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Bradford’s £5m Odeon restoration moves a step closer

Photo Credit – David Oxtaby

The restoration of Bradford’s former Odeon Cinema has reached a new milestone, after contractors removed the steel and concrete partitions that divided the building, which has revealed the full structure of the original auditorium.

Designed by the architect William Illingworth, the Renaissance Revival building was completed in 1930 as the New Victoria Cinema and was one of the largest cinemas outside London with 3,318 seats, a restaurant and a ballroom.

A main contractor will soon be appointed to lead on the internal and external works that will transform our building into a 4000-capacity multi-purpose live events venue.

It’s been funded by £4m from the government’s Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund, a £959,500 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and £357,500 from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership’s growth deal.

The venue will be run by the NEC Group who are based in Birmingham, and have made a 30-year commitment with plans for over 200 events a year. They say they will be offering a strong calendar of world-class music, comedy and family entertainment, with multi-purpose conference and meeting spaces too.

Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: ‘It’s really exciting to see this project progressing so well. It will be an amazing venue when restored and a great complement to the existing entertainment venues in the district, bringing jobs and opportunities in the region.’

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council said: ‘It’s fantastic to see how Growth Deal funding is helping to transform this much-loved art deco landmark into an exciting venue that will attract thousands of people into the city centre and create new jobs when it opens.

‘The regenerated venue will be a valuable addition to the vibrant cultural offer of the Leeds City Region and support the ongoing economic transformation of Bradford.’

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