November 18, 2017 Bradford Civic Society

Report: Civic Society welcomes Council Leader to November meeting

A​ ​new​ ​city​ ​centre​ ​railway​ ​station,​ ​regional​ ​devolution,​ ​and​ ​encouraging​ ​Bradford​ ​to “think​ ​bigger”​ ​were​ ​all​ ​hot​ ​topics​ ​of​ ​discussion​ ​at​ ​November’s​ ​meeting​ ​of​ ​Bradford Civic​ ​Society.

Members​ ​welcomed​ ​Leader​ ​of​ ​Bradford​ ​Council,​ ​Cllr​ ​Susan​ ​Hinchcliffe,​ ​and​ ​Executive Member​ ​for​ ​Regeneration,​ ​Cllr​ ​Alex​ ​Ross​ ​Shaw to the meeting, which took place at the Midland Hotel on Tuesday 14 November at 7pm. Also present were the Chair, Vice Chair, Exec Secretary, Treasurer and trustees of Bradford Civic Society, as well as approximately 35 members. Apologies were received from the Membership Officer.

Cllr​ ​Hinchcliffe​ ​gave​ ​an​ ​overview​ ​of​ ​how​ ​regeneration​ ​was​ ​progressing​ ​in​ ​the​ ​district​ ​and reaffirmed​ ​the​ ​council’s​ ​commitment​ ​to​ ​enhancing​ ​Bradford​ ​City​ ​Centre​ ​as​ ​the​ ​district’s​ ​“front door”.​ ​When​ ​challenged​ ​about​ ​the​ ​proposed​ ​closure​ ​of​ ​the​ ​HMRC​ ​office​ ​in​ ​Centenary​ ​Court and​ ​whether​ ​Bradford’s​ ​image​ ​was​ ​to​ ​blame,​ ​Cllr​ ​Hinchliffe​ ​insisted​ ​that​ ​poor​ ​transport​ ​and connectivity​ ​was​ ​the​ ​deciding​ ​factor​ ​for​ ​Bradford​ ​losing​ ​jobs​ ​to​ ​Leeds.​ ​She​ ​encouraged​ ​Civic Society​ ​members​ ​and​ ​Bradfordians​ ​to​ ​be​ ​more​ ​confident​ ​about​ ​the​ ​district,​ ​and​ ​talked​ ​about how​ ​often​ ​she​ ​had​ ​to​ ​remind​ ​those​ ​elsewhere​ ​that​ ​Bradford​ ​is​ ​a​ ​big​ ​city​ ​with​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​to​ ​offer.

Cllr​ ​Ross​ ​Shaw​ ​took​ ​members​ ​on​ ​a​ ​“whistlestop​ ​tour”​ ​of​ ​the​ ​city​ ​centre.​ ​Beginning​ ​at​ ​Nelson Street,​ ​he​ ​revealed​ ​how​ ​a​ ​new​ ​sixth​ ​form​ ​college​ ​there​ ​will​ ​bring​ ​over​ ​1,500​ ​students​ ​and teachers​ ​onto​ ​a​ ​city​ ​centre​ ​campus,​ ​providing​ ​added​ ​footfall​ ​for​ ​the​ ​city.​ ​Next​ ​door,​ ​plans​ ​a campaign​ ​to​ ​include​ ​the​ ​Interchange​ ​site​ ​on​ ​a​ ​proposed​ ​Northern​ ​Powerhouse​ ​Rail​ ​station were​ ​discussed,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​representative​ ​of​ ​the​ ​campaign​ ​encouraged​ ​members​ ​to​ ​pledge​ ​their support​ ​for​ ​the​ ​project​ ​at​ ​​

You​ ​can​ ​find​ ​the​ ​pledge​ ​link​ ​here,​ ​and​ ​Bradford​ ​Civic​ ​Society​ ​encourage​ ​all​ ​members​ ​to​ ​lend their​ ​support:

Pledge Your Support

Cllr​ ​Ross​ ​Shaw​ ​said​ ​that​ ​a​ ​consultation​ ​into​ ​developed​ ​plans​ ​for​ ​Forster​ ​Square​ ​Station​ ​will be​ ​taking​ ​place​ ​over​ ​the​ ​next​ ​few​ ​weeks.​ ​He​ ​also​ ​updated​ ​members​ ​on​ ​the​ ​progress​ ​of​ ​the proposed​ ​creation​ ​of​ ​a​ ​new​ ​market​ ​on​ ​Darley​ ​Street​ ​in​ ​the​ ​former​ ​M&S​ ​building,​ ​and​ ​said that​ ​detailed​ ​plans​ ​were​ ​currently​ ​being​ ​drawn​ ​up.
The​ ​Oastler​ ​Centre​ ​site​ ​will​ ​become​ ​the​ ​subject​ ​of​ ​a​ ​5​ ​acre​ ​“masterplan”​ ​that​ ​could​ ​see​ ​the creation​ ​of​ ​a​ ​new​ ​urban​ ​village​ ​at​ ​the​ ​top​ ​of​ ​town.

Cllr​ ​Ross​ ​Shaw​ ​also​ ​talked​ ​members​ ​through​ ​plans​ ​to​ ​turn​ ​part​ ​of​ ​City​ ​Hall​ ​into​ ​the​ ​National Rugby​ ​League​ ​Museum,​ ​and​ ​discussed​ ​how​ ​the​ ​council​ ​was​ ​also​ ​exploring​ ​the​ ​potential​ ​to include​ ​a​ ​more​ ​generic​ ​civic​ ​museum​ ​space​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​a​ ​public​ ​cafe/restaurant.

Both​ ​councillors​ ​were​ ​challenged​ ​on​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​areas,​ ​including​ ​the​ ​cancellation​ ​of​ ​plans for​ ​a​ ​city​ ​centre​ ​swimming​ ​pool;​ ​the​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​performance​ ​space​ ​for​ ​amateur​ ​theatre​ ​groups​ ​in the​ ​city​ ​centre;​ ​the​ ​congestion​ ​around​ ​Canal​ ​Road​ ​as​ ​a​ ​result​ ​of​ ​the​ ​new​ ​Bolton​ ​Woods urban​ ​village;​ ​and​ ​the​ ​state​ ​of​ ​shop​ ​fronts​ ​on​ ​Ivegate.
On​ ​the​ ​shopfront​ ​issue,​ ​Cllr​ ​Ross​ ​Shaw​ ​assured​ ​members​ ​that​ ​the​ ​council​ ​was​ ​working​ ​with the​ ​building’s​ ​owners​ ​to​ ​find​ ​an​ ​appropriate​ ​replacement​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Victorian​ ​shopfront​ ​that​ ​was ripped​ ​out.​ ​There​ ​were​ ​discussions​ ​around​ ​the​ ​possibility​ ​of​ ​making​ ​Bradford​ ​Civic​ ​Society “consultees”​ ​on​ ​certain​ ​planning​ ​applications,​ ​to​ ​give​ ​members​ ​more​ ​of​ ​a​ ​proactive​ ​and effective​ ​voice​ ​on​ ​heritage​ ​matters.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​something​ ​that​ ​will​ ​now​ ​be​ ​fleshed​ ​out​ ​between the​ ​Council​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Chairman​ ​of​ ​Bradford​ ​Civic​ ​Society.​ ​It’s​ ​also​ ​understood​ ​that​ ​the Townscape​ ​Heritage​ ​Lottery​ ​project​ ​is​ ​progressing​ ​well,​ ​and​ ​there​ ​will​ ​be​ ​further announcements​ ​soon.

On​ ​the​ ​subject​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Odeon,​ ​both​ ​Councillors​ ​thanked​ ​Bradford​ ​Civic​ ​Society​ ​for​ ​their support​ ​in​ ​encouraging​ ​Leeds​ ​City​ ​Region​ ​LEP​ ​to​ ​bid​ ​for​ ​additional​ ​funding​ ​from​ ​the Northern​ ​Cultural​ ​Regeneration​ ​fund.​ ​It’s​ ​understood​ ​that​ ​the​ ​LEP​ ​is​ ​considering​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of bids​ ​from​ ​the​ ​region,​ ​but​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Civic​ ​Society’s​ ​near​ ​3,000​ ​signature​ ​was​ ​noted​ ​and​ ​well received.​ ​An​ ​announcement​ ​is​ ​expected​ ​before​ ​30​ ​November.

Finally,​ ​the​ ​Civic​ ​Society’s​ ​Chair,​ ​Si​ ​Cunningham,​ ​unveiled​ ​plans​ ​for​ ​the​ ​first​ ​round​ ​of​ ​Blue Plaques​ ​for​ ​Bradford​ ​and​ ​gave​ ​members​ ​a​ ​glimpse​ ​at​ ​how​ ​they​ ​could​ ​look.​ ​The​ ​proposal received​ ​a​ ​positive​ ​reception,​ ​and​ ​members​ ​agreed​ ​to​ ​support​ ​plans​ ​for​ ​a​ ​flagship​ ​plaque​ ​in Thornton​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Bronte​ ​birthplace,​ ​and​ ​hold​ ​a​ ​public​ ​meeting​ ​in​ ​January​ ​to​ ​discuss​ ​other potential​ ​sites.

Also​ ​in​ ​attendance​ ​was​ ​Molly​ ​Wright,​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Next​ ​Stop​ ​Bradford​ ​Campaign,​ ​who​ ​spoke​ ​to encourage​ ​members​ ​to​ ​pledge​ ​their​ ​support​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Northern​ ​Powerhouse​ ​Rail​ ​Project.

The next meeting of Bradford Civic Society will be in January 2018, date TBC.
The Ghosts of City Hall event will take place on Wednesday 29 November.
The Civic Society Christmas lunch is on Sunday 10 December, from 12.45pm at the Great Victoria Hotel. Tickets £16 including three course meal, all welcome.