ONE of the most anticipated developments in Bradford’s recent history has today been granted planning permission.
Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee unanimously gave the go ahead to convert the former Odeon building – which has been empty for almost 20 years, into a 3,800-capacity live music venue.
And at the same meeting members approved new signage on the building – including a large digital sign on the Princes Way frontage.
The applications were submitted by Bradford Live – a group that hopes to have the new venue open late next year. It will be operated by the NEC group.
The committee were told that the building was not listed but was a key building in a conservation area.
But the building was described as currently being “scruffy” and “not giving a good perception of the city centre.”
First look at Bradford Live’s plans for inside former Odeon
When it came to comments from the committee, Councillor Simon Cooke (Cons, Bingley Rural) said: “I think we should just get on with it. It has gone on long enough, and I’ve got a lot of scars from this.”
He was referring to his time in the Council’s leadership – a period where the authority had planned to demolish the building and re-develop the site.
The application says the digital signage would be used to advertise the venue’s events, as well as screening sporting events.
Councillor Alun Griffiths (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley), expressed some concern that screening events could lead to overcrowding in the area, which included a main road.”
Lee Craven from Bradford Live said: “We won’t be screening live events except for exceptional circumstances such as the Commonwealth Games, but screenings won’t be part of our regular programme. It will mainly be showing adverts or clips of events in the venue.”
The applications for both the live venue and the screen were then unanimously approved.
Chair David Warburton (Lab, Wyke) told Mr Craven: “We’re looking forward to you getting on with it, and look forward to the opening date.”
Although the planning application has just been approved, work to strip parts of the building out have been ongoing for several weeks.