Galloway vows to save Bradford Odeon
Newly elected Respect MP appeals to architects and structural engineers to help retain 1930s landmark due to be replaced by Carey Jones scheme
George Galloway, the new MP for Bradford West, has demanded that controversial plans to knock down the city’s much-loved Odeon cinema be abandoned.
The now–rotting 1930s landmark is due to be flattened to make way for a £35 million commercial scheme by Carey Jones – a contentious development that finally secured planning in 2009, three years after the firm won the design contest to overhaul the city-centre plot (AJ 15.08.2006).
However, the project has since stalled, and it has emerged a section 106 agreement between developer Langtree and the now-demised Yorkshire Forward was never signed.
Galloway pledged as part of his election campaign to try to save and restore the ‘iconic’ cinema and called its current boarded-up state a ‘disgrace’.
Speaking to the AJ after his Respect party win, Galloway said: ‘I’m keen to find any solution that will save whatever can still be saved of the Odeon. I’d very much appreciate [the] assistance of architects, lawyers and structural engineers to unpick this mess and start putting things right.’
Gordon Carey of Careyjones Chapmantolcher, whose offices in Manchester and Leeds were placed into administration last month, remained sceptical about Galloway’s pledges. He told the AJ: ‘I have the very definite feeling that many things were promised to many people – this being just another one.
‘Langtree is still in discussion with Council with regard to moving the project forward.’
Over the years, a number of practices have drawn up alternative plans for the site overlooking Bradford’s new City Park, which would retain at least part of the building’s fabric, among them Leeds-based SDA Architecture and, more recently, Bradford’s Halliday Clark.
The Odeon can undoubtedly be saved but at a cost
Halliday Clark’s co-founder Adam Clark said: ‘The Odeon can undoubtedly be saved but at a cost. We have been asked to look at the viability of retaining all or part of the building for a variety of commercial and civic uses.We have always believed that the building is important to a great deal of people in Bradford.
He added: ‘However to create the scheme we believe the building and the city deserves, our team estimated that an overhaul would potentially cost in the region of £16.3 million.’