Bradford Council’s progress report on the Odeon

Below is the full progress report from the Council, which outlines what was decided in the public meeting in October last year, and what has happened since, including timescales for the future.

Report of the Director of Regeneration and Culture to the meeting of the Regeneration and Economy Overview & Scrutiny Committee to be held on 31 January 2013

Subject: Former Odeon building: Progress report Summary statement:

This report summarises progress with the development of the former Odeon building since the scrutiny hearing of the Committee in October 2012 and outlines key milestones.

Barra Mac Ruairi Strategic Director of Regeneration & Culture Report Contact: Andy Taylor, Economic Development Delivery Manager Phone: (01274) 434095 E-mail:


Leader of the Council1. Summary

1.1 This report summarises progress with the development of the former Odeon building since the scrutiny hearing of the Committee in October 2012 and outlines key milestones.

2. Background

2.1 At its meeting on 25 October 2012 the Committee held a scrutiny hearing into the development of the former Odeon building and resolved:

(1) That the Strategic Director, Regeneration and Culture be requested to develop and implement a timescale identifying key milestones and report back to the Committee with details of progress in January 2013.

(2) That the Strategic Director, Regeneration and Culture engage with key Stakeholders and representative public interest groups in developing preferred options for the re-development of the Odeon building.

(3) That the Committee expresses its concerns regarding the potential financial implications of continuing to maintain the Odeon building until it is re-developed and would ask that this concern be given due consideration when decisions are made with regard to the future ownership of the former Odeon.

(4) That the Committee thanks Regeneration Officers and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) for their reports / presentations and welcomes the financial investment made by the HCA in maintaining the safety of the Odeon building.

3. Report issues 3.1 Since the meeting in October 2012 the following progress has been made.

3.2 Members will recall that the Homes and Community Agency has offered to transfer the ownership of the site to the Council for £1 together with funding of £100,000 to cover the holding costs for the buildings for 2 years. In response the Council is undertaking due diligence work and appointed consultants White Young Green Engineering Ltd in December 2012 to carry out a number of investigations and surveys on the building. WYG will carry out a structural survey of the building, survey the Bradford Beck culvert which runs across the site as well as carrying out ground investigation works on the land to the rear of the building. White Young Green will report back to the Council with their findings at the end of January/early February which the Council will then review and consider before making a decision on the HCA’s offer to transfer ownership of the building to the Council.

3.3 The due diligence work will also inform on-going discussions with the HCA regarding funding as part of a joint Investment Strategy for the City Centre. These discussions concern not only the former Odeon building but are part of the a wider discussion about the transfer of other HCA owned assets in Bradford, that is, the Tyrls former Police Station and the Furniture City site.

3.4 Since the meeting in October 2012, officers have met with representatives of both the Bradford Odeon Rescue Group (BORG) and Save the Odeon. Both groups were consulted on the scope of the due diligence work and the Council will make available the outcome of this work to all groups interested in developing a proposal for the future development of the building. Council officers have also dealt with a small number of other enquiries about the building.

3.5 This period has also seen the launch of 2 proposals for the future use of the former Odeon.

    • 3.6 On 13 November 2012, Save the Odeon launched Bradford One a community based initiative to create a multi-purpose cultural venue and home for creative entrepreneurs. The proposal includes a modern, well equipped auditorium for mid- scale touring live acts and events surrounded by managed workspace, learning facilities and co-working spaces to encourage collaboration and innovation. Further details can be found on the website


    • 3.7 A local businessman, Lee Craven, who has been working with BORG and a number of specialist consultants, launched the Bradford Live proposal on12 December 2012. This aims to create a 3,500 capacity music venue hosting 150 to 200 events a year. This is a commercial venture and developing a financial model which is viable and sustainable is a key component of the proposal. Further details can be found on


3.8 It should also be noted that, for heath and safety reasons, the Homes and Communities Agency have removed the monoflex plastic sheeting which covered the scaffolding on the building. High winds over the Christmas period had blown a number of the sheets loose and there was a danger of it falling onto the highway and pavement. The HCA have submitted a planning application to erect an advertising wrap on the building which will be considered by the Planning Panel in February, therefore, it was felt it was not a good use of public monies to replace the sheeting until a decision on this application is known.

3.9 Assuming that the transfer of the former Odeon building to Council ownership is agreed, a process has been drafted that would initially give all groups the chance of expressing an interest in the building. This would then lead through to a long and shortlisting process to agreement on a commercially viable development. The aim is to ensure that the initial stage of the process is not too onerous or costly to preclude any organisation from submitting a proposal but that, through the long and shortlisting process, proposals will be critically analysed to ensure that the agreed project is viable and deliverable.

3.10 As requested at the October meeting a table of indicative milestones is outlined below. Again this assumes the Council agrees to the transfer of ownership from the HCA and is subject to consultation with interested parties and stakeholders. Depending on the number and quality of proposals this timetable may be able to be reduced or curtailed during the process.

Indicative Milestones

Scoping of due diligence work

November 12

Appointment of due diligence consultants

December 12

Completion of due diligence

January 13

Review of reports

February 13

Decision on transfer of asset

March 13

Launch of expression of interest

April 13

Submission of expressions of interest

May 13

Longlist agreed

June 13

Submission of longlisted proposals

August 13

Shortlist agreed

September 13

Submission of shortlisted proposals

November 13

Final decision on viable proposal/next steps agreed

January 14

4. Options

4.1 The Council has the option of deciding whether to agree to the transfer of the ownership of the former Odeon building or not. The due diligence work currently underway will assist the Council in understanding the scale of the financial liability which may result from taking ownership and, together with current discussions with the HCA on funding, will inform this decision. If the Council do not agree to the transfer of ownership the HCA have stated that they will put the property on the open market.

5. Contribution to Strategic Priorities

5.1 The regeneration of the City Centre is a strategic priority of the Council. As this report has highlighted the Odeon site is a key location within the City Centre Growth Zone and the delivery of successful and viable scheme will contribute to the objectives of the Growth Zone.

6. Recommendations

6.1 Members are recommended to note progress since the scrutiny hearing in October 2012.

7. Background documents None

8. Not for publication documents None

9. Appendices



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