The Hole

 

This is the famous 'hole' in Bradford's city centre.  It used to be a concrete shopping centre, built in the 70s and functional rather than beautiful.  That got pulled down and developers (Westfield) were going to build a smart new centre..... They started digging.... and then the recession came along and all work ceased, leaving this very large and ugly hole.  The Council made a big fuss about turfing some of it over to make a 'People's Park' - huh?  Which is not so much a park but more an area of ... well, turf really.  Who knows whether we will ever see a shopping centre.  But for that matter, who wants another one?  There are all the usual chain stores further up in the city centre.  Though actually there are more 'pound shops' and closed-down shops than decent stores.  

Like it or not, most people with the means to do so go shopping in Leeds, which is a much bigger city and much more vibrant, and only 20 minutes away on the train.  (A new shopping centre is under construction there.)  I'd like to be loyal to Bradford, which was once a great city and could still have lots going for it... But the shopping area is terribly depressing.  If a local councillor asked me (and none of them ever have!) I'd say the only thing that would entice me back to shopping in Bradford would be if John Lewis were to open a store here.  They have such great shops and the nearest branch is in Sheffield or Manchester, far too far away for me.  I shop online with them sometimes but it would be bliss to have a local store.  How about it... is anyone listening?  

The buildings on the left in this photo are Victorian buildings, part of Bradford's 'Little Germany' area, so-called because they were built by German merchants in the 19th century. You can also see the tower of Bradford Cathedral, a lovely church that at one time was at the heart of the old city.  This area housed the slums that prompted Sir Titus Salt to build Saltaire, to remove his workers from the dreadful living conditions of the city in the early 19th century.  I would have thought someone could usefully be exploring 'the hole' as an archeological dig whilst it's just empty.