Bradford Live plan to transform former Odeon given £4m

Image source, Tim Ronalds Architects
Image caption, Bradford Live is expected to open in autumn 2020

Plans to transform a derelict 1930s cinema into a live music venue in Bradford have been given £4m in government funding.

The Bradford Odeon - which was once one of the largest cinemas in Britain - is set to be rebuilt as the 4,000-capacity events venue Bradford Live.

Those behind the £20m project said it was now about 90% funded.

Bradford Live is one of three projects in the north of England which will benefit from a total of £15m.

Plans for a museum in Blackpool and to improve visitor attractions in the Lake District will also receive cash from the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.

'Cultural legacy'

The fund was set up to build a legacy from the Great Exhibition of the North, which takes place this summer in Newcastle-Gateshead.

Bradford Odeon was converted from one large cinema three smaller ones and a bingo hall in 1969, but has been derelict since 2000.

Image caption, Bradford Odeon has been derelict since 2000

At the end of 2014, Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council awarded not-for-profit group Bradford Live the right to re-develop the building.

It will be run by NEC Group International.

Eleven towns and cities from across the north of England bid for a share of the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund, part of the Northern Powerhouse plan.

As well as the three main projects, a new fund will be created for the cultural sector and creative industries in the North.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism Michael Ellis said the projects would create "a true cultural legacy".

"They reflect the diversity and unique identity of Blackpool, Bradford and the Lake District and will enable them to realise their exciting cultural ambitions," he said.

Chris Morrell, director of Blackpool Live, said: "We are within touching distance now, there are other irons in the fire and we are probably about 90% funded on the scheme now, the total cost will be about £20m.

"We know that it will bring over 200 events into Bradford city centre each year. We're very excited about all that activity it will bring to the city."

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