Can Bradford’s disused Odeon become a 3,500-seat entertainment venue?

The interior of Bradford's Odeon as it looks now
The interior of Bradford's Odeon as it looks now
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A BUSINESSMAN is spearheading an ambitious plan to turn Bradford’s disused Odeon building into a 3,500-seat entertainment venue.

Textile company boss Lee Craven has been working for two years, using his own money, to find a viable use for the run-down building.

A team of experts, including architects and structural engineers, have been recruited to take the project forward.

They include Peter Angier, an expert in the planning and design of theatre auditoriums and Nick Russell, a “live venue” planning and funding specialist who worked on the Leeds Arena project.

The architect behind the Hackney Empire restoration, Tim Ronalds, is also part of the project, called Bradford Live.

A spokesman for the scheme called it a “bold, highly professional plan to save Bradford’s iconic Odeon” which, he said, “could be the best and final chance of save a building which is cherished by many Bradford people”.

The spokesman added: “Bradford Live will explain how a world class live music venue, holding over 3,500 people, will be created in the heart of Bradford.”

Mr Craven, of lining fabrics business Jessgrove, told the Yorkshire Post he very confident the structure of the building was sufficiently safe to allow the building to be revamped.

“Nothing that we have been shown suggests that the building in is not able to be salvaged. We are confident that the core of the building will be sufficiently robust for us to work with.”

He added that he anticipated it would be funded along a similar model to that of the soon-to-be-opened Leeds Arena or the recently refurbished Barbican in Leeds.

A launch event will take place in Bradford on Wednesday when more details will be revealed.

Council leaders and groups fighting to save the building, which is owned by a Government agency, have also been invited to the launch.