Bradford unveils high-speed rail growth strategy at MIPIM

A new plan to unlock economic, social and inclusive growth across Bradford and the North has been launched at the international property conference, MIPIM.

Bradford Council has unveiled its Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) Growth Strategy, which will aim to transform the economy through a new high-speed rail connection in the city centre.

With a focus on skills and education and unlocking growth at the Southern Gateway to the city, the NPR Growth Strategy covers six key areas.

According to the strategy:

  • A better-connected Bradford is an opportunity to create a more productive economic system across the whole of the North
  • NPR in the city centre will act as a catalyst for new residential and commercial development and improved local infrastructure, delivered with a partnership-led approach
  • NPR is about connecting people to opportunities, improving skills and building Bradford’s business base after it was named by Barclays as the best place to start a business in 2018
  • NPR will be most effective if it is integrated with HS2 and local transport routes. It is not a choice of either or, investment in all three is essential
  • High speed rail in Bradford city centre has the potential to transform Bradford’s brand, increasing its attractiveness as a place to visit, live, study and invest
  • Ensuring Bradford has the best environment for growth, demonstrating how the Council and partners are putting in place the right delivery mechanisms, fostering a collaborative approach between the public and private sector and by exploring innovative approaches to funding

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford Council and chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, is sharing the strategy and the opportunities it will present to developers, investors and businesses looking to locate in the District.

Hinchcliffe said: “Since launching our Next Stop Bradford campaign to bring NPR to Bradford city centre, we have ensured Bradford’s voice is at the heart of the NPR debate. Transport for the North’s recent launch of their Strategic Transport Plan cemented our position on the network with a new line between Leeds and Manchester, via Bradford.

“This strategy is the next phase in our efforts to ensure Bradford is connected to a high-speed rail and it defines the economic opportunity for investors, developers and businesses as well as the opportunities it will bring to people living and working in the District.

“There is already a lot of confidence and momentum in the Bradford economy, not least the recent news that PwC is opening a brand-new Assurance Centre in the heart of the city. We want to build on this momentum and that that is why we have launched this Strategy at the world’s largest property conference, to demonstrate the scale of opportunity and forge a collaborative approach with the private sector to ensure we realise our ambitions.”

The Bradford NPR Growth Strategy has been developed by Arup and in partnership with a number of transport, economic and placemaking specialists including Fore Consulting, Addleshaw Goddard, Cushman & Wakefield and Genecon.

It brings together the findings of the evidence base and policy work which has already been developed to support the case for investment.

The Strategy builds on economic evidence that was released during MIPIM 2018, which set out how NPR in Bradford city centre could see the North’s economy benefit by up to £15bn in additional GVA by 2060.

Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and chair of NP11 is leading the Leeds City Region delegation at MIPIM.

He added: “With nearly 25% of Bradford’s population under the age of 16 and a £10bn annual economy, the opportunities that high-speed rail in Bradford will bring go way beyond facts and figures. It will act as the catalyst for inclusive growth that means better jobs, more opportunity and an even better quality of life for the next generation.

“The LEP and West Yorkshire Combined Authority are backing Bradford’s vision set out in this NPR Growth Strategy and we will be working with investors, developers and wider business partners to ensure this is an opportunity we grasp with both hands.”