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Friday, December 1, 2023

City will be ‘prepared and dressed’ for 2025

There is likely to be a blitz on littering and anti-social behaviour in Bradford to make sure the district is “prepared and dressed” in time for its 2025 City of Culture.

And road maintenance schemes will be timed to make sure the district looks its best for the yearlong celebration.

On Tuesday night, a committee of councillors will be told of the work being planned to prepare Bradford for the year.

A report going to Bradford Council’s Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee says these preparations will include appointing an officer with the specific responsibility of co-ordinating “cleansing and waste operations.”

They also include “a review of cleansing and waste across the district in order to be prepared for 2025 and ensure a high standard of cleanliness” and “the preparation of a detailed project plan that will seek to ensure that the city is prepared and dressed in advance of 2025.”

A vivid mural on Leeds Road, painted in 2021 the run up to the 2025 announcement, is one site that could benefit from some tidying up.

When the Local Democracy Reporting Service visited the prominent mural last week litter was strewn across the land in front of the mural.

There will be attempts to make sure Bradford’s roads are not clogged with roadworks during the year, with the report saying there will be a “review of all proposed maintenance programmes to ensure they maximise the impact on appearance of the City Centre, key routes into and key locations across the district.”

Red tape will be cut to try to encourage more hospitality businesses to open in time for 2025. The report says: “A review of licensing arrangements will streamline processes and facilitate opportunities for leisure, hospitality and food outlets across the district.”

There will be a review of street furniture, with all damaged furniture or “clutter” removed from the district’s streets.

And the problem of street drinkers and anti-social behaviour could be tackled by reviewing policing powers to “facilitate effective public participation (in the City of Culture events) but assist to prevent and deter anti-social behaviour.”

The report adds: “A significant growth in the cultural sector will attract increased numbers of visitors, particularly in our urban centres – often during the darker evening hours.

“Partnership work to assess the actual safety and also the ‘feeling’ of safety in key locations in our urban centres and other key cultural sites to identify areas that may present a greater risk needs to be an essential part of the process as we move towards 2025.

“The programme should work alongside the District Community Safety Partnership to assess the risk of certain crime types such as acquisitive crimes, drug dealing, ‘street drinking’ and anti-social behaviour, particularly in locations which may evolve with cultural development and those in which redevelopment may change the ‘look and feel’ of a location from what it is now.

“A full range of measures to improve safety should be considered – whether this be physical measures such as lighting, CCTV, or cutting back vegetation, greater enforcement measures or ‘Environmental Visual Audits’ which will inform action to help re-claim sites that have been subject to crime and anti-social behaviour.

“These will be considered as part of District Readiness preparations. As important is the need to alter the perception of many from both within the district and beyond about how they perceive safety in our urban centres. As well as tangible physical measures, this will need a significant communications programme and partnership with private sector businesses, especially in the night time economy.”

It suggests Bradford could apply for Purple Flag status for the city centre. This is awarded to cities that “meet or surpass the standards of excellence in managing the evening and night time economy.”

The report says such a status could lead to “increased confidence in Bradford as a safe place to be.”

The report also reveals that since Bradford announced its bid for City of Culture in 2019 there has been “unprecedented positive media coverage” of the District.

This included a 12 minute feature on BBC Radio 4 and 851 stories, including 13 in international publications.

The report says this positive coverage was worth an “editorial value” of £2,909,850.

The 2025 team will be moving into a new office from its current home in the former Forster’s Bistro in the coming months.

The report says “the growing BD25 Team now needs a larger space. Head of Terms have been exchanged on a new space on City Park and the trust will be signing a lease for the years.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked Bradford Council for clarification on which City Park unit the team will be moving into. A spokesperson said: “A number of options are being considered and there will be an announcement in due course.”

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