Chamber report highlights growth opportunities

In order for Bradford to meet the objectives in its new economic growth strategy, more land needs to be made available for employment use.  This is one of the calls to action in a new Chamber of Commerce report, out today (Wednesday 18 April 2018).

The report is available here.

Bradford Property Forum Chair, Allan Booth, of Rance Booth Smith Architects, comments below on the report.

“Bradford is making solid progress in many areas – within business and outside it.  A successful visit to the international property conference, MIPIM took place in March.  Phase Two of Broadway’s leisure development is well underway, and the backing of the company behind Birmingham’s NEC for the Odeon project is surely a vote of confidence.  Elsewhere, Barclays published survey findings in late 2017 stating that the city is the best place in the country in which to start a business.

There is also increasing pressure to bring the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail line through the city, with a city centre station, which will make a transformational difference to local fortunes.

So, good things are happening and many businesses are looking to expand – and there’s the rub.  In order to accommodate this growth, expansion and success, there needs to be sufficient land available for businesses to plan, build or grow.

Bradford’s growth strategy highlights the need to bring forward more land for development for commercial and industrial use. It sets out to increase the District’s economy by £4bn, getting 20,000 more people into work and raising the skill levels of 48,000 to NVQ3 – all by 2030.

With all this in mind, Bradford Chamber of Commerce has published a report examining the need to identify suitable sites for employment land. The purpose is to help the necessary discussions between planners, agents, developers and the Council to facilitate economic growth and appropriate development in the right places.

Bradford’s Local Plan has identified the need for an additional 135 hectares of employment land in years to come.  Despite an expanding economy and fast-growing population, there is currently less land available for development overall than there was five years ago.

While housing generally commands higher values, we believe it should not be prioritised to the detriment of employment land identification.  Other potential solutions include land swaps, whereby publicly-owned sites are ‘traded’ with privately-owned ones to help facilitate, for example, regeneration, or reduce market blockages. This could be an appropriate solution when assessing existing employment land allocations that are considered unsuitable due to topographic or infrastructure related issues.

These sites may be more appropriate for housing and might be ‘swapped’ with sites that are more appropriate for industry; for example, sites currently on flood plains or close to major transport corridors. Access to publicly under-written bridging finance (often short-term or ‘stop gap’ funding measures used to smooth property transactions) might be helpful and allow companies to move and expand without too much short term cash flow implications.

The Chamber, via its work undertaken in the Property Forum, believes that there is an urgent need to update Bradford’s Employment Land Review, last updated in 2011. Bradford Property Forum and the Chamber generally stands ready to support the Council in developing an employment land policy that will facilitate economic growth and, in turn, deliver greater prosperity and job opportunities for the citizens of the Bradford District.”


  1. The Chamber of Commerce report, entitled “Creating Space for Future Success: Ensuring Growth Happens in Bradford”, was put together by members of Bradford’s Property Forum. It includes examples of companies facing challenges as they seek to expand.
  2. It was sponsored by Incommunities, Johnson Mowat, Rance Booth Smith, Turley and Walker Singleton.
  3. It was written by Allan Booth, Clive Brook, Marianne McCallum, Steve McManus, Jonathan O’Connor and Mike Cartwright.

Pic Caption (L-R): Stephen Miles (Cushman & Wakefield), Jonathan O’Connor (Walker Singleton), Ben Pretty (C&W), Richard Sunderland (CBRE), Allan Booth (Rance Booth Smith)

The report is available here.

Cushman & Wakefield’s and CBRE’s presentations at Bradford Property Forum on 18/04/18 highlighted changes in current market trends in relation to property and future forecasting in how this may continue.  A separate report on this will appear in due course, with presentations made available.