A PLEA to “keep it clean” is being made to all those who use Bradford city centre following the launch of a five-year rolling street cleaning programme.
Bradford’s Business Improvement District (BID) team is investing thousands of pounds in hot-washing key streets and removing years of accumulated grime and ground-in chewing gum.
But BID leaders say the effort will be wasted if some residents, shoppers, workers and visitors don’t change their behaviour and treat the city centre with more respect.
Ian Ward, chairman of the BID operating board, said: “The extensive survey we carried out before launching the campaign to establish the BID showed that the state of the city’s main streets was a real issue for many, many people who both live and work here.
“So we made cleaning key areas a major priority in our business plan and we’ve already cleaned up thousands of square metres.
“But all that hard work will go to waste if we can’t keep the streets clean. There isn’t a bottomless pit of money and if people can please see their way to looking after our city centre better, it will stretch further and make a bigger impact on all our futures.”
BID manager Jonny Noble said the programme of hot-washing and chewing gum removal was planned to take place over the full five years of the BID’s first term.
“We’re currently in what we’re calling the ‘restoration phase’ where we’re giving key streets – areas of heavy footfall and places that visitors and tourists are most likely to encounter – a really deep clean and getting them back to how they were when they were first laid,” he said.
“When that’s done we’ll move on to a programme of regular maintenance but it’s very expensive work and needs to be phased in over the full five years.
“That’s why it’s so important that we look after the city centre and especially the areas that have been cleaned already – and that means we really need people to take pride in their city and just think before they spit out gum, drop litter and walk away from spilled food and drinks.”
Mr Noble said the cleaning work carried out to date – in areas such as Ivegate, Hustlergate, Bank Street, Kirkgate, New Millergate and others – had evoked a “brilliant” response.
“People love what we’ve done so far and we hope they will spread the word and encourage others to see the benefits and go just a little bit out of their way to protect our streets,” he said.
His comments were echoed by city centre traders, who said the clean-up has really been noticed by customers.
Bobby Kachholia, manager of Mario’s hairdressers, said: “It really is making an impact. I remember a comment from one lady customer who said ‘It makes me want to come to Bradford again.’
“That says it all. It was something that really made me happy. The streets being clean just helps people – especially some elderly customers – feel safe and welcome.
“My message to people who use the city centre is just that this is our city; let’s be proud and let’s keep it clean. You wouldn’t throw chewing gum in your own garden, don’t throw it here.”
Ellen Boyle, events and promotions manager at the Old Crown, in Ivegate, said the street-cleaning programme was “marvellous.”
“There’s obviously a lot still to do but what the BID has done already looks fantastic,” she said. “It’s completely changed the areas where the work has been carried out and many of our customers have commented on how good it looks.
“It has made a big difference for businesses. It is much more inviting for people from outside of Bradford to come here as well. It’s made a big impact.”
The owner of Lefteris café and bakery, in Tyrrel Street, Terence Igbokwe, said he could really see the difference in the streets and many of his customers had commented.
“It’s a very good project,” he said. “People are definitely feeling better about the area: they feel more comfortable in a cleaner environment, obviously. It also encourages people to keep it clean and behave more decently towards their environment.”