Bradford-Shipley Route Improvement Consultation

Views are being invited on plans to improve the main roads between Bradford and Shipley.

Information on the plans is online here, including an online questionnaire (hard copy available on request).

Bradford Chamber’s Leadership Group will receive a presentation on this issue at its meeting on 29 January, but we would still like to hear from other members who have time to check out the plans.

An illustration of options is available – click on the ‘possible options’ image to the right – while public drop-in sessions are being held on several January dates. An email or phone call to the Chamber’s policy team on the plans is most welcome – 01274 230057 or email here.

People are being asked about their experiences of using Canal Road/Valley Road and Manningham Lane/Keighley Road, and what changes are most important for the two routes.   Plans include turning the A650 into a high quality bus route, making it more attractive to use public transport, cycling and walking (and so reducing traffic volumes).

Objectives of the plan include:

  • Improving the A650 Manningham Lane/Keighley Road corridor
  • Promoting the A6037 Canal Road/Valley Road as the main strategic route
  • Relive existing congestion issues.

The consultation closes on 8 February.

Chamber members bend minister’s ear

Businesses in Bradford were able to tell a leading cabinet minister about the importance of transport connections in the District, thanks to the Chamber.

At only two days’ notice, West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce pulled in a group of businesses and found a venue to host Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and a team of civil servants, prior to him making a major announcement that could affect them.

Businesses hear from Transport Secretary in Shipley

Aerospace engineers Produmax in Shipley hosted the visit, accompanied by an entourage of media journalists and broadcasters.  Mr Grayling and local MP Philip Davies met with a dozen local businesses, including Bradford Chamber President, Nick Garthwaite, who were able to relate hurdles faced on roads, rail and air travel into and out of Bradford. Other present included Manor Coatings, Univer and Incommunities.

The purpose of the visit was to announce that £300,000 was being made available for a feasibility study on the need for a new by-pass for Shipley.  It was also revealed that Highways England will spend £500,000 on improvements to the A1 at junction 47 near Harrogate, increasing road capacity, reducing queuing and improving journey times.

Mike Cartwright of the Chamber’s policy team, who organised the event, said afterwards:

“It was all hands on deck when we got the call from DfT – Manor Coatings had also been willing to host the visit, so particular thanks to them and Produmax for stepping up at such short notice.

Produmax MD, Jeremy Ridyard (right) with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling

The Department for Transport later said:

“The feasibility study could uncover evidence of the wider benefits of a new by-pass to the town; for example, by cutting congestion in the centre and moving traffic onto an alternative road.  It will also explore how a route to the east could improve air quality and remove barriers to economic growth.  If found to be viable, a relief road would provide a second crossing of the River Aire at Shipley and potentially create access to future development opportunities, including new housing.”

Any future decisions on whether a by-pass is built will depend on the outcome of the feasibility study.



Read the Government’s full announcement here.


York Property Forum: Mon 3 Sep

York businesses are invited to the next Property Forum to hear about new opportunities in the sector.

Speakers from higher education and the Local Enterprise Partnership will set out ideas and plans that will help drive forward the sub-region’s economy over the next few years.

The five-year capital investment plan of York St John University will be demonstrated by Rob Hickey, Executive Director for Innovation & Growth; while Chief Operating Officer at York, North Yorkshire & East Riding LEP, James Farrar, will spell out how he sees the current review helping businesses, once the changes are implemented.

Mike Cartwright from the Chamber’s policy team said:

“As always, we are determined to help push forward the region’s economic growth by supporting local business communities.  At a time of growing concern with Brexit or attention to outstanding issues such as devolution and skills shortages, we have to look at all areas where that support and growth can happen.  Universities are not only promoters of higher education, but also (often) owners of significant land and property; so hearing from Rob will be useful for many businesses.  We also need to liaise closely with the LEP to make sure they hear the business voice, so this is a good platform for our members to ask questions of key influencers in the local economy.”

The event takes place on Monday 3 September at York’s Grand Hotel (5-7pm); £15 Chamber members, £30 non-members.  Call 01904 210010 for more information or email

York Central site takes next step forward

A planning application has been submitted to develop the York Central site in the heart of the city.

The application includes plans for new residential, cultural and business neighbourhoods adjacent to the train station in one of the country’s largest brownfield sites. A partnership has been put together to drive the project forward and, if approves, the scheme is expected to add around £1.1 billion to the city’s economy, increasing it by 20% in the process.

A spokesperson for the partnership said: “This is a huge step forward in the delivery of York Central and in the future of York as we seek permission for the masterplan. A positive decision will unlock this underused piece of land and demonstrate a commitment to seeing it brought forward for the good of the city and its residents. We would encourage as many people as possible to view the plans and make comments to the planning authority within the consultation period. This is part of playing an active role in how York Central evolves, as the masterplan is the blueprint for future development on the site, but what actually gets built can still be shaped.”

Once the application is validated, a statutory 30-day consultation period will take place. Although the scheme will take around 15 to 20 years to be delivered, it will bring into commercial use one of the city’s most under-utilised sites.

The partnership spokesperson added: “York Central has the potential to deliver major economic growth for York by creating a new high-quality commercial quarter with its own entrance to the city’s railway station. It is vital that this opportunity is taken to attract growing sectors such as technology, bio-medical and creative industries as York’s city centre office market supply is currently restricted by the historic nature of its traditional core. The new commercial hub will offer up to 112,000 square metres of floor-space, aswell as more flexible workspaces for SMEs and start-ups.

York Central Partnership is a collaboration between Homes England, Network Rail, the National Railway Museum and York Council.

Survey: Businesses are cautiously confident

Evidence that companies are looking to manage their costs more closely has emerged from a new survey.

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, which surveys its members every three months on economic trends, says that more companies have decided to hold onto their cash in recent months.

The Chamber says that, although sales growth remains strong in both domestic and foreign markets, more firms are taking a “cautious and sensible” approach to Brexit.  Increasing profits are also a good sign of confidence in the regional business community, but investment plans have stuttered.  Recruitment difficulties continue for some, though, with vacancies left unfilled due to a lack of suitable candidates coming forward for roles.

Mark Goldstone, Head of Policy & Representation at the Chamber, said: “Investment in training gives me cause for concern, as our results this quarter show this at close to its lowest level in years. These results, combined with the near collapse in companies taking on apprentices, should be a wake-up call to government to review the reforms introduced in the last year. Businesses want to make the system work, and train and up-skill people of all ages, but the system as it stands is in need of reform. The government needs to listen to the business community, and work with us to ensure more people have access to high-quality apprenticeship training, in order to make the new system work better for everyone.”

A summary of the key survey points follows:

Domestic sales and orders

Sales and orders remain relatively strong in home markets.  Fortunes look decidedly more positive than the lows of two years ago.  This time around, service sector firms saw a slight dip in sales but order books are buoyant.  Manufacturers were boosted by better sales.

Export sales and orders

Export sales continue their upwards trajectory in the last quarter from their historic low point in 2016. All sectors reported increases in the last three months.


Labour market concerns continue, with many firms reporting difficulties in finding suitably qualified and/or experienced candidates to fill roles. Fewer manufacturers than last quarter expect their workforce levels to increase next quarter, while more in the service sector expect that to be the case.


Investment intentions slowed a little over the last quarter for both training and capital.

Business confidence

Confidence remains at a good, solid level, despite member feedback about investment above and further on in the report.  Turnover and profit expectations are both substantially higher than they were two years ago and, although the service sector dipped a little this time around, confidence is generally quite good overall.

Development land to be debated at Bradford Property Forum

Businesses are invited to come along to the next Property Forum meeting in Bradford to discuss how the supply of employment land is crucial to the future success of the District’s economic strategy.

Senior business representatives from the property sector and Bradford Council staff responsible for planning and economic development will debate the issues and involve the audience in this hotly-contested topic.  Details are below.

Delivering Development for the District:  Is Space the Final Frontier?

Bradford Property Forum – 8am Tuesday 17 July, 2018

What:  How can the objectives of Bradford’s economic strategy be delivered without adequate land for development?

Why: This event ties together the Chamber’s recent report on the shortage of employment land with the District’s economic strategy, launched in March.  Key figures involved in both of these areas of activity will present, and others will be on hand to contribute from the floor.

Who: Marianne McCallum, Turley (and BPF Vice-Chair); Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw & Julian Jackson, Bradford Council; plus a business case study (TBC).  Short but relevant presentations will be made before a Q&A panel delves further into the issue.

When: 8-10am, Tuesday 17 July 2018 (breakfast from 8; the event is scheduled to end at 9.45)

Where: Great Victoria Hotel, Bridge St, Bradford BD1 1JX

Cost: £15 members, £30 non-members (inc. VAT)

If you’ve not yet seen the Chamber report (‘Creating Space for Future Success’), it can be found online here (hard copies may be available on request).

To book: Call 01274 206660 or email here


Housing forum launches ‘Liveability Leeds’

A new report sets out a call to action to ensure housing delivery supports economic growth in Leeds.

Established by the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Liveability Leeds brings together members of the housing development community from across the city, including Barratt & David Wilson Homes, Taylor Wimpey, Strata Homes, Rushbond, CEG, JLL, Cushman & Wakefield, Shulmans, Spawforths and Newgate Communications.

Liveability Leeds: Delivering housing choice for the people of Leeds calls for a step change in housing delivery within Leeds and a greater focus on creating ‘liveable’ places. A call to action, the report sets out a series of recommendations for how the public/private sector and local communities can work together to see Leeds recognised as the best city in the UK.

  • Included among the recommendations in the report:
  • Greater recognition of the integral role housing plays in economic growth
  • For housing developers to work in partnership with and communicate more effectively to local communities to improve the quality of place making and ensure local communities benefit from new housing
  • Support from the industry for local employment initiatives and apprenticeships
  • For local communities to be open to dialogue with housing developers, be clear on community priorities and hold politicians and developers to account
  • Greater ambition within the emerging Core Strategy and Site Allocations Plan to ensure it is fully aligned with economic ambitions and will deliver the right type of housing in the right locations at the right time and with the right level of services and community infrastructure.
  • Ongoing support for City Centre and Inner Area housing development balanced with further growth in suburban and outlaying settlements to meet the full range of housing need and demand
  • Improvements to the planning application processes to give greater certainty and confidence for all involved
  • Ensure infrastructure requirements are considered early in the process and aligned with housing delivery
  • Ensure developer contributions to physical and social infrastructure are delivered to support local communities and that Developers and the Council communicate these benefits effectively and transparently.

David Rolinson, Chair of Spawforths and Liveability Leeds said:
“New housing supports and drives prosperity for everyone in Leeds. If we don’t collectively deliver the right kind of homes, in the right places this could mean that people are being priced out of the Leeds housing market and seriously threaten the city’s economic growth aspirations. However, this is about much more than housing numbers. We all have a role to play if we want to see Leeds recognised as the best city in the UK. We need to work in partnership to deliver great places and communities which will make Leeds a truly liveable city.”

Paula Dillon, President of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce said:
“Being ambitious around economic growth is not enough. There are various strategies designed to grow the Leeds economy but the importance of housing is rarely acknowledged in full. For Leeds to fulfil its potential and compete on a regional, national and global stage we must recognise the importance of housing to inclusive growth.”

The forum is urging all parties to work together to accelerate housing delivery and enhance the “liveability” of Leeds. With a focus on place-making and quality the liveability agenda is about creating places where people want to live. The forum is therefore committed to working with local communities to understand their needs and aspirations, to ensure that they benefit from new housing and that the places of the future match the way that people want to live.
Liveability Leeds has been working with the City Council to address constraints to housing delivery in Leeds since 2016. The forum is currently drawing up a ‘Planning Charter’ with the Council that will set out a code of good practice for delivery of growth in Leeds.

David Rolinson went on to say:
“We recognised very early on in the life of the forum, that we needed to re-build trust and respect around housing delivery in Leeds. It has become an antagonistic and legalistic process which has lost sight of the benefits of housing for the communities of Leeds. The Planning Charter will be a code of good practice which will secure a benchmark level of quality from both the development industry and the Council towards housing schemes.”

The Liveability Leeds report can be downloaded here

Senior councillors asked to approve plans to transform Leeds waterfront

Senior councillors in Leeds will be asked on June 27th to approve creating a new fund to help transform the waterfront of the city centre with culture being placed at the heart of its future.

The meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board to be held at Civic Hall on Wednesday 27 June will be asked to formally endorse the Waterfront Charter put forward by the Leeds Chamber of Commerce and partners earlier this year, which aims to help the waterfront area achieve its cultural and economic potential.

The key to its success is partnership working, with landowners along the River Aire through the city centre and South Bank being encouraged to sign up to the charter which would see all stakeholders commit to working together for the benefit of the waterfront area and city as a whole.

To support this approach, the council is proposing to establish a Waterfront Investment Fund of up to £100,000 which would offer grant funding for activities to enhance the waterfront by making it more accessible and attractive. The fund, which would be expected to begin later this year, would operate through a system whereby any successful bid would need to at least be match-funded by the applicants.

The plan would support the delivery of the council’s inclusive growth strategy through stimulating economic development, as well as the Cultural Strategy by making the most of public spaces and providing a platform for the 2023 cultural programme in the city.

Improving the attractiveness and maximising the potential of the waterfront and the surrounding riverside are also key elements of the South Bank framework, enhancing connectivity with the rest of the city centre as part of one of the largest regeneration schemes of its type in Europe.

The Waterfront Charter which has been led by the chamber of commerce and partners would see culture underpinning all development in the area. It would support local communities and celebrate their diversity, opening up possible venues and assets and rethinking public spaces into attractive and welcoming places where culture can thrive.


Tim Waring, Director at planning consultants Quod and Chair of the Chamber’s Waterfront Group, said:

“Following the publication of our Waterfront Report in March 2017, the chamber has been working with stakeholders to put into action the recommendations of the Report. This included the creation of a Waterfront Charter which we hope landowners, occupiers, developers and other stakeholders will sign up to, to say they will make their part of the waterfront an attractive and accessible space. With more development coming forward in South Bank Leeds, the river and canal network, will in the future be right in the heart of the city centre.  Over the past year or so, we have seen a good level of commitment to improving and activating the waterfront, and this has set a strong foundation for everybody with an interest in the waterfront, to take responsibility and respond to this ‘call to action’.

“We are hoping that more businesses (owners and occupiers) will commit to the charter and do their bit to make the waterfront a key part of our city. We are especially delighted to see Leeds City Council sharing our enthusiasm to bring about a waterfront which we can all be proud of. The proposal for a Waterfront Investment Fund is a tangible demonstration that, working together, we can move this agenda forward.”

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said:

“The momentum is really building now in the South Bank area of the city centre, with families moving in, thousands of students learning there every day and major new businesses investing in the area. We are firmly committed to now looking at how we can maximise the opportunities offered on and alongside the River Aire, which running through the heart of our city is a wonderful natural asset which up to now has been underutilised as a resource to make our city more attractive, welcoming and prosperous.

“The Waterfront Charter and investment fund aims to change that by getting stakeholders and partners to all work together to transform the waterfront and its surroundings, importantly maintaining a people and community-first approach using culture as the key element underpinning all developments. We’d like to thank the chamber of commerce and partners for their excellent work leading the way to get us to this point. The potential of the waterfront is huge which is why this is such an exciting project for the local communities, all stakeholders and everyone in Leeds to benefit from.”

To see the executive board report go to – agenda item 10.

To download the Chamber Waterfront report click here

To view the Waterfront Charter click here



Top transport officials meet with Chamber representatives

Chamber representatives have met with senior Department for Transport officials, including the Permanent Secretary, Bernadette Kelly CB.

The department’s Executive Committee (a team of top civil servants all based in Whitehall) were in West Yorkshire as part of a fact-finding mission to assist in their knowledge of relevant issues and support for ministers.  The meeting, chaired and hosted by Addleshaw Goddard’s Sara Gilmore, who heads up the Chamber Transport Group, received presentations on key transport issues for Bradford, Leeds and North Yorkshire from members.  The group also discussed better connectivity, the prospect for greater investment and the likelihood of devolution for the area.

Attendees included Leeds and York & North Yorkshire Vice-Presidents, Amanda Beresford and Andrew Digwood, Chamber Chairman Gerald Jennings and Chief Executive Sandy Needham.  Drax Power Management and Leeds Bradford Airport were also represented.

DfT meeting (L-R): Sandy Needham, Bernadette Kelly CB, Sara Gilmore

Ian Williams, for the Chamber’s policy team, said afterwards: “The Executive Committee were clearly in listening mode for the meeting although, as with most things these days, each and every transport project needs the most robust and vigorous business case for it to get a hearing.  Our members demonstrated the wider benefits of investment in transport, including social mobility and community cohesion, aswell as enhanced business productivity and economic growth.  The meeting was beneficial to both sides and we will continue to press our case to ministers on a number of projects we feel are needed to assist business growth.”

Aswell as stressing the need for better rail-freight connectivity via a renewed Skipton-Colne rail link, and improved surface access to the airport, the DfT officials heard the cases for a Northern Powerhouse Rail station in Bradford, a fully-costed and integrated HS2 city station, and the dualling of York’s Outer Ring Road (A1237).

Bradford Property Forum – Wed 18 April, 8-9.45am

The changing role of city centres – a market perspective on emerging trends

When: 8-9.45am; Wed 18 April 2018

Where: Bradford City FC, Valley Parade, BD8 7DZ

What: Emerging office/retail trends and their likely impact on Bradford

Who: Cushman & Wakefield; property developer;

This session will look at the key trends/future outlook for property market sectors and the implications for Bradford.

Top international property firm, Cushman & Wakefield, has a national Futures Group looking at exactly this and are advising clients on themes around the future of retailing and e-commerce, especially those linked to technological/cultural shifts and co-working trends.

C&W’s Ben Pretty and Stephen Miles will deliver the latest information on this.

Other contributions, including another private sector property developer and Bradford Council, have been invited to take part.

To book, call 01274 206660 or email

Cost: £15 Chamber members (£30 non-members)