Friday, 21 September 2012

A brief comment on the former Bradford Odeon


As the echoing sounds of "I told you so" bounce off the buildings around City Park, thoughts turn to the future of the Odeon now that Langtree - the developer with a permission to knock it down to build flats and offices - has decided to scuttle away from Bradford with its tail firmly between its hind legs.

First a little correction of this statement from Dave Green, the Council leader:

...given the current financial situation and funding cuts to the Council, the authority had no money to buy the building from the HCA.

I'm not saying the Council should hand over cash to the HCA for the building but, unless its value has sky-rocketed overnight, Bradford Council does have the resources to make such a purchase. The Council has £180 million in reserves after all.

I have said before that the solution lies with a local initiative rather than some white knight galloping into town upon a great charger waving plans for...well I don't know what. However, the City needs a new central library, the West Yorkshire Pension Fund needs better offices and, even after restructure, the Council still has staff littered across the District. These opportunities - and perhaps others - should be put on the table rather than left in the vague 'the Council will do everything to assist'. There's perhaps a discussion to be has with the Science Museums who have the wonderful Media Museum next door?

Finally the structural reports on the building suggest that any development that preserves all or part of the building will only come about if there is public 'investment' (this is the Gordon Brown definition of 'investment' - esssentially subsidy). The Council and HCA need to be prepared to discuss this sort of intervention. The rescuing of Manningham Mills required English Heritage funding and there was a significant grant element in the spending from other bodies including the Council. We should be prepared now to adopt the same approach to the Odeon.



Anonymous said...

Every time I go to the Alhambra, I look at the building and think it is a wonderful architectural example for Bradford, though am saddened by its declining state, as well as the permitted vandalism already done. You only have to look across the road at the police HQ (or has it been outsourced to G4S?)to see what dire edifice "developers" have in mind.

Radical Rodent

Single Acts of Tyranny said...

Yep, corecively extract money from people to do something you want.

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