THE OPENING of a new 4,000-capacity venue in Bradford city centre has taken a significant step forward after councillors gave the project the green light.
A decision to grant planning permission to developers for the refurbishment of the city’s former Odeon cinema was unanimously approved by Bradford Metropolitan District Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee, after plans were submitted.
The venue’s developer Bradford Live is a not-for-profit distribution social enterprise led by local business people. Its members have been working on bringing the project to fruition since 2012.
The venue will be operated by the NEC Group, which has made a 30-year commitment to the project. Birmingham-based NEC runs the city’s Resorts World Arena (cap. 15,865) and Arena Birmingham (15,892).
“We are delighted that we can now start the work to give Bradford back a fantastic entertainment venue,” says Lee Craven, founding director of Bradford Live.
“Together [with NEC] we will create a world-class live event space overlooking City Park for the first time in many years.”
According to NEC chairman of arenas Phil Mead, the new venue, which is due to open in the autumn of 2020, will put the city “back on the map for live entertainment and music”.
The refurbishment of the building, which has been derelict since 2000, secured £4 million from the Government’s Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund last year and has also received £400,000 from Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.