Leaders outline why Northern Powerhouse Rail’s next stop should be Bradford

As part of efforts to ensure the city centre is connected via high-speed rail, Bradford has launched its Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) Growth Strategy highlighting economic and social opportunities that it would bring.

As one of the UK’s largest, youngest and most diverse cities, civic leaders say the economic potential of Bradford is huge and high-speed rail has the potential to transform Bradford’s brand, increasing its attractiveness as a place to visit, live, study and invest.

Launched at the MIPIM property conference, the strategy covers six key areas, including a better-connected Bradford, which those behind the plan believing this offers an opportunity to create a more productive economic system across the whole of the north.

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

As part of the Leeds City Region delegation, led by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford Council and chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority shared her vision at the conference to developers, investors and businesses looking to locate in the district.

It comes on the back of a major announcement for the city that PwC will be opening a new 9,000 sq ft Assurance Centre in Bradford with the potential to employ up to 225 people in the city.

Hinchcliffe said: “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.”

Today’s latest announcement builds on economic evidence published this time last year 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, while a revamped Bradford Interchange could generate up to 15,000 new jobs across the region.

Will Richardson, senior partner for PwC added: “As the youngest city in the UK, with strong business growth factors and an entrepreneurial spirit, Bradford is a city with many clear strengths and has a very bright future both on its own and also as part of a strong and vibrant city region. It was these strengths which underpinned our recent investment in Bradford. Improved high-speed connectivity to Bradford is going to play a vital role in ensuring we have the pipeline of talent our organisation needs.”

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