Traders react to plans to demolish Kirkgate Centre…

Traders react to plans to demolish Kirkgate Centre in Bradford

TRADERS are “gobsmacked” after plans were announced for the Kirkgate Centre to be demolished.

People have been quick to give their views after it emerged that the huge building will make way for a new ‘city village’ as part of plans to transform the city centre.

Bradford Council’s £15.5m purchase of the site has sparked a strong reaction across the city. Primark will move into the former Debenhams unit at The Broadway, while other retailers have been offered support to move into other vacant premises elsewhere in town.

Green space, housing and small commercial spaces will form the new city village once the Kirkgate Centre – which was opened in 1976 – is demolished in the coming years.

Kath Sutcliffe, owner of the Joke Shop in the market – which she said will be moving to another unit in the city centre – gave her views. The fate of the Kirkgate Market, based in the Kirkgate Centre, had already been sealed as part of the Council’s shake-up of indoor markets, but news of the entire centre’s demolition still came as a shock to many.

“I’m utterly surprised that they are going to knock the building down,” said Kath, who has been at the centre for 33 years.

“I have a sentimental attachment to the place, I remember when it was first built.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Kath Sutcliffe outside her shop
Kath Sutcliffe outside her shop
Such has been the length of Kath’s stint at the centre, she occasionally refers to it as the Arndale Centre – its original name – by mistake.

“That shows how long I’ve been here – I’ve seen a lot of changes,” she said.

“I think it’s sad for Bradford. There’s a community spirit here in the market.

“It’s almost like Bradford throwing its hands up and saying ‘we surrender’ – we’re never going to be Leeds. Even if you look at Halifax, it has a better shopping experience.

“Things do need updating – you can’t expect something built in the 1970s to be relevant in 2022.

“But I don’t know what’s left to attract people now. It seems like a strange decision.”