Businesses in Bradford city centre say they are “excited” by plans to make this year’s Christmas lights better than ever.
The new initiatives have been launched by the Business Improvement District (BID) which is working to increase footfall by making the city’s retail heart more attractive and alive for visitors.
One project will see a “ceiling of light” installed for the first time on Ivegate, following the success of a similar, smaller scheme in Charles Street, which was paid for by The Broadway Shopping Centre in 2018.
The lights, which will span the street for most of its length, will stay on throughout the winter months.
Jonny Noble, manager of Bradford BID (pictured with the Charles Street lights) said: “Ivegate is a growing evening and night-time destination, with several new hospitality venues having opened this year and a couple more almost completed, and the new ceiling of light will really add to the atmosphere on the street.
“The scheme has been designed after consultation with local businesses who wanted to work with us to make the area brighter and more attractive while helping it feel lighter and safer for visitors who will be able to enjoy the attractions of this historic street throughout the darker months.”
The ceiling of light will be illuminated as part of the city’s big Christmas Lights switch-on at The Broadway, on November 9.
The BID, which is funded by a levy on 630 city centre businesses and organisations, has also paid for new cross-street lighting displays in Godwin Street, Darley Street and along North Parade, as well as replacing the old blue tree lights in Rawson Square, Oastler Square and North Parade with new “ice-white” lighting to fit the city centre’s overall theme.
New “sail” lighting will also be installed in parts of Little Germany for the first time to light the way up Vicar Lane and Currer Street.
In another innovative project, the BID has worked with the University of Bradford and Bradford College to create a new festive lighting scheme from the entrance to the University campus down to the area between the Odeon and the Alhambra.
It will include festoon lighting between some lampposts, with sails on others, and new ice white lighting on the trees outside the old Bradford College building.
“These lights will also stay up throughout the winter months to help improve the perception of safety for students and better light their way into the heart of the city centre for leisure activities and the like,” said Mr Noble.
“Overall, I think residents, visitors, shoppers and businesses alike will be very pleasantly surprised by the new illuminations, which build on the popular improvements delivered last Christmas.”
Terence Igbokwe, the owner of Lefteris café and bakery, in Tyrrel Street at the bottom of Ivegate, said: “This is a really positive development. I love it. It will make people feel a sense of life in the city and I’m sure it will help to bring in new custom for the businesses in this area as well.”
And Eleanor Barrett, director of The Brick Box CIC, in Ivegate, said: “The Brick Box bar in Ivegate is almost two years old and we are incredibly excited about the new lights which will make a huge difference to the feel and atmosphere of the street.
“Along with other local businesses we put a huge amount of effort into making the street a vibrant and positive place for our customers to visit. It’s fantastic that the BID has agreed to invest in supporting Ivegate; this is a huge boost for us all and will contribute hugely to the feel of the area during the festive season.”