|Opening date||December 2015|
|Owner||The Westfield Group|
|No. of stores and services||70|
|No. of floors||1|
Westfield Bradford is the current name of a planned leisure and shopping complex in Bradford, England. In preparation for the project a number of buildings, mainly dating from the 1960s, were demolished on Forster Square and major shopping street Broadway.
By 2006 demolition work had freed for development a site encompassed by Hall Ings, Well Street, the new Lower Kirkgate and Charles Street. In April 2010, after several years in which no construction had taken place, the project was mothballed and work began on creating a temporary park on part of the site. The site was subsequently occupied by protesters unhappy about the lack of development. In January 2014, the park was demolished, and work resumed on the construction.
In 1998 the Forster Square Development Partnership was established between Magellan Properties, Caddick Developments and the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council. They planned a 51,096 m² (550,000 sq ft) shopping centre containing Debenhams, BHS, C&A , Marks and Spencer and 100 shops and other leisure facilities. (BHS already had a store in Broadway which was demolished as part of the demolition of the previous development on the site and C&A also had a store on the old Broadway although closed all of their UK stores in 2001 and thus cancelled plans to be part of this redevelopment). The partnership sold it to Stannifer which was bought out by the Westfield Group in December 2004.
Planning permission for the development was approved on 10 September 2003 with the claim that 3,000 new jobs could be created. Demolition on the Forster Square site started on 18 March 2004 and by mid-2006 the site was empty apart from a large pile of rubble. It was originally hoped that the complex would be open by late 2007 (with construction commencing in early 2006), but with a lack of anchor tenants and with many workmen still working on Westfield Derby, the start date for construction was pushed back. The delays led to Bradford Council threatening to take back control of the site from Westfield, if progress wasn't made.
Between 2010 and 2013, much of the site was turned into a temporary urban park. The urban park was demolished in January 2014 as work began on the shopping centre. The shopping centre is due to open in December 2015.
On 7 February 2008 it was reported that BHS had cancelled its plans to open within this development, so that Bradford will not have a replacement for the BHS store which closed in 2004 as part of the demolition. Arcadia Group have signed up for stores, which include their Topshop, Topman, Evans, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Wallis and Miss Selfridge brands. Some of these stores already exist on Darley Street, elsewhere in Bradford city centre.
Next has signed up for a 2 floor store within the centre. Its existing store in Forster Square will remain open. Marks and Spencer have also signed up - it is unknown whether the existing store on nearby Darley Street will remain. The jewellery chain Beaverbrooks was expected to take up tenancy. In January 2014, Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, River Island and WH Smith were named as among the expected tenants.
Temporary urban park
In February 2010, almost 6 years after the start of demolition, Bradford Council announced a plan to convert part of the construction site into a temporary park. The park would include new footpaths, seating, grassed areas, urban allotments and a performance area The funding for the park scheme was provided partly by central government, as part of a fund to help local councils invest after recession, Yorkshire Forward, and the developers Westfield. Work began on the park in April 2010. The park was a temporary measure; and was closed on 6 January 2014 as construction of the development was about to begin.
- 20 November 2007 – Westfield installed staff cabins and began preparatory work prior to beginning construction.
- Also in November 2007, Westfield apply to change the planning permission to include a hotel.
- August 2008 – No formal start date for construction yet announced, as Westfield are waiting for more 'anchor tenants' to sign up for shop space; currently half of the total shop space has been let. The developers have pledged to start work 'as soon as possible' and preparatory work on the site was due to be completed by mid-August 2008.
- January 2009 – site consists of excavated foundations but nobody working on site and all staff entrances chained up.
- March 2009 – announced that work on the site is 'on hold' until 2010 due to the recession.
- 20 May 2009 – Bradford West Member of Parliament Marsha Singh raised the lack of progress on the site during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, stated that he would be willing to hold a meeting with Westfield to discuss the issue
- February 2010 – Bradford Council announces plan to convert part of the site into a temporary park
- April 2010 – Work starts on the temporary park
- June 2011 – Westfield to submit new revised plans for a smaller centre containing 77 shops.
- October 2011 – Bradford Council pass revised planning application.
- July 2013 - Announcement made. Restarting construction in the second half of 2013
- January 2014: The temporary Garden closed to allow workers to start the project.
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- "House of Commons debates 20th May 2009". Hansard. 2009-05-20. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
- Bourley, Anika (2009-05-22). "Brown in touch over Broadway meeting". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
- Winrow, Jo (1 July 2011). "Developer’s plea for confidence in Bradford to make new centre a reality". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 19 August 2011.