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Sunbridge Wells Bradfords Underground plan

95957 Views 400 Replies 45 Participants Last post by  OnTime
Sunbridge Wells development looks to be gaining momentum and now includes underground flats ?
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Just a point about this, we know for a fact that there are a number of tunnels under Leeds that supposedly run right out of the city and to places such as the queens hotel if we are to believe secret Leeds etc. Any chance of seeing some thing like this (that sounds amazing to be fair) in Leeds in the future? Anyone want to start digging for tunnels?
Just copied over from the main Bradford thread...

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 ( 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.

Here's the link for the full planning application, think the link is broken above.

Some images of the scheme:

Article in the T&A too:

Bradford Tunnel Project plans go on public view

10:29am Friday 4th July 2014

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.

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"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."
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Update on Sunbridge Wells

"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

"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

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
Exciting stuff.

T&A said:
VIDEO: Students asked to design interiors of new bars and shops in underground Bradford tunnels

First published 06:27 Monday 24 November 2014 in News

Last updated 3 hours ago by Julie Tickner

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.
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Amazing! On it's own, a reason to visit Bradford I'd say.
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You'd hardly appreciate anything was going on inside from the outside, but they've clearly been very busy.. starting to look really smart! Really interesting and unusual space.
yeah it looks great/interesting, i dream of something similar happening in the bricked up tunnels of the Catacomb like Dark Arches in Leeds.
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Brings something unique to Bradford. Look forward to it opening.
hmm bit different, original brick might be nicer.
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hmm bit different, original brick might be nicer.
Just what I was thinking, it might look better when aged.

This is a real treasure for Bradford.
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Couple of the associated new renders from the website:
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