The Odeon, Bradford
Godwin Street, Bradfod, East, BD1
The former Bradford Odeon building, opened as The New Victoria and also formerly The Gaumont, is a 1930′s art-deco “supercinema” in Bradford City Centre. When built, it was the largest cinema outside of London and had over 3000 seats along with an ornate ballroom and a restaurant. Designed by local architect William Illingsworth, it is located in a conservation area and considered by the local community to be an iconic Bradfordian structure and an integral part of the skyline. The building was closed as a cinema in 2001 and since then a group comprising the entire cross section of the Bradford community has battled to save it from demolition. It was first bought by Yorkshire Forward who approved plans by a developer to demolish and build in it’s place a mixed use hotel/office building which drew widespread and sustained criticism. The battle to save the building has drawn support from both the community and well known public figures including David Hockney, Lord Richard Attenborough, George Clarke, Imelda Staunton, Michael Palin, Jonathan Foyle and many others. When the people of Bradford have been given chance to say what they want the building to be used for, there is overwhelming support to return it to use as a concert venue (in it’s heyday it attracted such acts as The Beatles and the Rolling Stones), with many saying that they wish this to be a venue for the whole community, dedicated to the memory of the late John Peel who had many links to and much fondness for the city. The development agreement that would have seen the building demolished has recently fallen through and current owners the HCA have indicated that they are now in a position to listen to other offers for the building. A group who have long campaigned for it’s restoration at the heart of the community are seeking to use the incoming Localism Act and a true community benefit structure to make this happen. This would be a flagship project to develop the jewel in the crown of Bradford’s community offering, set in the heart of the new £24million City Park and beside the listed Alhambra Theatre and National Media Museum. It would also be the gateway to the learning quarter and provide many chances for links to Bradford College and the University. Text courtesty of ‘The Place Station‘. For more information you can visit the Bradford Odeon Rescue Group (BORG) website.
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