Tree lined roads, better pedestrian facilities and “pocket parks” are all included in proposals to re-vamp Bradford city centre’s Top of Town” area.
However, the possible pedestrianisation of North Parade has been nixed after a consultation revealed “a clear split of opinion” about the plans.
Earlier this year, Bradford Council held a consultation on proposals to improve the Top of Town area, which includes North Parade, Rawson Square and Northgate.
It came after the Council secured £925,000 funding from the European Regional
Development Agency to make a number of public realm improvements.
Now new images showing different options for the area have been released.
Both options include much more vegetation and green space in the area, as well as the re-location of the Richard Oastler statue.
In one option, the stature would be re-located to the centre of a “pocket park” in Oastler Square – an area currently infamous for street drinking and anti-social behaviour.
The other option would see the statue relocated to the junction of Rawson Square and Darley Street.
For years, there had been debate over whether North Parade – home to a number of independent food and drink businesses, should be pedestrianised.
Some felt such a move would improve the street by allowing outdoor seating and a more pedestrian friendly atmosphere.
But others felt it could harm local businesses, which rely on on-street parking for both deliveries and business.
Although the consultation did not mention full pedestrianisation, it did ask if parking should be reduced on North Parade.
The document which includes the new designs says: “Responses to the consultation on the question of provision of on-street parking proved more complex, with a clear split of opinion between those who favour retaining local parking, and those who favour a significant reduction of provision, or even the pedestrianisation of North Parade.
“There is also a sizeable amount of people who want to be better able to walk or cycle around ‘Top of Town’.
“On-street parking and loading bays have been retained on North Parade to serve the businesses, but the amount of pavement area will be significantly increased by narrowing the space given over to vehicles as much as is practical, to create a more visitor friendly environment.”
Retractable bollards would be added to North Parade to allow the street to be shut for festivals and events.
After releasing the images this morning, a Bradford
Council spokesman said: “The pictures show how leafy avenues of trees, pockets of greenery and new natural rustic paving could dramatically improve the area whilst preserving the site’s valuable heritage architecture.
“The proposed enhancements are designed to could help tackle climate change, improve air quality and reduce flooding.
“The new designs show how terraced landscaping and timber seating could be used to create sociable spaces for people to enjoy.
“A network of ‘rain gardens’ could be established as part of a sustainable drainage system designed to help reduce local flooding risks.”
Rain gardens are areas of sustainable planting designed to temporarily hold, filter and soak away any rainwater that runs off buildings and paved areas.
Rainwater is diverted from running straight into sewers, helping to preventing overloading the drainage system during torrential storms.
The Council says the new street layouts would be co-ordinated with city centre CCTV coverage to maximise safety throughout the area.
The full set of drawings and illustrations can be viewed at www.bradford.gov.uk/townscapeheritage
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said:
“Our community engagement programme conducted earlier this year confirmed overwhelming support for creating new public spaces and greening existing ones.
“We have listened to local feedback by introducing street trees and rain gardens into the designs. Better public spaces have been added to Northgate and Rawson Square.
“This high quality public realm will make the area more attractive and sustainable whilst helping boost footfall.
“We are always interested to hear what people think about our plans. You can view the full set of drawings on our website which includes contact details and ways of providing feedback.”
Funding for the project was secured for the improvements from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, as part of the Bradford City Centre Townscape Heritage Scheme and through the European Regional Development Fund, as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Programme.