The transformation of Bradford’s iconic former Odeon Cinema into a world-class live entertainment and events venue is one step closer with the submission of a planning application to Bradford Metropolitan District Council.
Architects Aedas Arts Team have spent almost a year working up detailed design proposals before lodging their application on behalf of developers Bradford Live, the not-for-profit distribution social enterprise working to secure a long term viable use for the iconic historic building in Bradford city centre.
The site, also previously known as “The Gaumont” and the “New Victoria” extends to 5,400 square metres and is set to deliver a circa 4,000 capacity multi-use live entertainment and events venue. The building is currently vacant having being active as a cinema until 2000.
Consent has previously been granted to create an opening to the rear of the building to facilitate construction access. This will allow the internal demolition work to remove the 1960’s additions to the building. This work is due imminently.
The main refurbishment (anticipated to start in the summer of 2019) will include substantial repairs and renovation of the existing building along with a small extension to provide additional catering and other facilities. The work will repair and restore the physical 'shell' of the building, install a new LED screen between the front towers and preserve original features, whilst installing modern, cost-effective and efficient lighting, cooling, ventilation and heating systems.
Wherever possible, original decoration will be stabilised and protected with the former restaurant and ballroom offering opportunities for a range of uses including weddings, banquets and conferences. The North tower entrance will be restored to its original octagonal shape by relocating the electrical substation from this area to the rear yard within a new service building.
With leading live events company NEC Group as the venue operator, the project will drive in the region of £10.4m economic impact per annum by providing jobs, training, volunteering opportunities and over 200 events annually.
The anticipated events programme is wide and varied containing music, comedy and family entertainment. It will also offer hosting for private functions, flexible conference and meeting spaces and corporate events.
Lee Craven of Bradford Live said, “We will restore the building to its former position as a cultural hub for the city, honouring and preserving the impressive architectural form of the building, whilst bringing the facilities into line with twenty-first century requirements”.
Phil Mead, NEC Group Chairman, Arenas and Ticket Factory, said; “It’s brilliant to see the project build momentum. This design proposal is sensitive to the building’s beautiful original features and carefully thought-out to ensure the whole site reaches its full potential. As well as staging amazing live entertainment that puts Bradford firmly back on the national live music touring circuit, we are determined that other parts of the building are equally cherished and equally well-used–whether that’s for weddings, banquets or conferences.”
The Leader of Bradford Council, Susan Hinchcliffe said “We are delighted to see this project moving forward and into the next phase of delivery.”
Bradford Live has received funding from West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region. The LEP also helped secure £4 million for the project from the Government's Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the LEP, said, “Bradford Odeon will be a transformational project, not just for this landmark building, but for the people and city of Bradford and the City Region. This venue, situated at the heart of the city, will become another iconic string to Leeds City Region’s outstanding cultural bow, adding to the already exceptional quality of life in our region.”