Work on the stalled Bradford shopping centre development site is set to restart later this year, MPs have been told.

Work started at the city centre site in March 2004, but was halted by developers Westfield in February 2008.

The property developer came under fire when the redevelopment of the site was mothballed in the recession, after which point Westfield had already demolished the 23-acre site, leaving Bradford with an hole in the city centre.

Westfield sold the development to European fund manager Meyer Bergman last year. However, the Australian shopping centre giant is still involved in the project, leading the leasing, design and construction. Westfield will also manage the centre on completion. 

Responding to a question from Shipley Conservative MP Philip Davies Bradford Council chief executive Tony Reeves told MPs that Westfield’s latest shareholders report promised work would restart “in the second half of 2013”.

Westfield confirmed work was “anticipated to commence” in Bradford, according to the BBC.

Reeves added that Westfield said construction work at the Bradford site would take two years to complete once it had restarted.

“We have real confidence that Westfield will achieve that aim and so they will be on site this year and building,” he said.

Westfield has already signed retailers including Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Next. In a recent report, CACI ranked Bradford as the 8th best centre expansion opportunity in the UK.

Last year, protesters camped on the building site urging Westfield to restart construction work there.