In The Media
18 March 2014 Telegraph & Argus - £1m plan for retail, bar and eatery units in Victorian tunnels under Bradford city centre
Bradford looks set to get its first underground market – right in the heart of the city’s historic trading quarter.
An ambitious scheme is being finalised to create a Victorian-style complex featuring shops, bars and restaurants.
The £1m project is being privately funded but the developers are working closely with Bradford Council to bring the idea to life by Christmas 2015. And the aim is to make trading particularly attractive to young entrepreneurs.
Council leader David Green is today making his first visit to the site of The Tunnel, the working name for the development under Sunbridge Road from Aldermanbury. He described the scheme as “an exciting concept”.
Coun Green said: “The Council first looked at this a while ago and I am looking forward to actually seeing the site for myself for the first time.”
Graham Hall, of developers Sunbridge Wells, said: “This would be like a working museum of Victorian times.”
Teams are still digging out a 12,000sq ft area of part-leased, part-sold land which would create the underground complex. Mr Hall said about 200 tonnes of earth, rubble and timber had already been moved.
“We don’t know the full extent of what there is down there. We are finding all kinds of nooks and crannies,” he said.
With access from City Park and Sunbridge Road, the retail and leisure area would link to the Arndale Mall.
There would be Victorian-style units running along the tunnel’s internal street with a large glass area above. A courtyard would have an open plan glass and steel staircase leading to Upper Miller Gate. This would be designed to bring light to the tunnel system, covered by a Victorian-style atrium entrance and exit to the shopping area below.
Close to the Council’s art gallery, the Alhambra and various restaurants and bars, Mr Hall says The Tunnel is “an ideal area for new and existing businesses”.
“This will be great for Bradford,” he said, “with likely spin-offs for tourism.”
To help ambitious young businesspeople – the 18 to 30 age bracket – The Tunnel will feature flexible trading terms.
“Unit rents will be pitched to keep costs down,” said Mr Hall, “so people don’t have to lose a fortune if things don’t work out, but at least they will have had a go.
“We want to work with all of the businesses in Bradford to create a vibrant and exciting trading area and make Bradford thrive again.
“With new developments such as the Westfield shopping centre, this is now the time to promote and enhance the talent and vibrant potential which has always existed in this great city.”
Coun Green said: “The project is still in its early stages and we are not certain what the proposals will seek in terms of Council support. But, as we do with all proposals, we will look at this carefully and hopefully be able to support the idea.
“This is something which sounds exciting and that bit different for Bradford. We will continue to work with Sunbridge Wells to see if we can take this forward.”
19 March 2014 Yorkshire Post - Plans for new Victorian quarter in hidden underground tunnels
Plans to convert a little-known warren of tunnels beneath Bradford city centre into a base for young entrepreneurs have been welcomed by business leaders and politicians.
Graham Hall, of developer Sunbridge Wells, has worked with architects to come up with a plan for around 12,000 square foot of space beneath the Sunbridge Road area, near to City Park.
Mr Hall says the funding for the scheme, around £1m, is in place and a planning application will be submitted within a fortnight.
There would be space for “two or three fancy wine bars” as well as Victorian-style shop units and, subject to planning permission, it could be open by the end of this year.
“We have only just got the final plan as it has taken the architect six weeks to draw. There are three different levels, with approximately 12,000 square feet. It’s an unusual development - 90 per cent of Bradford people don’t know it (the tunnels) exist.”
There are three entrances/exits, including one behind a garage-style door next to steps up to Sunbridge Road. The tunnels have had various uses over many decades, including as nightclubs/bars.
Mr Hall first stumbled across the passages in 2008 and has been working to establish the various owners of sections of the tunnels.
“We are looking to (create space) for up to 70 ventures. The potential is massive.”
One aspect of the proposals will be the creation of units for young entrepreneurs. Rents would be set at less than £15 a day.
A website to promote the development says: “We are creating Bradford’s first underground market right in the heart of Bradford’s historic trading quarter. With easy access from City Park and Sunbridge Road, Sunbridge Wells will become a shopping and leisure area right in the centre of Bradford, linking the area from the new City Park to the Arndale Mall.
“We will become Bradford’s own Victorian quarter incorporating Victorian and contemporary shop units together with trading street barrows, restaurants and bars all in a setting in keeping with the history and ambiance of Bradford.”
“We wish to promote young entrepreneurs in the Bradford area aged 18 to 30, with easy in and out flexible trading terms.”
Council leader David Green said yesterday: “I visited the tunnel today and it was fascinating to see this hidden area of Bradford. The developers will be submitting plans shortly and I hope that we will be able to support their final proposals and that they secure the necessary finance to carry out the work.”
Val Summerscales, of Bradford Chamber of Trade, said: “We would not want to discourage entrepreneurial spirit and we would welcome investment. We need to look at all ways of regenerating Bradford.”
John Atkinson, of Twitter account Angry of Bradford, said: “(I) was immediately taken by it, as most have been. Love Bradford showing it’s not the identikit city.”
Michael Mason, tweeting as Pity Poor Bradford, said: “If they do it right and it’s more a ‘Victoria Quarter’ development than a Dewsbury market then it should be good.”
24 April 2014 Yorkshire Post - Tunnel vision: Bradford plans underground shopping mall
Over 300 tonnes of rubble have been removed from subterranean tunnels in Bradford city centre ahead of plans to create a base for up-and-coming young entrepreneurs and artists.
The little-known warren of tunnels looks set to be transformed into nine Victorian-style shops, two bars, a restaurant and 23 market stalls under plans that are due to be submitted to the city council within the next two weeks.
And the development company behind the £1m scheme expects the tunnels to be clear of rubble within a fortnight.
The plans also include the conversion of the building above, called Millergate House, into six flats.
As previously reported in The Yorkshire Post, developer Sunbridge Wells has been working on the project for some time but details of the scheme only emerged last month.
Teams have been digging out rubble which, in some places, was within two feet of the ceiling.
Project manager Graham Hall said: “It is now looking the part; it looks really good. You can really see what it’s going to be like. There’s nothing like it in Bradford; it’s unique. It is certain to become a tourist attraction.”
Picking through the mountains of debris has taken some time, he says.
“The top floor used to be a cellar bar but was filled in with rubble - thousands of bricks and beer barrels - which was within two foot of the ceiling. Since we started we have removed around 340 tonnes. We have had to wheelbarrow a lot of it out.”
Once the rubbish has been cleared, work can begin on preparing the 12,000 square foot of space for a damp proof course and for the removal and relaying of stone floors. The stonework will be sandblasted.
The next big hurdle will be securing planning permission to convert the space into units for various businesses, including low-rent units for young entrepreneurs, graduates and student artists, jewellers and other crafts people.
The proposals have been well received in the city, according to Mr Hall.
“Our website (www.sunbridgewells.com) has had about 17,000 hits in the last month and everyone seems very enthusiastic about the proposals. We want to encourage 18-30-year-olds into ‘easy start-up’ businesses.”
The idea is that those who take on the start-up units will only pay a modest rent and can easily walk away if the business fails to take off. The walls of the network of tunnels will be used to showcase work by artists.
The developer is keen to discover more about the history of the tunnels, which are believed to date back to the 1700s. Some of the space is thought to have been used as cells.
A plaque on Ivegate commemorates the imprisonment in 1744 of a famous preacher with the words: “John Nelson of Birstall. Stonemason and Methodist preacher. Helper of John Wesley. Was lodged in a dungeon near this spot, May 5 1744.”
More recently, the underground tunnels were turned into bars.
The developer’s website records the existence of The Little Fat Black Pussy Cat nightclub which was owned by Shirley Crabtree, better known as the wrestler Big Daddy.
Acts listed as having played beneath the city streets include the Beatles who played an “after hours gig in the Old Cellar Bar on Ivegate,” the website notes.
Other acts said to have appeared include The Pretty Things and Jimi Hendrix.
06 May 2014 - Yorkshire Standard - Inside Bradford’s secret tunnels set to become tourist attraction
Rubble and earth is being cleared as work continues on a Victorian-style underground shopping quarter.
With over 300 tonnes moved, developers Sunbridgewells plan to bring the abandoned tunnels located near Bradford's City Park back to life. The privately funded project is worth approximately £1 million and developers are working with Bradford Council to complete it. Site manager Graham Hall happened to walk past the tunnel entrance in 2008 and became interested.
He told the Yorkshire Standard: "I was walking past the door when it was opened and had a nosey in. With a mobile phone camera, I took photographs and found out who owned this place and what they were doing here. I thought it was unique, and no one really knew it was there."
Upon research, Mr Hall found that the tunnels had a fascinating history behind the walls. The tunnels were used as old prison cells where people were sentenced, and was also used as an air-raid shelter during the war.
In the 1960's, the location was used as a nightclub, where Jimi Hendrix and The Pretty Things played. The Beatles also played on the top deck of the place at an after-hours gig.
The project is expected to be finished by next year, and the public will be able to visit a Victorian-style market, a glassed atrium area, bars and bistros. There will be three points of access from the City, and Mr Hall has high hopes when the project is finished.
He said: "You have to be over 70 to know that this place even exists. But once completed, the tunnels will be a wonderful tourist attraction and be something else visitors can see in Bradford."
There are rumours that there is a passageway that connects the top floor of the tunnels to City Hall. It remains undiscovered.
Filmed in The Tunnel - University of Bradford Presents NPCs.
A short comedy film based around the lives of characters within a modern first-person shooter
Welcome to the side of gaming that you were not meant to see.
After a mishap during a routine mission, industry veteran Captain Jacobs is left without a partner. Hot off his new-found viral fame, newbie Private Montgomery is brought in to pick up the slack and keep the gamers playing. But a new player has just joined and is about to push both Jacobs and Monty to their limits. Will they hold it together? Will they keep the gameplay going? Will they be forced to break the fourth wall?
NPCs follows the exploits of Private Montgomery and Captain Jacobs as they shoot, slash and strafe their way through the video game industry. Contending with twelve year old's, bad programming and the horrors of online gaming; working together they may just find a way to make life easier not just for themselves but also their entire team.
Contact NPCs via email for more information
28 May 2014 - BBC Look North Coverage
04 July 2014 Telegraph & Argus - VIDEO: Bradford Tunnel Project plans go on public view
Proposals for a Victorian-style underground market in the heart of Bradford's city centre are now open for the public to view, and subject to planning approval, developers say they hope to open in time for Christmas.
The 'Bradford Tunnel Project', the brainchild of Graham Hall, of Yeadon-based developers Sunbridge Wells Ltd, would see a maze of tunnels under Ivegate, Upper Miller Gate, and Sunbridge Road turned into a contemporary space with two new bars, a restaurant and 12 retail units.
Details of the privately-funded £1 million scheme are now available to view and comment on until August 1, with Bradford Council expected to make a final decision soon after.
Mr Hall said he was originally told about the historic tunnel system 20 years ago, but realised its potential when he first saw the site for himself in 2006.
"I came in to have a look and started trying to hatch ideas of what you could do down here," he said. "The idea is almost a living, working Victorian Museum, but with a contemporary feel.
"It will be like the old meeting the new."
The full complex will incorporate 43 Ivegate, 1 to 11 Upper Millergate and 38 to 44 Sunbridge Road, with developers hoping to attract young entrepreneurs with "new and exciting" businesses.
"We want to give a chance to youth," said Mr Hall. "If it works, then all fair and good, but if doesn't, they won't lose a lot of money as it will be flexible monthly contracts.
"If you don't try, you never know."
The 12,000sq ft application site, formerly a prison, air-raid shelter, plumber's yard, brewery and nightclub down the years, is situated in the City Centre Conservation area, with proposed access via City Park and Sunbridge Road.
All the buildings involved above ground level are grade two listed, and the developer states it will ensure the character of the Victorian structures remain.
There would be Victorian-style units running along the tunnel's internal street with a large glass area above.
A courtyard would have an open-plan glass and steel staircase leading to Upper Miller Gate. This would be designed to bring light to the tunnel system, covered by a Victorian-style atrium entrance and exit to the shopping area below.
Students at Bradford College have been involved in designing potential interior units for the shops, and Mr Hall said a number of firms had already shown interest in renting the space.
"This would be Bradford's own Victoria Quarter, a vibrant and exciting area to make the city thrive again, all in a setting in keeping with its history and ambience," he said.
"Feedback we've had so far has been very positive, everyone has been wanting to come in and have a look around.
"The project is on-track, we've removed 490 tonnes of timber and rubble, and if the planning is approved, we can get all the tradesmen in.
"Everything is on time and on budget, and the project is going exactly how we want it to go.
"Hopefully, the whole development should be finished and open for Christmas this year."
June 2014 - The Bradfordian - Light at the end of the Tunnel
16 August 2014 - Telegraph & Argus - Planners given go-ahead for Bradford's underground shopping arcade
Ambitious plans to create a shopping arcade, bars and cafes in centuries old tunnels and "dungeons" beneath Bradford have been given the go ahead by Bradford Council.
The Victorian style underground shopping centre will include 12 shops, two bars and a restaurant, as well as market stalls, and could be open by the end of the year.
The brainchild of Graham Hall, of Yeadon based developers Sunbridge Wells, the privately-funded, £1 million development will be built underneath Sunbridge Road, Upper Millergate and Ivegate, with an entrance at the back of City Park.
The tunnel was once used as a nightclub and music venue but has been vacant for decades.
Local artist Trafford Parsons is creating art pieces at the tunnel's entrance, and when complete a small part of the tunnel will be open for the public to see while work commences further down. This is expected to happen in about six weeks' time.
Although the tunnels were thought to date back to the Victorian period, council archaeologists who were asked to look at the application said: "The site includes opening up spaces that have been previously inaccessible, particularly to the public, for many years and possibly centuries. These include dungeons dating back at least to the early 1700s."
Mr Hall said: "It is brilliant news that we have been given planning permission, and I'd really like to thank the planners for how efficient they've been.
"We've already got two potential operators who are interested in running the bars. There will be 12 shops, one restaurant, two bars and 20 flea market style stalls.
"We really hope that this becomes a tourist attraction, you can't get anything like this anywhere else."
When complete, there will be Victorian-style units running along the tunnel's internal street with a large glass area above.
A courtyard will have an open-plan glass and steel staircase leading to Upper Miller Gate, designed to bring light to the tunnel system, covered by a Victorian-style atrium entrance and exit to the shopping area below.
The project has been designed to be attractive to young entrepreneurs.
Approving the application under delegated powers, planning officer Mark Hutchinson said: "In this economic environment, the proposal offers the prospect of investment in an important location.
Cllr Susan Hinchliffe, portfolio holder for regeneration at Bradford Council, said: "It's an initiative which has really captured people's imaginations and another sign of regenerated interest in the city centre. Now the owners have been given planning permission, I look forward to seeing Sunbridge Wells start to take shape."
Mr Hall said he hoped to have the development open by the end of the year or early January.
07 October 2014 Telegraph & Argus - Plans to transform 'lost part of Bradford' move a step closer
Ambitious plans to transform a "lost part of Bradford" are a step closer to reality now 820 tonnes of rubble have been cleared and the site is ready for contractors to move in.
The centuries-old network of underground tunnels is billed to become the city's Victorian quarter and will be a mix of trading barrows, restaurants and bars.
Yesterday the man behind the Sunbridge Wells project, Graham Hall, a Yeadon-based developer, showed the Lord Mayor of Bradford Mike Gibbons how work was progressing.
The historic tunnels, which have been vacant for many years, have previously been home to cells, a bottling plant and a nightclub.
Cllr Gibbons said he was delighted to see the project starting to take shape.
"The vast majority of people in Bradford probably don't know this exists and I think this will be quite a revelation to them," he said.
He said he was "very impressed" with what he had seen.
"And more so with the plans to regenerate a lost part of Bradford," he added.
Cllr Gibbons said part of the tunnels reminded him of Liverpool's Cavern Club, where the Beatles - who played in the building above the tunnels - found fame.
The main entrance to Sunbridge Wells is a tunnel behind City Park and plans include an internal street with a large glass area above courtyard with a staircase leading to Upper Miller Gate.
The tunnel entrance will be used as an art gallery space and in-house artist Trafford Parsons said he was excited to be part of the project.
"There will be different styles of art, but always contemporary things from today.
"I think we will use the space in so many different ways. There will be projection and 3D pieces and painting."
Features, including cell bars, will be kept as the walls are sandblasted to revitalise the whole area.
Mr Parsons said Mr Hall had always been able to see beyond the rubble and mess and imagine the impressive development.
"When Graham showed me, he just had so much vision. I couldn't quite see it, but when I started to, it was great," he added.
Part of the development belonged to Dayal Sharma MBE who said Mr Hall shared his plans with him about four years ago.
"I thought he was kidding at first, but said I'd help him."
Marketing will start soon to fill the project, which has expanded to include 14 shops, two bars and a restaurant - meaning a later completion date of February or March, rather than December as originally hoped.
The aim is to get young entrepreneurs excited about investing in the city, but with flexible trading terms.
"It's going to be a great place for young people to work and enjoy themselves," Mr Hall said.
Mr Parsons added: "We've had so much interest from people walking by already. As soon as the door is open even a crack, people are so inquisitive.
"Even just the painting on the outside of the building get attention."
07 October 2014 Radio Leeds Interview
24 November 2014 Telegraph & Argus - Students asked to design interiors of new bars and shops in underground Bradford tunnels
Students have been asked to design the interiors of new bars and shops opening in a network of underground city centre tunnels.
Bradford College undergraduates have been challenged to come up with groundbreaking and creative ideas for the Sunbridge Wells development which is due to open in late February.
More than 980 tonnes of rubble have been shifted from the site which has been transformed from being dark, dingy and filled with dirt, to an open space with quirky historic features such as cell bars on show.
Course leader Sue Meniconi said the project was "amazing" and a great opportunity for students to get first-hand experience which money could not buy.
"I'm hoping this will be a flagship for other cities to explore their tunnels because most cities have them, for them to open them up and create something like this," she added.
Students and staff from the BA (Hons) interior design course previously visited the tunnels for a project involving turning disused shipping containers into retail units. They have now been back to see how work is progressing and consider how the tunnels could be developed to enhance not only the site, but also the wider regeneration of Bradford.
"It's amazing, the difference to this space," said Mrs Meniconi.
Second year student Luke Gawthorp has visited the development twice before.
"I came down last year but they've done quite a bit since then," he said.
"Last time it was full of rubble and before then it was just untouched, you couldn't get in. It was really dingy, but it's opened up a lot more."
He intends to look at the site's history and original feature to develop his interior design.
Students will pitch their work to operators of the shops and bars, giving them experience of selling, as well as designing, their proposals.
"One of the bars is going to be for students, so they're going to be designing for themselves really," said Mrs Meniconi.
"We've got some really strong students as well, so I'm confident their ideas will be used."
Students from the three-year course, which has been running for four years, have previously worked on projects with the Royal British legion and Bradford Royal Infirmary.
"We've worked with some quite prestigious organisations locally and we were just blown away by this opportunity, and because it's so local we can come by at any time."
The tunnels' main entrance will be behind City Park, but there will also be an entrance on Upper Miller Gate with a steel spiral staircase leading to the Victorian style shops, trading barrows, four bars and art space below.
Developer Graham Hall, of Yeadon-based developer Sunbridge Wells, said the £1 million project was on course to open at the end of February and the retail units would soon be advertised to interested shopkeepers.
Recent work has included using 14 tonnes of sand to blast the walls clean, drainage and laying floors.
Next the courtyard area, which will be used to display and project art, will be cleaned.
25 November 2014 - BCB Radio Interview with Trafford Parsons
26 November 2014 - BCB Radio Top Ten with Trafford Parsons
15 December 2014 - ITV Calendar Coverage - Exploring the hidden heart of Bradford
Hidden between city square and Ivegate, the tunnels known as Sunbridge Wells weave their way over three levels. Starting out as a quarry in the 13th century, the tunnels went through several transformations before being abandoned after their heyday in the 1960s. Work is now going on to bring the area back to life as an underground market. Jon Mitchell went to find out more.
For the full story click here
30 December 2014 - Telegraph and Argus - New gallery planned for Sunbridge Wells development
An art gallery that could attract artists from across the country could soon be opening up in a new Bradford development.
Beneath the streets of Bradford city centre, work is taking place to transform a number of Victorian tunnels into the Sunbridge Wells development.
Once complete, the shopping arcade will include independent shops, stalls and cafes. But art will also make up a big part of the development - not only will it host a monthly artist's market, but work is well under way on creating the Sunbridge Wells Gallery, a permanent artistic space that will give up and coming artists a chance to display their work.
The gallery is being headed up by artist Trafford Parsons, who has put out a call for any artists who want to get involved to come forward.
As well as more traditional art, Mr Parsons said the gallery will be eager to embrace 3D art, projections and performance art to create what he describes as a unique experience.
Any artists interested in becoming a part of the gallery can visit its Facebook page here
17 January 2015 - Telegraph and Argus -Bradford's ambitious underground retail development will now be bigger than planned
An ambitious underground development of shops, cafes and bars, due to open this summer, will now be even bigger than originally planned.
Yesterday, 25 representatives from the Association of Town and City Management visited the Sunbridge Wells development on Millergate and the Westfield Broadway development, both of which are opening later this year.
During the tour of Sunbridge Wells, they got to see how the works to convert the Victorian tunnels beneath Sunbridge Road are progressing.
Announced last year, the privately funded development is now being marketed to businesses, and developer Graham Hall has expanded his initial vision to include neighbouring buildings, some of which are "land locked" and inaccessible from the street. Workers are busy converting the buildings, some of which have not been used for almost 90 years, in time for its projected early summer opening.
The centre was originally due to open in Spring, but the expansion has pushed that date back slightly.
Because of the new acquisitions, the development will be almost a third bigger than originally planned.
During their tour of the site, the city centre managers were shown features of the site's varied past, such as Victorian archways, bars from old police cells and a newly exposed quarry face. Most are being maintained as part of the development.
The finished centre will have 14 small retail units and four restaurants/bars. Some of these will front onto Sunbridge Road, with one bar above the former Tangles hair salon unit.
The shops are intended to be starter units for new businesses, and the development will also include an art gallery and regular arts and craft markets.
In its past life the tunnel has been a nightclub and bottling plant, and some of the newly acquired buildings were Victorian homes.
Mr Hall said: "We've just released the promotional materials this week, so we're hoping businesses will start getting in touch. We've had a lot of interest on the website. The shop units will be ideal for people who have a great idea and may just want a temporary lease. This is a completely unique development."
Although the majority of the development will be underground, there will be entrances from Centenary Square, Upper Millergate and Ivegate. The units will be laid out over the main floor, a mezzanine and two upper levels.
Bernadette Rushton, a manager from Rotherham and the chair of the Association, said: "We've been absolutely blown away. We've been waiting for the Westfield scheme for a long time, and to see that and then the Sunbridge Wells scheme, which is very unique, shows that Bradford is offering a lot. This is something completely different."
Jonny Noble, city centre operations manager for Bradford, said: "We had the group come here because of the position we are in with all the different developments going on."
January 2015 - The Local Leader Magazine - Reported by Phil Robinson
For free subscription to the magazine and read the latest news in the local area visit here
02 March 2015 - BBC Radio Leeds with Johnny l'anson
08 April 2015 - Telegraph and Argus - Artists keen to display in city tunnels
More than 20 artists have expressed an interest in displaying their work in the soon to be completed Sunbridge Wells development in Bradford.
The project, which is transforming a network of Victorian tunnels under the city centre, is set to include a permanent art gallery alongside a host of independent shops, restaurants and bars.
The gallery is being headed up by artist Trafford Parsons, who has met with other contributors keen to showcase their work.
“There has been a great amount of interest and there are already enough people to hold an initial exhibition,” he said.
“The standard of work was very high, including painters, photographers and multimedia artists, so it is exciting times ahead.”
Mr Parsons said he is planning to hold monthly artists fairs once the development, which is also set to be used by bands and theatre groups, opens in the summer.
“We are hoping people will work together on some projects, and the place lends itself to so many opportunities,” he said.
“The idea of using Sunbridge Wells as a forum for the arts in Bradford really stands out.”
The Sunbridge Wells development is among a number of projects taking place across Bradford, including the Westfield's Broadway shopping centre scheme, that are expected to boost the city’s regeneration.
Any artists interested in getting involved can visit www.facebook.com/pages/Sunbridgewells-Gallery
16 May 2015 - Telegraph and Argus - Autumn opening hope for expanded Sunbridge Wells scheme
A £1 MILLION underground development of shops, cafes and bars is due to open in Bradford at the end of September following its expansion.
The Tunnel, built underneath Sunbridge Road, Upper Millergate and Ivegate, will include 14 small retail units and four restaurants/bars in a Victorian-style complex.
The complex aims to provide starter units for new businesses, and the 20,000 sq ft development will also include an art gallery and regular arts and craft markets.
There would also be access from City Park and Sunbridge Road and the site would also link to the Arndale Mall.
The tunnel features some buildings which have not been used for almost 90 years.
It has previously been a nightclub and bottling plant, and some of the newly acquired buildings were Victorian homes.
There will be Victorian-style units running along the tunnel's internal street with a large glass area above.
A courtyard will have an open open plan glass and steel staircase leading to Upper Miller Gate.
The units will be laid out over the main floor, a mezzanine and two upper levels.
Developers, who are also working with Bradford Council and Bradford College on the project, are targeting young entrepreneurs, in particular aged 18 to 30, to sign up for a space in the site, which will feature flexible trading terms.
When it was announced the project had been given the go ahead by Bradford Council in August last year, it was hoped the site could open by the end of the year.
But this has been pushed back after the project has expanded by almost a third since work began.
Graham Hall, of Yeadon-based developers Sunbridge Wells, said more than 70 businesses have expressed an interest in taking on a unit in the privately-funded development.
He said: "We are looking at opening at the end of September.
"We are just chipping away with the project now. It's going well.
"We are just about to fit the shop fronts now.
"The staircase is being manufactured off site. Everything is going on.
"It's going to be a unique experience for the city centre and a good tourist attraction for young and old.
"This is all good news for Bradford.
"Negotiations are ongoing with businesses interested in taking on a shop or bar.
"It's intrigue of what is down there for people. Everybody will want to see it at least once, especially as it's underground.
"About 70 people have expressed an interest so far.
"Inquiries have come from shops that stock lingerie, brand name handmade soaps and handbags.
"I have no doubt that the whole place will be let very easily. It has to be different and unique and everyone has to work together on it."
For the full story click here
02 July 2015 - Pulse1 - New Underground Shopping Centre To Open In October
The unique retail space in Bradford will open in October this year.
Bradford's Lord Mayor Joanne Dodds has praised a new underground shopping centre being developed in the heart of the city.
Located in tunnels beneath Sunbridge Road, 'The Tunnel' will house a mix of independent shops, bars and restaurants.
The shopping centre's developers are reaching out to young entrepreneurs in the region, promising flexible rents and a unique location. They've already received over 80 applications.
In the 60s, a bar in the city's little known Victorian passages allegedly saw performances by the Beatles and Pretty Things.
After being shown around the site today, Bradford's Lord Mayor was hugely excited by the development.
"I'm absolutely blown away. I didn't really know what to expect but it's massive and fantastic. The concept is unique, and is brilliant for Bradford!"
The three-level renovation is the first of it's kind in the U.K. Laurie Reader was the architect.
"It's probably the biggest challenge in my career - there's not a straight line in the place!" he said. "There was about two thousand tons of [rubble] but as the job progressed and we got rid of all the rubbish in it I realised what an amazing project it was."
"I'm just excited about it all coming together and being a real part of Bradford's regeneration"
Bradford Council have said the development will bring people to the city.
"It's an opportunity to draw people in to the city centre with something very very unique" said the Council's Clare Wilkinson. "No one else has got one of these! It's something totally unique to Bradford and should be a fantastic draw to the city."
'The Tunnel' is expected to open October this year.
Read the full story here
02 July 2015 - Telegraph and Argus - Mayor Impressed by plans for shops and bars
A £1 million scheme to transform a series of hidden Victorian tunnels into upmarket shops and bars is nearing completion.
The team behind the Sunbridge Wells development in Bradford city centre say the project is on course to be finished by the end of September or the beginning of October.
The scheme will include 12 shops and five bars being created in what were until recently disused tunnels, old cellars and other unused spaces beneath the city streets.
It will have entrances at Ivegate, Millergate and Upper Millergate, at the heart of the city centre conservation area, and many of the buildings involved are listed.
Today, the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Joanne Dodds, was given a tour of the site by developer Graham Hall and architect Laurie Reader.
Mr Hall said work was progressing well, although sorting out the utilities had proved a challenge as the spaces had previously had five separate owners.
In total, 2,000 tonnes of rubble have been pulled from the tunnels and cellars, which over the years have been home to a debtors' jail, a brewery and a bar.
Mr Hall said so far 80 businesses had made enquiries about taking up the shops and bars, including handbag, candle and vintage clothing retailers.
He said he found out about the tunnels a few years ago when he had been chatting with someone about where they could store street barrows.
Mr Hall said he then happened to be passing the entrance one day and saw it was open. He snuck in to have a look around and immediately knew he wanted to do something with the space.
He added: "It took three years negotiating contracts with the people who owned the premises. The people who owned the main part at the top didn't even know they had owned it. They were from London and had never been to Bradford."
Mr Reader, an architect based in Cottingley, said working on the scheme had been a career highlight.
He said: "It's fantastic, it really is, and with all the listed buildings as well. I do do new buildings, but most of my career I have dealt with renovations. Not like this, though."
Cllr Dodds said: "It's so amazing. I didn't know what to expect and it it so much bigger than I thought. It's just mind-blowing."
She said she was impressed Mr Hall had the vision to see the potential of the tunnels when he had first seen them.
She added: "Graham had the foresight to see this, when he came in on another purpose and saw the potential of this.
"This is so unique. We don't know of anywhere else that has anything like this."
Cllr Dodds said while Westfield's Broadway centre would have the big-name shops to draw visitors in to the city, Sunbridge Wells would offer quirky little outlets where people could buy items that were "a little bit different".
"People are going to come from far and wide," she said.
Read the full story here
24 August 2015 - Telegraph and Argus - Bradford's £1m Sunbridgewells Underground retail Development Hit By Further Delays
Bradford's £1 million underground retail development has been hit by further delays and now faces a race against time to open before the Broadway shopping centre.
The Tunnel, build underneath Sunbridge Road, Upper Millergate and Ivegate, will include 14 small retail units and four restaurants/bars in a Victorian-style complex. But it is now due to open its doors in October or November this year, almost 12 months after it was originally expected to.
The project was given the go ahead by Bradford Council in August last year. The previous forecast for opening the site was given as the end of September by developers earlier this year. But the opening was pushed back after the original project was expanded by almost a third since work began. Now developers hope the underground site will be open around the same time as the £260 million Broadway shopping centre on November 5. The complex aims to provide starter units for new businesses, and the 20,000 sq ft development will also include an art gallery and regular arts and craft markets.
But work is still going on apace including the installation of the staircase leading up to Ivegate.
A total of 2,000 tonnes of rubble have been pulled from the tunnels and cellars.
Graham Hall, of Yeadon-based developers Sunbridge Wells, says he is frustrated by the further delays but potential businesses are still expressing an interest in taking on a shop at the site.
He said: "Hopefully we will try to beat Westfield opening.
"It's been a bit more work than we thought it would be.
"It's frustrating for me. It seems to be taking longer than we thought it would be.
"It's just a couple of months behind schedule. It's getting there.
"There is extra building work, more stuff to be done.
"It should be October or November now. How long is a piece of string?
"The whole thing is coming together. It would be sooner if it was a brand new building.
"There has been plenty of interest in taking on the shops. It will look the part when the shops fronts are done." The development's tunnel features some buildings which have not been used for almost 90 years. The site has previously been a nightclub and bottling plant, and some of the newly acquired buildings were Victorian homes.
The units will be laid out over the main floor, a mezzanine and two upper levels. It will include access from City Park and Sunbridge Road and the site will use link to the Arndale Mall.
There will be Victorian-style units running along the tunnel's internal street with a large glass area above.
A courtyard will have an open plan glass and steel staircase leading to Upper Miller Gate.
09 September 2015 - BBC Look North Coverage
23 October 2015 - Telegraph and Argus - DELAYED: Bradford's £1 million underground retail scheme will not open until March 2016
THE OPENING of the £1 million underground Sunbridge Wells retail development has been delayed until March next year.
The tunnel, built underneath Sunbridge Road, Upper Millergate and Ivegate, Bradford, will include 12 shops and five bars in a Victoria-style complex.
It was hoped that the site would be opened at the end of this month, in time for The Broadway shopping centre's opening, but this date has now slipped.
The ongoing building work has caused a further delay to the opening, says the frustrated developer.
Graham Hall, of Yeadon based developer Sunbridge Wells, said the project will now be open by March 31, next year. He said: "It's not due to costs. It's just the amount of work. "It's not a straightforward job. It's exactly the same costs as we thought it was before. Because of the type of work we're doing, you have to be spot on with it. I don't want to open something that isn't quite right. It's a unique project. Everything has to be right at the beginning. It's frustrating, but you have to get it right. Extra building work has caused it to be put back. It's a really hard job. The building work is going OK at the moment. We've been here for two years now, another couple of months won't matter."
A male grooming and a coffee and champagne bar are among those who have already signed up for one of the spots at the development.
The complex aims to provide starter units for new businesses, and the 20,000 sq ft development will also include an art gallery and regular arts and crafts markets.
More than 2,000 tonnes of rubble has been pulled from the tunnels and cellars during the building work.
The development features some buildings which have not been used for almost 90 years.
The units will be laid out over the main floor, a mezzanine and two upper levels.
Councillor David Green, leader of Bradford Council, said: "This is a unique development and it does not surprise me that it is not being delivered to time, given the challenges that have been created by it.
"The most important thing is that we continue to support the development, which will be opening early next year.
"They are doing their best and they are doing it right."
Meanwhile, Mr Hall found an original wooden pub sign dating back to around the 1870s during work at the site earlier this month.
The sign is from the Rose and Crown Inn and was hand painted by Bradford artist Thomas Forrest. The sign, was measured 3ft by 2.5ft, was found in a loft of one of the development's buildings earlier this month.
It will go on display in a real ale bar, being built as part of the tunnels project. Mr Hall added: "I was just about to throw it away until I realised what it was. It's been forgotten about.
"It looks to be the find of the century."
23 October 2015 - Telegraph and Argus - Discovery of original Bradford pub sign dating back to 1800's is 'great find'
An original wooden pub sign dating back to around the 1870s has been found during work to create an underground retail development in Bradford city centre.
The sign is from the Rose and Crown Inn and was hand painted by Bradford artist Thomas Forrest.
It was discovered by Graham Hall, of Yeadon based developer Sunbridge Wells.
The company is currently carrying out work underneath Sunbridge Road, Upper Millergate and Ivegate, Bradford, to create 12 shops and five bars in a Victoria-style complex.
The pub sign, measuring 3ft by 2.5ft, was found in a loft of one of the development's buildings earlier this month.
It will go on display in a real ale bar, being built as part of the tunnels project.
Mr Hall said: "I was just about to throw it away until I realised what it was. It's been forgotten about.
03 November 2015 - Telegraph and Argus - Missing cat gave birth to five kittens in Sunbridge Wells tunnel development
A missing cat gave birth to five kittens after taking shelter in a tunnel being converted into shops and bars.
The animal sneaked into the Sunbridge Wells building site in Bradford city centre where it was found by workers.
The animals were taken away by the Cats Protection Wharfe Valley branch which returned the cat to its owner, along with the kittens.
The cat, which was chipped had been missing for four months. The tunnel, underneath Sunbridge Road, Upper Millergate and Ivegate, is due to open by March.
Read the original article here
11 December 2015 - UNDERGROUND SHOPPING CENTRE TAKES SHAPE IN VICTORIAN TUNNELS
Sunbridge wells – an unusual and distinctive £1m underground retail development under construction in Bradford – will include retail units, an art gallery, regular arts and crafts markets and four restaurants/bars in a Victorian-style internal street with glazing above.
The approximately 12,000sq ft scheme will occupy existing tunnels underneath Sunbridge Road, Upper Millergate and Ivegate. The tunnels are believed to date back to the 1700s and include some buildings which have not been used for almost 90 years. The space had previously been a nightclub where Jimmy Hendrix and The Pretty Things played. It had also been used by a bottling plant, and in much earlier times, as prison cells.
The scheme is being developed by Sunbridge Wells and project managed by Graham Hall, who instigated the project. The architect is Laurie Reader.
The new Victorian units will be arranged over a main floor, a mezzanine and two upper levels and the scheme will also include a rear courtyard and an open plan glass and steel staircase leading to Upper Miller Gate.
According to the developers: “We are creating Bradford’s first underground retail complex right in the heart of Bradford’s historic trading quarter. With easy access from City Park and Sunbridge Road – Sunbridge Wells will become a shopping and leisure area right in the centre of Bradford – linking the area from the new City Park to the Arndale Mall.
“We will become Bradford’s own Victorian quarter incorporating Victorian and contemporary shop units together with trading streets barrows, restaurants and bars in a setting in keeping with the history and ambience of Bradford.
“We are working together with Bradford Council and Bradford College to create a vibrant and exciting trading area, helping Bradford to thrive again.
“With the new developments in the city centre – Westfield Shopping Centre and the New City Park – this now is time to promote and enhance the talent and potential which has always existed in this great city.
“Sunbridge Wells will be Bradford’s historic market area offering an eclectic mix of social interaction, local produce and specialty goods in the centre of the pedestrian area of the town centre throughout the week.
“We wish to promote both independent retailers young entrepreneurs in the Bradford area aged 18 to 30 – with easy in and out flexible trading terms making Sunbridge Wells an ideal area for new and existing businesses to trade in the heart of the city centre.
“Creative, enthusiastic, business-minded young people with a passion for their product are invited to apply for stall and business premises in Sunbridge Wells.
“The business units and market stalls offer a great opportunity for young entrepreneur with something special to sell or who have a talent they can turn into a saleable product.”
The project has included the removal of over 300 tonnes of rubble, which, in some places, was within two feet of the ceiling. Other works include the installation of a damp proof course, the removal and re-laying of stone floors, the creation of the new interior layout, new access and new units, the installation of utilities and sandblasting of the interior stonework.
Robinson Electrical Ltd is the main electrical contractor on the Sunbridge Wells project. The company is responsible for the installation of all lighting and power, the fire alarm system, the telephone and data networking, the CCTV system and the intruder alarm system.
Matthew Robinson of Robinson Electrical Ltd, said:
“This project has been fantastic for us to be involved in. We are predominantly commercial electricians and usually carry out works in offices, factories and shops or Portakabin installations for one of our biggest clients, so to be part of something so unique and different has been a real pleasure.”
“There has been a lot of challenges because of the layout and complexity of the building; trying to keep our wiring systems within the look of the building without distracting anyone from the stunning architecture on display.”
The tunnel location for the project was discovered by Graham Hall after he happened to walk past the tunnel entrance in 2008. The entrance door was open and he went inside to investigate, taking photographs with his mobile phone camera. His appreciation of the potential of the space subsequently led to him spearheading the development of the current scheme.
Full article here
05 January 2016 Telegraph & Argus - SNEAK PEEK: Public has first look at Sunbridge Wells tunnels beneath Bradford city centre
Members of the public been given a sneak peek of a £1 million underground Victorian tunnel development in Bradford city centre.
Sunbridge Wells, which will include 15 shops, five bars and two restaurants, was originally planned to open late in 2014, but the scheme was expanded and delayed and owners say it is now scheduled to open at the end of March.
Graham Hall, of Yeadon-based developer Sunbridge Wells, is giving tours this week after inviting the public to see the work through social media.
Ten of the units, which also includes six lockable stalls, have been let so far, but Mr Hall is sure the others will be occupied.
"I'm not disappointed by the numbers that have been taken up so far. No-one has had a chance to look at them yet," Mr Hall said.
"I'm totally confident that they will be taken up."
Twenty people joined the first 30-minute tour of the site, which runs beneath Sunbridge Road, Upper Millergate and Ivegate, today.
Elaine Lee, 69, of Baildon, said: "I think it's fantastic.
"It's more important to Bradford than the Broadway. The work involved in it is interesting.
"I think people have wondered why it has taken so long to complete the work. But if people came they would realise how it has taken so long. There is a lot of work involved and they have done it properly."
The development brings back into use some buildings which have not been used for almost 90 years.
Ingrid Dzerins, 54, of Heaton, who went with her daughter, Leah, 11, said: "It's absolutely wonderful. The foresight the developers have had is absolutely brilliant.
"It feels as if Bradford has turned a corner. I feel really upbeat about this. It feels great.
"The history of the tunnels is great."
Kevin Wood, 53, of Thornton, said he would be returning to the tunnels once they were open.
"It's super. It's nice to see it before it opens," he said.
"It's unbelievable that something like this has been down here.
"I would like to see more of what's underneath Bradford."
Mr Hall aims to provide starter units for new businesses and the 20,000 sq ft development will also include an art gallery, showcasing 26 artists' work, and regular arts and crafts markets.
The three-floor development will also include a curry house and a 1920s-style bar which will show Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton movies.
Mr Hall said the tunnels project was still on course to open at the end of March after the ongoing building work had caused further delays.
More than 2,000 tonnes of rubble was pulled from the tunnels and cellars by three builders using only wheelbarrows during the work.
For the full article please click here
January 2016 - Bradford Review Magazine
20 February 2016 Telegraph & Argus - Long-established Indian restaurant to open second branch within £1 million tunnels development
A plan to open an Indian restaurant as part of the £1 million Sunbridge Wells Tunnels development has been submitted to Bradford Council.
The International restaurant, which has a base in Morley Street, Bradford, wants to open its second restaurant in the city in Ivegate at a vacant retail unit previously used as a Toni and Guy hair salon.
The two-floor site will feature the reception on the ground floor with a 60-seater restaurant on the first floor.
This application forms part of the second phase of the Tunnels project, which also includes a separate 100-strong capacity Rose and Crown pub, which dates back to the 17th century, at the back of the restaurant.
The project's first phase features 15 shops and a 1920s bar and is now due to open in April.
Under the new plans for the second phase of the project, a new shop arcade entrance would be created by removing the existing shopfront and creating a smaller front with a Victorian-style entrance. This would access the mid-level of the tunnels central atrium.
It is proposed to remove the existing shopfront and create an entrance to the Sunbridge Wells tunnel complex.
An International restaurant spokesman said: "We were given the opportunity to be part of Sunbridge Wells, which will be an excellent venue.
"We think it is a privilege to be part of Sunbridge Wells.
"We are still keeping our Morley Street restaurant open."
Sunbridge Wells, which will include 15 shops, five bars and two restaurants, was originally planned to open late in 2014, but the scheme was expanded and delayed.
The development brings back into use some buildings which have not been used for almost 90 years.
Graham Hall, of Yeadon-based developer Sunbridge Wells, said: "The site has already been stripped out.
"I don't think we will have a problem getting planning permission. It is all in keeping with revitalising Ivegate. It is a shame how it has been neglected for the last 20 years.
"The Rose and Crown will be a traditional ale house."
No objections have been raised to the application on Bradford Council's online page.
Meanwhile, Mr Hall added the opening date of the first phase of the development has been delayed from the end of March until mid to late April.
Five of the 15 shops have been occupied and will include a gentlemen's hairdressers and a T-shirt printers and lingerie shop.
Four out of the site’s five bars have also already been occupied.
The Tunnels' developers have applied for a licence to sell alcohol and are now waiting for some of the shops to come into the site and fit out their own individual spaces.
Meanwhile, developers unveiled new gates at the Upper Millergate entrance to the tunnels on Monday.
The black 8ft raw iron gates feature Sunbridge Wells written in gold lettering.
The gates, which cost £4,000 to make, have now been boarded up until the development opens at the end of March.
Similar gates will be at the site's Millergate entrance.
27 February 2016 Telegraph & Argus - Press Cutting
21 March 2016 Telegraph & Argus - Licences granted for seven bars in Sunbridge Wells tunnel development in Bradford
Licenses for seven venues in the long anticipated Sunbridge Wells development in Bradford have been granted, including one for a bar that will bring back beers brewed in the city almost 150 years ago.
Waller's Brewery started brewing from a building in the city centre in the 1870s, but has long since stopped producing beer.
However, when the development of shops, bars, and restaurants open this summer one of the new venues will bring the name back to Bradford.
Waller's Brewery will serve beers based on the original brewery's recipes, meaning visitors will get to taste what Bradfordians were drinking generations ago.
Other bars in the development will be a gin bar, Sunbridge Bar, serving tapas food and world beers, Alibi champagne and coffee lounge and the Rose & Crown, a real ale bar. There will also be a Laurel and Hardy bar, named after the slapstick movie duo, that will be 1920s themed and show movies from the era.
The International Restaurant, a 60-seat Indian restaurant will open in an empty unit at the Ivegate entrance to the development and has also been granted an alcohol license.
The licenses will allow the bars to open until 2am.
The new businesses are now being fitted out, and although the opening date has been put back until early summer, developer Graham Hall said when Sunbridge Wells does open it will become a major draw for the city.
The development is partly underground, with one entrance being a tunnel behind City Park, and spreads to Sunbridge Road and Ivegate.
Mr Hall said: "It's brilliant that we've got the licenses approved.
"With Waller's Brewery we are trying to use the old recipes. They won't be brewed on site but they'll be the same as they were when the brewery was up and running.
"None of the bars will be selling the same drinks. You should be able to come here, do some shopping, get something to eat and then have a few drinks. We're hoping to make it a major attraction."
26 March 2016 Telegraph & Argus - Plans for City Centre Restaurant Approved by Bradford Council
An Indian restaurant's plans to open a second venue on Ivegate as part of the Sunbridge Wells development have been approved by Bradford Council.
The International restaurant, based on Morley Street, will now be able to convert a vacant retail unit, previously used as a Toni and Guy hair salon, into a 60 seater restaurant.
The approved planning application will also see part of the empty unit turned into one of the entrances to the partially underground arcade of shops and bars.
Earlier this month Graham Hall, the developer behind the scheme, was granted licenses for the restaurant and six bars within the centre, including a gin bar, champagne and coffee bar and real ale pub.
On the application for the restaurant, planning officers said: "The shopfront and arcade frontage are well-detailed and will be an attractive feature to the ground level streetscape. The proposal would increase the active use of a prominently located building in a conservation area."
A spokesman for the restaurant has said they plan to keep the Morley Street restaurant open.
05 May 2016 The Pulse - Graham Hall from Sunbridge Wells in Bradford updates us on it's progress
09 July 2016 Telegraph & Argus - Sunbridgewells tunnels scheme will open 'this month', confirms developer
The long-awaited £1.5 million Sunbridgewells tunnels scheme remains on course to open at the end of this month, according to its developers.
The complex, off Centenary Square, will open in two stages with its first phase, including 14 shops, a Laurel and Hardy-themed bar, a tapas restaurant, a 1920s bar and a traditional-style pub.
The second phase, set to open at a later date, is the International restaurant, which will be accessed off Ivegate.
The scheme, which was originally due to open in late 2014, is set to support 25 new businesses and create 70 jobs. A glass roof for the site’s atrium, which includes a staircase going through each of its three floors, has been installed.
Graham Hall, of Yeadon-based developer Sunbridgewells, was unable to give an exact date in July when it would open but remains confident of the end of the month.
He said: “It’s still on for the end of July for us to open up. The work is going according to plan.
“It’s exciting now. It’s getting there at last.
“We are finishing the outside. It has been a long journey.
“The glass roof has been fitted in the atrium now.
“People are now fitting out the Sunbridge Lounge bar and the Rose & Crown pub.”
Its selection of bars will have a licence to open until 2am and the retail units, including a coffee shop, hairdressers and make-up store, will be able to open between 8am and 11pm.
Meanwhile, two large painted murals of film star Marilyn Monroe will be taken down from the development’s Millergate entrance next week, where cast-iron gates have been fitted.
This has been delayed as the Millergate entrance has been re-cobbled.
The pictures, by artist Trafford Parsons, have been on display for the last two years.
Bradford Council is also in talks with the Sunbridgewells developers to offer wheelbarrow trading on the city’s streets.
Under the proposals, eight wheelbarrows leased out from the development would go out to designated streets around Bradford city centre.
While these wheelbarrows are on the streets, a flea market will be run in the Millergate entrance.
A Bradford Council spokesman said: “We are still in discussions with the developer about using the wheelbarrows and where they may be located.
“There is currently an application for a licence for the barrows to be located in the tunnel.
“We will continue to work with the developer of this unique attraction for the city centre and are sure that it will be a real boost and bring a different offer for residents and visitors.”
04 August 2016 - Construction Magazine Article
17 August 2016 Telegraph & Argus - September opening date set for city centre Sunbridgewells tunnels scheme, after further delays
The £1.5 million Sunbridgewells underground development will now open in September, after being hit by further delays.
The long-awaited city centre scheme was scheduled to open at the end of this month, after numerous opening dates were pushed back.
Graham Hall, of Yeadon-based developer Sunbridgewells, said the latest delay was due to “legal issues” relating to leases for the bars and restaurants.
He said: “It is absolutely frustrating for me. I just want it open now.”
The underground complex, off Centenary Square, Bradford, will open in two stages with its first phase, including 14 shops, a Laurel and Hardy-themed bar, a tapas restaurant, a 1920s bar and a traditional-style pub.
The second phase of the scheme, set to open at a later date, includes the International restaurant, which will be accessed off Ivegate.
04 October 2016 Telegraph & Argus - Developer behind Sunbridgewells city centre tunnels complex says work is almost complete
Last-minute work is taking place at the £1.5 million Sunbridgewells underground development ahead of its opening date.
The complex, off Centenary Square and built underneath Sunbridge Road, Upper Millergate and Ivegate, will open in two stages.
Developers say its first phase, including 14 shops, a Laurel and Hardy-themed bar, a tapas restaurant, a 1920s bar and a traditional-style pub, will be open by the end of this month, but have no definitive date. The long-awaited scheme was originally due to open in late 2014.
The second phase, set to open at a later date, is the International restaurant, which will be accessed off Ivegate.
The scheme is set to support 25 new businesses and create 70 jobs but has been hit by a number of setbacks which have pushed back its opening date.
The shops set to open inside the development include Skulep Boutique, a ladies fashion boutique; an e-cigarette shop; a sweet shop; Sunbridge Lounge, a tapas and world beer bar; a handmade soap shop; The Jazz Bar; a cafe; Glen Hustler T-shirts; an aromatherapy shop; pizza takeaway; and Peter Le Blanc, an antique and small goods shop.
Graham Hall, of Yeadon-based developer Sunbridgewells, said: “It’s getting there.
“We are waiting for everything to be right. It has to be right.
“There is just a billion things to do.
“It has been a challenge to us all. We have dug too deep to make this fail.
“We are working seven days a week. I’m confident it will be open at the end of this month. I’ve not got an exact date.
“It’s going to be worth waiting for. There is nothing like this anywhere in the country.
“The work on the Laurel and Hardy and Waller’s Brewery Bars is nearly finished. Many of the shops’ signs are going on now.
“The only way to get Bradford buzzing is to get more people into the city centre. I did believe that six years ago and I believe it now.
“We are not a large multi-national company – we are local business people who wish to see Bradford thrive and move forward in a positive way.
“We have created a unique experience for the people at the heart of Bradford.
“We are a living, working museum with retail and leisure space that you would not find anywhere else in the country.”
The bars will have a licence to open until 2am and the retail units will be able to open between 8am and 11pm.
The development will display a number of artefacts from the city’s past loaned from the Bradford Industrial Museum. These include a Bolling Hall Museum sign from the 1930s, a display board from Manningham Lido swimming pool, a Theatre Royal Bradford advertising poster board, a Bradford Park Avenue AFC football ground sign and a Queensbury road sign.
The complex aims to provide starter units for new businesses, and the 20,000 sq ft development will also include an art gallery and regular arts and craft markets.
The main access will be fro City Park and Sunbridge Road. There are Victorian-style units running along the tunnel’s internal street with a large glass area above.