Major retail and leisure developments were something of a trend in 2014 and seem set to continue this year thanks to the continuing improvements within the economic climate. This has allowed the debate over the future of the former Morrisons headquarters in Bradford to draw to a close, with the local authority this week giving the go ahead for a leisure and retail complex to be constructed on site.
The site, which is still owned by the supermarket group, has lain empty and fallen into a state of disrepair since operations at its warehousing facility ceased in 2012, according to the planning application which was submitted in August of last year. However, a demolition programme conducted in the latter part of 2014 has cleared all offices and warehouses on the premises, leaving the site ripe for development.
Under the plans, Morrisons will construct four new retail units along with a space suitable for use by a major restaurant brand. It will also establish an industrial unit on the site, although the specifics of this aspect’s use class are yet to be defined.
Property asset manager at Morrisons, John Robson, expressed the excitement of the supermarket’s board of directors that the long awaited green light had been given for the project.
He said; “We are delighted that Bradford City Council has approved our proposals for the redevelopment of the Thornton Road site.
“This positive decision brings us a step closer to delivering a new quality retail and leisure destination which will revive this prominent site whilst complementing and enhancing Girlington District Centre.”
The Hilmore House offices on Thornton Road were first taken up by Morrisons in 1971, and the supermarket chain remained headquartered there until 2006 when the decision was made to relocate to larger premises in Thornbury. As a result, the site has become something of an integral part of the firm’s history – a fact which will no doubt be reflected in the eventual development created there.
While specifics regarding the style and design of the development are yet to be released, Morrisons confirmed that it has already entered into discussions with a number of potential retail tenants despite the early stage in proceedings. Executives also revealed that they expect to create around 100 new jobs along with providing 206 car parking spaces for the use of customers and staff members.
Mr Robson continued; “This is an important Morrisons site and part of our heritage so we are pleased that we are able to invest in the site and create up to 100 new jobs in Bradford.
“We will now progress discussion with potential occupiers and continue to work closely with the council to finalise our plans.
“In the meantime, I would like to thank residents, shoppers and Bradford City Council for their support of our proposals.”