Bradford Council is urging local people to get behind the North Parade and vote for it as one of three locations to have made the finals of the Great British High Street competition.
Just four years ago, Bradford’s North Parade was run down, dilapidated and one in three shops were vacant.
But now, thanks to a partnership between the Council and local entrepreneurs who were supported with start-up loans, and local retailers who have thrown a street party and promoted the street on social media, North Parade is a flourishing independent quarter with vacancy rates of just 7%.
This positive outcome led to the North Parade at the top end of the city being selected as one of three city locations to get to the finals of the Great British High Street along with areas in Northampton and Cambridge.
The winning city would receive up to £80,000 worth of prize money, which would be ploughed back into the city centre, and the businesses would benefit from from dedicated support and mentoring from industry experts including one-to-one coaching and advice on digital marketing.
It is very easy – all you have to do is log on to http://thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk/finalist-city-location and then choose Bradford.
Public voting makes up 50% of the final decision as to who should be crowned the Great British High Street of the Year with the rest being made from a panel of judges following a visit to North Parade. People can vote once per email address every single day.
Keith Wildman from the Record Cafe said: “It’s great that people are coming back to Bradford, and even coming to Bradford for the first time on the back of the changes on North Parade over the last four years.
“We’re seeing this daily at The Record Café. We’ve built a great set of regulars since we opened last year, all of whom use the shops and visit other bars on the street. Everyone is benefitting.
“It’s well known that The Sparrow kick-started the changes to this area. I’ve gone from drinking there to working alongside them to help bring an atmosphere to the city centre that’s been missing for so many years, and met many other people who are doing the same.”
Les Hall from the Sparrow Cafe said: “Bradford’s progress in the High Street competition shows how far we have come on in a relatively short period of time.
“The Sparrow opened on North Parade in 2011, at a time when vacancy rates on the street were high and Bradford was at a low ebb.
“The Westfield development had stalled and the construction of City Park was not yet complete.
“Slowly new businesses began to open with existing businesses looking to the future again and now, four years later, there is a real sense of optimism shared between both traders and the public.
“Many of the bars, cafes and shops support each other and work closely together, creating a positive vibe on North Parade today.”
Coun David Green, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “It’s great to see the difference in North Parade and it’s really important that we all get behind this city centre location which has been rightly recognised by the Great British High Street judges. It’s now up to everyone to get voting and give the city a great boost!”
Voting ends 13th November. Please use the #GBHighSt hash tag when using social media.