Urban living can aid growth, says BPF event

A better quality offer of city centre accommodation is needed if Bradford’s urban living is to take off – that was one of the conclusions from a recent meeting of business people in the city.

Bradford Property Forum, run by West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, focused on city centre living at its latest meeting, when a lively debate highlighted that a lack of general lifestyle facilities is holding back development.  As a consequence, families taking up residence in the centre is a rare occurrence.  While the number of city dwellers is now more than four times what it was at the turn of the last century, there is still a lack of diversity among those occupiers.  The majority are younger, single people, with a fairly even split between the sexes.

A history lesson of small-scale mill conversions from the 1980s/90s was followed by the experiences of city centre living from a resident’s viewpoint.  Finally, an aspirational presentation on what Bradford can achieve was given by a local architect/developer.

Issues around funding, grant incentives for developers and tenant management were all discussed, with lively interjections from delegates.  While it was agreed that the city centre is a far better place than it was ten years ago, it was noted that there is still scope for further improvements around health and well-being amenities, leisure facilities etc.

The breakfast event, held at Bradford City Football Club, was facilitated by the Property Forum chairman, Allan Booth of Rance Booth Smith architects.  Allan said afterwards:

“Questions around urban living in Bradford have been circulating among the property sector for some time now: who lives there? What jobs do they do? Who’s looking to invest? What are the good and bad examples of recent residential conversions and how do we raise values and returns on future schemes?  These were some of the areas that we tried to cover at this event; and, while we may not have been able to explore each of them to the extent that we would have liked, it did provide much food for thought.  There’s probably scope for a second event on this topic to delve further.”

Speakers at the meeting were:

  • Nav & Hass Mir, Locate Properties
  • Dave West, Little Germany Action
  • Amir Hussain, Yeme Architect

Photo caption: Amir Hussain of Yeme Architects speaking at Bradford Property Forum, 18 July 2017