radical action and intervention is needed to stop the spiral of decline.

Low wage Economy
: Bradford is punching below its weight economically and a continued low wage economy and high rates of unemployment will continue to damage the city centre.

Crime rate
: A lack of noticeable change in the reduction of crime or perception of crime in the city centre will continue to harm the city centre.

Parking regime: The complicated one way systems, bus lanes and parking charges will continue to deter people from visiting the city centre.

Loss of Culture: Funding for the arts has been reduced nationally and will impact on the programme of cultural events offered in Bradford.  The Bradford Playhouse / Little Germany Theatre has been hit by severe financial pressures, as has the 1 in 12 club, which provides live shows and a more 'radical' cultural offering.

And that concludes the SWOT Analysis.

Bradford Little Germany