An online tool which allows members of the public to plot their regeneration suggestions on a map of Bradford City Centre has generated over 350 ideas during its pilot phase.
‘Future City Bradford’ was launched by Bradford Civic Society in May, following a report by its Place Panel into how the city could make physical changes to adapt to social distancing.
The map allows people to use a traffic light system to pinpoint areas they like, dislike, or think needs some improvement. Users are then invited to make specific comments or suggestions about how they would improve a street or area.
Data from the pilot phase shows that City Park, the Odeon redevelopment site, and Little Germany are by far the ‘most liked’ areas of the city centre. Users also posted several comments in support of enhancing Bradford’s heritage streets – the area centred on the Wool Exchange, Hustergate, Bank Street and Ivegate.
Areas that scored poorly include Kirkgate, the city centre’s two railway stations, the former Royal Mail sorting office site and the Princes Way road that separates City Park from some of Bradford’s biggest cultural attractions. Several map users expressed concern about the number of shop vacancies on Kirkgate, and called for buildings on the street to be demolished.
The map showed general appreciation for the industrial Goitside area, but indicates a high concentration of complaints about the general upkeep of the area. Several map users expressed scepticism over the so-called ‘City Village’ plan to create housing on the site of the Oastler Centre once the market is demolished in 2022.
Some of the suggestions plotted on the map include:
- Integrating the striking central mosque building into the city centre by creating a new bridge link and gardens.
- Demolishing neglected buildings behind the former Odeon building to make the area more attractive for prospective hospitality use.
- Pedestrianising North Parade.
- Turning Cheapside and Manor Row into cobbled streets to calm traffic and enhance the historic buildings.
- Closing Princes Way to through traffic to provide a green link between City Park and Bradford Live, the Alhambra, and the National Science and Media Museum.
The Future Vision map was developed by Bradford Civic Society’s Kieren Thompson with IBI Group, and the initial findings from the pilot phase will be shared with Bradford City Council and Bradford BID. The Civic Society is now exploring funding options to make the map tool a permanent feature for Bradford.