Bradford Beck should be opened up to the air as it flows through the Odeon site, according to the chairman of a waterways group.

Barney Lerner, the chairman of Friends of Bradford’s Becks, and a trustee of the Aire Rivers Trust, says there is a “once-in-a-hundred years opportunity” to bring Bradford Beck out of its culvert and back up to the surface as part of any redevelopment of the Odeon building.

The Council is planning urgent repair works to the Victorian culvert which takes the beck through the site, but Mr Lerner’s proposal is far more radical and would see the beck opened up so people could enjoy the flowing water in the heart of the city.

He has now written an open letter to the Bradford One group setting out his proposal, and will also be contacting the Bradford Live team.

He said: “Development of the site offers a once-in-a-hundred years opportunity to daylight part of the beck and it would be a mistake not to take it. Burying rivers in culverts is not a good idea.

“The culverts decay and become dangerous – this one is in very bad condition and needs to be rebuilt. They can block and cause flooding.”

Gideon Seymour, chairman of Bradford One, said he had an open mind about the idea and he had invited Mr Lerner to speak at its meeting tonight.

He said: “We would have to see if it was feasible and affordable. If there was a significant increase in development costs, we would have to form a view on that. But we are just not at that stage yet.”

Lee Craven, of Bradford Live, said: “I would certainly be interested to see his plans.”