TWO OF Bradford’s oldest and most prestigious hotels have joined forces to urge businesses to “Vote Yes!” for a city centre business improvement district.
With a raft of new hotels opening in the city over the last few years, filling rooms has become an increasingly competitive business but the managers of the Great Victoria Hotel, in Bridge Street, and the Midland Hotel, in Forster Square, have come together to support the BID initiative.
They say their shared heritage, as Victorian railway hotels full of historic splendour, make them iconic symbols of the city’s brilliantly preserved architectural past – and beacons for its future.
David Crossley, general manager of the Midland, said: “These are landmark buildings that reflect the history of Bradford and they are some of the city’s most important buildings.
“As such, they are visitor attractions in their own right. Bradford’s amazing Victorian architecture is one of its greatest assets and buildings like these are part of why people want to come here.
“We believe the BID will help to promote our fabulous built heritage and draw in more visitors to boost the city centre’s economy, which helps everyone in the hospitality industry and has big spin-off benefits for retailers.”
Daniel Greenwood, general manager of the Great Victoria, said: “The BID makes complete sense for anyone who works in the hospitality industry in Bradford and we are fully committed to supporting it.
“We believe the BID can make a real difference to footfall and visitor numbers in the city centre, as BIDs have done up and down the country.
“I’m sure Bradford BID will help to bring everyone with a vested interest in the future of the city centre together and encourage us to work as a team in trying to improve it.
“The city needs a more focussed and dynamic approach to promoting and marketing the many assets we have to the outside world, both regionally and nationally, and the best way to achieve that is by businesses joining forces to achieve that common goal.”
The Great Victoria – originally the Great Northern Victoria – Hotel was built in 1867 as a railway hotel serving the Exchange station, to which it was connected by a covered walkway from its main entrance.
The Midland Hotel came along slightly later, being built between 1885 and 1890 by the Midland Railway Company.
It is renowned for having hosted many rich and famous guests during its heyday, including Laurel and Hardy, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. In 1905, the Shakespearean stage actor Sir Henry Irving died there after appearing at the nearby Theatre Royal.
Voting in the postal ballot of 630 city centre businesses and organisations which make up the BID area closes on October 11. If the BID goes ahead, it expects to collect about £2.5 million over five years through a levy on businesses with a rateable value of more than £12,000.
The levy income will be managed by a new company run by local businesses, through an operating board, which will decide how the money will be spent in delivering the four pillars of the business plan – Safe, Clean, Alive and Promoted.