Bradford Council’s Executive has approved proposals to relocate and expand St James’s Wholesale Market into a modern ‘regional food hub’ following an announcement by Bradford Council’s Leader that the existing market site could be the location for a new city centre Northern Powerhouse Rail station.
The new regional food hub with a larger and more accessible modern wholesale market could create more jobs and strengthen local and regional food distribution. It could also improve market access for regional food producers.
An expanded market could become a food destination of regional and national importance offering a much larger range of fresh food from fresh and processed foods to meat, fish, bakery and flowers, and provide a broader range of services.
Bradford is strategically located at the midpoint between London and Edinburgh, and Liverpool and Hull making it in an ideal location for the movement of fresh produce across the UK.
The current eight-acre Essex Street site is ‘landlocked’ hampering expansion.
The current market is fully occupied and has an extremely low turnover of tenants. One major tenant now uses off-site cold storage as the required space is not available on the existing site.
The Council believe the market has an opportunity to excel in the food distribution and to provide at least a 25% increase in additional trading space to current traders and related support services.
Bradford has a long tradition of wholesale markets dating back nearly 150 years when the original St James’s Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market opened in 1874.
St James’s Wholesale Market hosts 32 small and medium sized businesses generating around £50m turnover per annum and employing over 400 people serving the retail and hospitality sector throughout Bradford district and the neighbouring towns and cities.
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “This is an extremely exciting time for wholesale markets and Bradford could become a regional leader in the sale and distribution of fresh food and vegetables.
“These proposals present the district with an exciting opportunity to build on over 150 years of tradition and could also attract significant investment and jobs to our area.”
Nigel Jenny, Fresh Produce Consortium CEO, said “ We are delighted Bradford recognises the substantial and positive impact of their wholesale market. It’s a privilege to be part of the team developing the outline proposals which will offer traders and the wider community a world leading Northern food and flower hub“