Bradford City Centre

Main Urban Area: A key location for employment, retail, leisure and culture.

The Bradford City Centre SPA reflect the Council’s Draft Local Plan boundary. The city centre is the key location for employment, retail, leisure and culture and the hub for public, commercial and civic services in the District. The city centre includes the main shopping, civic, entertainment and business district and also more peripheral areas such as Little Germany, Goitside, and the College and University campuses and Southern Gateway.


By 2030, Bradford's city centre will see the creation of new jobs and 3,500 new housing units, created through new sites, redevelopment opportunities and re-use of existing buildings. Alongside substantial council proposals to expand housing growth in the 'Southern Gateway', proposals feature the transformation of commercial and industrial land.

Key Sites / Regeneration Areas

The Central Civic, Business and Leisure District area covers the Victorian commercial core of Bradford and embraces many of the city centre’s most historically and architecturally important buildings, such as the Wool Exchange, City Hall, former Bradford Odeon, St George’s Hall and the Alhambra. Grade A office space, business innovation and delivery of 200 homes is set out in the draft local plan.

Transforming the city's primary gateway around Bradford Interchange, with opportunities for the creation and enhancement of new and improved areas of high quality public realm, improved streetscape environments and mixed use development.

The Forster Square, Little Germany and Cathedral Quarter (FLC) will accommodate the delivery of residential development totalling at least 1,431 dwellings over the plan period. Large-scale mixed-use allocations around Forster Square to support significant increase in housing, business, retail, public realm improvements and new open space.

The Top of Town - City Village Neighbourhood will deliver new residential development on preferred allocation sites totalling 707 dwellings over the Local Plan period. The main residential focus will be supporting delivery of the City Village focused around the Oastler centre site which will be a mix of new build and conversions. Supporting a new city centre market and open space on Darley Street and delivery of new retail and leisure uses through the re-use of existing buildings on North Parade.

The Goitside area of Bradford was traditionally the industrial centre of the city. Key strategic growth of residential led development for 1,295 homes, complimented with small scale retail and leisure at ground floor levels to encourage active frontages on sites and within underused and vacant buildings.

The Southern Gateway is currently an industrial area south of the city centre. Given the potential for strategic infrastructure investment (Northern Powerhouse Rail and Mass Rapid Transit) this area has been designated as a strategic ‘broad location for growth’ which will look to accommodate around 2,500 new homes, business, commercial and community uses together with supporting infrastructure.

Canal Road Corridor

Investment Location – Mixed Use: Prime area for regeneration through a spinal corridor of the Bradford district.


The Canal Road Corridor SPA links Airedale and Shipley with Bradford City Centre through a linear 5km valley. As a key transport link through the spine of the northern Bradford district, the corridor features three key infrastructure pieces: 

  • the A6037, connecting Airedale to the south of the district
  • a main railway line, providing services from Bradford to Shipley and linking to the Airedale line, and directly on to Leeds’ centre and London
  • Bradford Beck - a designated river route running north to south from the city centre and connecting to the River Aire at Shipley. 

These vital elements of transport and natural infrastructure meant the corridor was historically a prime location for industrial uses. They capitalised on local natural resources that supported Bradford’s stone quarrying, textile manufacturing and engineering industries, which still provide business growth and new mixed use/brownfield development opportunities today. 


The corridor is a key strategic regeneration area for the Bradford district. It is the subject of a dedicated Area Action Plan (2017) that provides the current land use strategy and policies for the corridor, including the target provision of 3,000 new homes to help redress the district’s overall housing shortfall. 

The corridor is divided into three sections: 

  • Northern Section - next to Shipley’s town centre and characterised by an established mix of residential, commercial and business activities. It offers significant potential for new developments and investment in all three sectors.  
  • Centre Section - characterised by large areas of underused and undeveloped land in mixed public and private ownership, with the two largest parcels making up the regeneration area of New Bolton Woods. This includes Bolton Woods Quarry, in private ownership and land owned by the Council, which together create a single site of approximately 100 acres. To bring this area forward for new residential-led development, the Council has established a joint venture company, Canal Road Urban Village Ltd. (CRUVL) with private sector development partners Urbo Regeneration to create a new sustainable neighbourhood of up to 1,000 new homes around a new local centre for the new community. To date, CRUVL has delivered 200 new homes and phases of the local centre. Current negotiations are seeking the comprehensive development of the combined CRUVL and Quarry sites, which could deliver over 750 homes. 
  • City Section - characterised by traditional/dense industrial, commercial and retail uses on the fringe of the city centre. Opportunities exist for further development activity across all sectors in proximity to the city centre and this will largely be private market led. 


  • Canal Road major highway improvements, with the Bradford-Shipley Route Improvement Scheme primarily delivering improvements at key junctions in Bradford to enhance highway capacity and connectivity to/from Shipley town centre. The scheme will improve accessibility to Frizinghall rail station and the urban environment at Bradford Beck, and will improve the public transport, walking and cycling provision.  
  • Bradford Beck Naturalisation - proposed works to naturalise part of Bradford Beck to relieve flood risk in the corridor, improve blue/green infrastructure and increase biodiversity. 
  • Further residential and commercial development on both public and privately owned land along the corridor.

Investment Location – Regeneration: Key town centre opportunity with scope for regeneration, housing and other mixed-use developments.


Keighley sits to the north-west of Bradford, connected by the A650 as well as the picturesque Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The A629 also acts as a gateway to the Yorkshire Dales. Keighley SPA covers the town’s centre along with surrounding industrial and residential spaces. 


Keighley is the second largest settlement within the Bradford District; the largest within the Airedale sub-area. The town has a designated Business Development Zone, created to stimulate investment in employment areas. 

From the Towns Fund’s investment, £33.6m has supported:

  • funding to support business to become more productive, helping them to modernise and diversify to be more competitive and to increase productivity and safeguard jobs
  • Providence Park, a high-profile development of units ranging in size from 1,100 sq. ft. to 12,000 sq. ft. that will be suitable for a range of industrial/commercial uses. The site adjoins the main Keighley College campus and is a short distance from Keighley Railway Station
  • Keighley Creative Community Hub, creating a cultural destination in Keighley
  • Keighley Art and Film Festival
  • Women Employment Project to establish a textile academy delivering a bespoke skills training package for local women from diverse backgrounds
  • a new health and wellbeing centre in the town centre.

Furthermore, a £3m renovation of Keighley Railway Station by Network Rail is set to complete by the end of 2024. Government also announced in May 2023 that Airedale Hospital has secured a place on the Government’s New Hospital Programme. The new hospital will be built on the current site with plans to make it more environmentally friendly, making use of a range of sustainable technologies.

Key Strengths

  • Good public transport links with frequent train services on the electrified Airedale Line, serving Skipton, Bingley, Shipley, Bradford and Leeds
  • Advanced manufacturing clustering. The economy comprises 21% manufacturing activity (two times larger than the proportion in West Yorkshire and nearly three times that of England)
  • Wide range of employers: Transdev, PFF Packaging, Fibreline, Keighley College, C&C Hydraulics, Stell Cardboard Tubes, Advanced Couplings Ltd, Viking Industrial Products, Kone PLC, Teconnex, TFC, Timothy Taylors
  • Key tourism assets ranging from Bronte Country, Yorkshire moorland, Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, East Riddlesden Hall and Cliffe Castle


  • Allocation for 2,200 housing units  
  • Over four hectares for employment, with priority sectors in manufacturing, logistics, professional and final services, and media services
  • Diversifying the town centre offer: food and beverage, leisure, and night-time economy
  • Airedale Shopping Centre is currently on the market and is the main shopping destination in Keighley, but it is dated and has high vacancy levels
  • The Grade II* Listed Dalton Mills is located on industrial land east of the town centre and presents a regeneration opportunity

Investment Location Regeneration: Strong regeneration and employment opportunity in a site rich with cultural heritage.


Shipley acts as a gateway to Airedale through its strategic location and strong transport links. Shipley train station provides a 10-minute connection with Bradford and can also act as a springboard in North and West Yorkshire, while multiple A-roads links the site with surrounding urban hubs. The SPA covers Shipley’s town centre, surrounding suburbs and peripheral industrial and commercial sites, as well as the Saltaire World Heritage Site. 


Shipley is a historic market and industrial town that provides local services and functions as a well-connected commuter town. It is identified by Bradford Council as a Business Development Zone, which intends to stimulate investment in employment areas.

Major development and investment is taking place in Shipley. The £25m Towns Fund supports projects designed to improve connectivity, land use, economic and cultural assets, skills and enterprise infrastructure. Projects include:

  • Transformation of Shipley Market Square into a high-quality public space
  • Developing and upgrading the exhibition space in Shipley Library to create a Business and Intellectual Property Centre
  • Investment to remediate sites and provide critical site infrastructure to enable commercial and residential schemes.
  • Artisan’s Saltaire Riverside sits next door to the World Heritage site of Saltaire. The development will have a focus on low-carbon homes and sustainable movement.

Key Strengths

  • Saltaire World Heritage Site close to the town centre
  • On an intersection of canal, road and rail corridors, connecting Keighley, Bingley, Ilkley, Skipton, Leeds, Bradford and beyond to Settle, Carlisle and Kings Cross
  • 46% of Shipley residents are in higher paying managerial, professional or technical occupations
  • A high proportion of ‘aspiring homemakers’: people who usually own their own homes, chosen to fit their budget. A mix of young couples and families, who will be looking for a more experiential town centre offer
  • A wide range of industries and a cluster of cutting-edge manufacturing companies, including a radio frequency cluster, aerospace and defence


  • Allocation for 1,200 housing units
  • Redevelopment opportunities for the clock tower and market square as attractive focal points
  • Developing the Civic Quarter as a destination and a focus for a mix of speciality shops and services, café/bars, incubator workspaces, boutique hotels, and town centre living
  • Developing the Railway Station site’s potential and its excellent national connections for a technology/mixed-use neighbourhood
  • Adapting former warehouse/industrial buildings along the canal, combined with contemporary infill for a mix of maker/creator, leisure and residential uses
  • Facilities for senior living and caring, hotels, and leisure uses along the canal and riverside
Apperley Bridge / Esholt

Future Growth Location: Redeveloping a former water treatment site into exceptional and nationally recognised housing and workspace


The Spatial Priority Area site is located within the Esholt Estate in the Bradford Metropolitan District, approximately 7km to the north of Bradford city centre. The Esholt Estate has two principal points of vehicle access: one from Station Road near Esholt village to the north of the site and one from Apperley Lane near Apperley Bridge station to the south of the site. These two accesses are connected by The Avenue, a private road which is managed and controlled by Yorkshire Water.


The site is part of a Yorkshire Water treatment works, however, as a result of advances in water technology, the operational footprint of the site has reduced significantly over recent years, leaving large areas of formerly operational land redundant and unused.  Accessible to Apperley Bridge Railway Station with trains on the Leeds Bradford line, the site sits between Apperley Bridge and Rawdon, surrounded by stunning countryside.


Planning permission to demolish and redevelop the redundant primary tanks, delivering:

  • Residential development of 150 dwellings
  • Up to 100,000m2 of employment development (B1a, B1b, B1c, B2 and B8)
  • A community hub, retail (A1, A3, A5, D1 and D2) and public open space.


There is an ambitious vision for the Site, which is to deliver a truly sustainable community, beyond merely ‘less bad’ to becoming truly regenerative, helping future residents, workers and visitors to live positive lifestyles and have a beneficial impact.

Holme Wood

Future Growth Location: Opportunity for urban renewal alongside residential and employment development.


Holme Wood SPA is nestled in the south-east of the Bradford district. The area consists heavily of residential dwellings and is well connected to Bradford’s centre via the A650.


Holme Wood has been identified as an area for wide-ranging economic, social, community and housing renewal for many years and is a key component of the regeneration strategy for South-East Bradford. The strategy is to concentrate on both the renewal of the existing estate and the sensitive expansion of development to meet housing and employment needs.

A significant level of housing is proposed to expand the urban area into the surrounding green belt and greenfield sites. This provides an opportunity to renew the existing estate and to ensure the provision of strong design and transport links between new and existing communities. The new urban extension is also providing approximately nine hectares of employment land.  

Bradford's Local Plan supports the creation of sustainable communities in South-East Bradford through the regeneration of existing urban areas, particularly through supporting the economic, environmental, physical and social transformation of key areas like Holme Wood. A Holme Wood Urban Framework is also commissioned and is expected to be published in early 2024, as part of a wider growth strategy for Bradford city centre and the district.


  • Allocation for 1,733 housing units 
  • Around nine hectares of employment land