Friday, 6 January 2012


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


  1. Good Blog,

    Came here from Skyscrapercity (Leeds sub-forum) and you've written quite a comprehensive analysis for Bradford.

    Whilst you have some good practical ideas, at the moment Bradford is struggling in ways to implement them. The Odeon for example is a brilliant piece of 1930's architecture that desperately needs to be saved by local government and turned into something...quite frankly anything than it's decaying existence.

    Keep up the good work, the thing is about Bradford you see, is that there isn't much accountability to local council or government. A certain well known newspaper is in cahoots with Bradford City Council, and as nobody else has a strong voice within the city nothing gets done about the decrepid nature of town.

    Continue with this blog, I think if you strike a balance of optimism, good ideas but also criticism and forcing accountability and responsibility of local might just make a difference.


  2. Excellent blog - lots of thought and some positive suggestions.

  3. This makes good reading and I welcome your positive approach to the city. The fact that we don't have all those multiple retailers means that neighbouring cities that do have them, overtrade. Hence need for Westfield which will provide modern space for those retailers to come back. Any good city centre needs constant and huge investment. In a time of cuts this is difficult to achieve. But city centre is the absolute priority of the city's regen team.

  4. A well-written and well-argued critique of the current situation we find ourselves in. The comments above are sound and a mixture of optimism and candour is definitely required. Please keep writing about our beautiful city - it encourages other voices. There is an increasing will to kick-start the regeneration (and not just in economic terms) of Bradford.