Saturday, 25 February 2012

The Future: The Death of Bradford

On March 24th 2052, the Bradford Living Museum will open in West Leeds.  This brand new visitor attraction will utilise the 19th and 20th century Architecture of the so-called 'lost city of Bradford' alongside interactive displays and experiences of what it was like to live in an industrial (and post-industrial) city in Northern England in the 19th and 20th centuries.  It's hard to believe now, but only forty years ago, Bradford was a city in its own-right and independent from Leeds.  This is a profile of how the city was lost:

2014: The economic slump arising from the 'credit crunch' has stared to ease, but it has taken many retail casualties.  Market Street in Bradford City Centre now does not have a single retailer.
2015: A shopping centre in the Broadway area of the City had not developed,  a company from Westfield had not delivered the centre and the site had been empty for ten years, so the council took over the development of the site, as the
2017: The Broadway shopping centre development is halted as recession takes hold again, the site is now characterised by rusting steelwork over the 'hole'.
2020: Bradford City fail to regain their Football League status after three years as a non-league club and they go bust, no new club is likely to return to Valley Parade.
2022: Changing trends and the retail recession have meant that the city's main shopping centre, the Kirkgate Centre had to close, the building was fifty years old and the maintenance cost was restricting how long it could open for.
2024: Some parts of the city centre are now abandoned and derelict as there is no prospect of them being brought back into retail use. The early 2020s advancement in private car travel has made it cheaper than ever and people are braving the congestion to shop in other cities.
2026: Bradford University closes down, as tuition fees rises and lack of funding since the 2010s have put the university out of business.
2028: The National Media Museum relocates from Bradford to Media City at Salford.
2030: The curtain goes down on the famous Alhambra Theatre as the Council could no longer afford to run it and no private firm would take it on.
2031: After failing to secure a Super League license in the last 2020s, Bradford Bulls, the city's rugby league club are unable to survive life outside the sport's top tier and go bust.
2031: The 2031 census shows that the population of the City of Bradford has decreased by 30% in the last ten years, leaving behind the most disadvantaged communities.
2032: The college relocates from Bradford to the Aire Valley.
2034: Major civil unrest and riots in central Bradford, youth unemployment is 90% as many communities in the city centre are isolated from job opportunities and lack the skills to be able to access employment opportunities.
2035: The M606 cuts through many inner Bradford suburbs, meeting the M65 in the Aire Valley. The government have undertaken building motorways as low carbon car travel has boomed.
2036: Bradford City Council is abolished along with other authorities in the area, Leeds Council is now the single council administering the greater Leeds area.
2037: Forster Square Retail Park closes down, but is remembered at the new Forster Square Mall where the M606 meets the M65 at the end of the Aire Valley.  Many offices are now located close to the motorways, as we know it today.
2039: The branch line from Shipley to the centre of Bradford (at Forster Square Station) is closed due to low usage.
2041: Bradford Interchange is closed down, it is replaced with a new station at Junction 4 of the M606: West Leeds Parkway.
2044: Westfield opens its new West Leeds Mall on the site of the former Odsal stadium.
2047: The extent of lawlessness in the old city centre of Bradford requires the Army to be brought into clear the area of civilians, large walls dubbed: 'the ring of steel' are erected around the old city centre.
2049: The new postal service, formed between a merger of the Royal Mail and Amazon remove Bradford from addresses.  At about the same time Bradford is removed from roadsigns.
2051: The dereliction of old Bradford has created unique wildlife habitats, Leeds Council open the West Leeds Nature Area.
2052: Significant investment inside 'the ring of steel' leads to the opening of Bradford Living Museum.

5 comments:

  1. Me in 2052: I will still be working at 67; and I'll probably be in somewhere around South West Leeds (Brighouse or Huddersfield, one of them suburbs) - but it all looks the same. I don't mind though, I can get to where I want to in my car, usually just to buy things, we don't seem to have the culture we did when I were a lad. At least I wasn't one of them dragged out of that 'lost city' by the Army.

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  2. Dear God you know how to depress a Bradford boy on a saturday morning!
    Was that the idea? Is this where the fight back begins?
    Or am I the problem (moved to Manchester)?
    I believe Bradford has a a great future because it's full of great people.
    So there!

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    1. This is a response to people who say that Bradford is dead now, to say no its not, but this is what could happen if people don't invest in the city and believe in the place. The other side of the coin is in the other blog: the renaissance of Bradford which is the opposite thing, the positive change that could happen!

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