WORK on a major project at the ‘top of town’ has got underway – but some businesses are frustrated by what they see as a lack of communication and contradictory messages.
The £2 million development of North Parade, Rawson Square and Northgate, Bradford, started this week.Bradford Council awarded the contract to Eric Wright Civil Engineering for the scheme, which includes the instalment of natural stone paving to enhance the character of many of the buildings, widening the pavements and a network of rain gardens to reduce flood risk.
But the works have sparked criticism on social media, with The Record Café owner Keith Wildman posting on Twitter to express his concern that a sign had gone up stating parking would be suspended for a year – despite being told the project would take six months – and a driver delivering beer kegs to his bar being ticketed.
Meanwhile, Karen Lee, who owns Sing Kee – a Chinese wholesale store – and Noodle Sing – said the road was blocked yesterday when her delivery van was trying to offload and posted a video of having to wheel carts filled with products down to customers in a car park across the busy Hamm Strasse road.
The contractors and council visited Mr Wildman this afternoon and he said they have gone some way to placating him.
He is more than happy for the improvements to be taking place and looks forward to them being completed but feels it could have been handled better, with clearer information given to businesses beforehand rather than having to fight fires now.
Mr Wildman said: “The businesses still need to be here when it happens.”
He added: “My point of view is, I’m here seven days a week, it’s my livelihood, my savings, a thing that dominates my life.
“Anything that disrupts that, I get annoyed about.
“It has been a case of just a real lack of two-way consultation and detailed information is the main thing.”
A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “ Communication for this scheme has been comprehensive and has included extensive consultations, social and news media pieces and letters detailing our plans for the area.
“The pay and display parking bays on North Parade have been suspended but limited parking will be made available when it is possible to do so.
“Full access for delivery vehicles will be maintained throughout the construction period.
“It’s impossible to make improvements of this kind without some degree of disruption, however, we are working hard to keep this to a minimum and believe the scheme will deliver significant benefits for local residents and businesses.”