WORK to smarten up Bradford city centre in preparation for the end of the lockdown is to get underway in earnest today (Tuesday).
The programme of hot-washing and chewing gum removal launched by the Bradford Business Improvement District (BID) in its first year proved to be hugely popular with both shoppers and businesses but had to be delayed in March because of the coronavirus restrictions.
But now, with the Government urging those who can’t work from home to return, the big clean-up can start again in earnest.
BID manager Jonny Noble said: “We have rightly observed the guidelines to the letter but the easing of restrictions means that we can now crack on with our work ensuring that the city centre will present the right image when it’s able to welcome visitors and shoppers again.
“Our sub-contractors have been fully risk-assessed, their teams wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and adhere to all the guidance on social distancing and so are perfectly placed to recommence this vital work safely.
“We can also take advantage of the quieter streets to press on with minimal disruption and make good progress.”
The hot-washing and chewing gum removal in key footfall areas will take place in tandem with deep-cleaning and graffiti removal in some of the city centre’s “problem” areas.
One of the first areas to be tackled will be Market Street, which is normally crowded with buses and bus passengers waiting at the shelters, making cleaning during daytime extremely difficult.
Ian Ward, who is chairman of Bradford BID as well as general manager of The Broadway shopping centre, said that, thanks to the support of levy-payers, the organisation was in a strong position to ensure the city centre “comes back fighting” when the lockdown measures are lifted.
“The lockdown has had a huge impact on city centre businesses across all sectors and it is still an especially worrying time for many retail and hospitality businesses,” he said. “The BID, along with many others, has been working hard on planning for the recovery and we are certain the resources we have available will be invaluable in driving people back into the city centre and bringing back customers old and new to all our shops and stores once the lockdown is over.”
The first phase of the hot-washing and gum removal programme carried out last year had made “a real difference” to how people were feeling about the city centre and had been widely praised by residents, businesses, visitors and shoppers, especially on social media.
“A key part of our role is ensuring the physical environment is clean, safe and welcoming and the hot-washing and deep-cleaning will help give levy-payers the confidence that conditions are right for them to get back on their feet quickly when the time comes,” said Mr Ward.
“We think customers will be itching for social interaction – at a safe distance, of course – and keen to start seeing and feeling goods again as well as experiencing leisure and hospitality through cafes, bars, restaurants, cinemas and so on when it is safe to do so.”
The BID is monitoring all the latest advice and guidance and continuing to supply updated information from a wide variety of agencies and sources through the Covid-19 hub on its website at bradfordbid.co.uk.