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Rival Bradford Odeon plans revealed

Tim Ronalds Architects has unveiled alternative plans to revive Bradford’s abandoned 1930s Odeon cinema

The £19 million scheme to convert the derelict venue into a 3,500 music venue is the second speculative proposal to come forward for the site after controversial plans drawn up by CareyJones, which would have seen the landmark demolished, were scrapped in September (AJ 21.09.2012).

Community group Bradford One - an early frontrunner to take over the semi-derelict plot - has already laid its cards on the table with plans by locally based practice Halliday Clark to convert the city centre cinema into a performing arts institute (read more here).

Tim Ronald’s new concept for the unlisted, William Illingworth-designed building has the backing of Lee Craven, a Bradford textile manufacturer, who wants to find a ‘viable future’ for the cinema which has been empty since closing in 2000.

Practice found Tim Ronalds told the AJ: ‘Craven is in discussion with several commercial venue operators. The capital funding will rely on a combination of private and public sources: ‘prudential’ borrowing against operating revenue, and government and European grants. It does not rely on any funding from Bradford City Council.

Projects now need to be lean, commercial and self-sufficient

‘The days of projects reliant on revenue grant funding are past. Projects now need to be lean, commercial and self-sufficient.’ 

He added: ‘Our scheme keeps the building as it is - it does not propose total restoration or to convert the building into something else. Its form, with its fan shape and sloping floor is very well suited to a modern music venue.

‘Craven is is a serious player. Behind his quiet manner he is very purposeful and he has good judgement. We think he will make it happen.’

Recent history of the Bradford Odeon

Summer 2006
CareyJones beats Studio Egret West and Dyer in the developer-led contest to overhaul the former cinema n the heart of Will Alsop’s ambitious city-centre masterplan. A start date of spring 2007 is pencilled in.

September 2009
Bradford councillors narrowly vote in favour of CareyJones’ £35 million New Victoria Place project – the Leeds-based practice’s fourth design for the cinema site – which would have housed offices, a 100-bed hotel, bars, cafés and community leisure space around a central square. The approved scheme is a third smaller than previous proposals.

April 2012
Newly elected Respect MP George Galloway appeals to architects and structural engineers to help retain 1930s landmark due to be replaced by Carey Jones scheme. The MP for Bradford West, demands the much-delayed plans to knock down the much-loved Odeon building are abandoned.

September 2012
David Green, leader of Bradford Council, tells the BBC there is ‘a blank sheet of paper’ for new plans following the decision by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the building’s owner, to tear up the development agreement with developers Langtree Artisan. The HCA has since offered to sell the building to the city council for £1.

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