7 Mar 2019
The decision to grant planning permission for the refurbishment of Bradford’s former Odeon cinema, to create a new 4000 capacity world class live entertainment and events venue, was unanimously approved by Bradford Metropolitan District Council’s Development Committee after plans were submitted this week.
The application has been granted to developers Bradford Live, the not-for-profit distribution social enterprise, led by local business people, which has been working tirelessly to secure a long term viable use for the iconic historic building in Bradford city centre.
Consent has previously been granted to facilitate demolition work which is currently underway, to remove the 1960’s additions to the building. This initial work has uncovered original decoration from the building’s birth in the 1930s, which, where possible, will be stabilised and protected. Architects, Aedas Arts Team, will now oversee the transformation to bring life back to the site which has been vacant for almost 20 years. New additions to the site will include a LED screen between the front towers and a small extension to the rear of the building to facilitate professional catering facilities for events from intimate corporate conferences to large scale Asian weddings.
“We are delighted that we can now start the work to give Bradford back a fantastic entertainment venue. It is a tremendous asset to have on board the expertise of the NEC Group on board. Together we will create a world class live event space overlooking City Park for the first time in many years. We thank the council for their unwavering support in getting us to this stage and all our financial backers, including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Local Enterprise Partnership and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. We’re planning to open our doors in the Autumn of 2020 and are now looking forward to the excitement of opening night and beyond.”
the founding Director of Bradford Live
Birmingham based, NEC Group, will bring their live event expertise to Bradford as the venue operator. The Group has made a 30 year commitment to bring music, comedy, family entertainment and many other live events to the region, with plans for over 200 events annually.
“We see so much potential in Bradford Live and are excited that the project takes a step closer to becoming a reality following today’s positive announcement. We aim to put Bradford back on the map for live entertainment and music, as well as provide a space for communities and businesses to come together to learn, brainstorm, plan or just celebrate! This site has seen some significant artists pass through its doors in the past and we’re in the business of making that happen once more.”
Phil MeadNEC Group Chairman, Arenas and Ticket Factory
The Leader of Bradford Council, Susan Hinchcliffe said, “We are delighted to approve the planning application today and give our support to help this project moving forward to bring new experiences, jobs and opportunities to our region.”
The project received a £357,500 investment from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. The grant was part of the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion plus package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
The LEP also secured £4 million for the project last year from the Government’s Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region LEP, said: “The restoration of the former Odeon cinema will be transformational, not just for this landmark building, but for the people and city of Bradford, and the wider City Region.
“This venue, situated at the heart of the city, will become another iconic string to our City Region’s outstanding cultural bow and the positive economic benefits it promises will be welcomed by everyone.”