It is pleasing to see - how rare this is - a national newspaper finding wonders outside of London and the Home Counties. And even more delightful when the wonder is in Bradford:
Oastler Shopping Centre, Bradford Bradford is a melting pot of cultures and the centre’s covered market reflects that; its stalls are packed with specialist foods from all over the world. There are cured meats and cheeses from Italy, Polish delicacies, jars of sauerkraut, Caribbean products such as yam flour and palm oil, and plenty of freshly ground spices at my favourite stall, Spice World.
Yes folks that's our market - what used to be John Street market, the place where Mr Morrison had his first stall. And it is a great place, filled with difference and interest - an escape from the sterilised sameness of the supermarket and the shopping mall.
Bradford should be proud of this market - it should be on the front cover of the glossy brochures. More than any other bit of our City Centre it tells the story of the town and holds out hope for the future.
So it will come as no surprise to my readers to hear that - just as was the case with Queen's Road Market at Upton Park - the Council sees the market as a development opportunity. The "preferred option" (what a deadening phrase) is that the two City Centre markets are merged. Not on the site of John Street but in the Kirkgate Centre. The land at the top of town between John Street and Hamm Strasse would land a great big "for sale" sign - ideal, say Bradford's regeneration, bosses for a supermarket or for housing.
In the 1990s Bradford Council - for no good reason - closed down West Yorkshire's last specialist food markets, Rawson Market and James Street Fish Market. They dumped the stallholders in a temporary market (having previously promised them a new market hall) and left them to struggle and for most to close.
It seems that the Council is set on repeating the error - of closing down something good and special on the promise of something better. But 'something better' this time is just a big supermarket!