Council turns down plea by Odeon group to extend deadline

The Odeon building in Bradford

The Odeon building in Bradford

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

Bradford Council still plans to make a decision on the future of the former Odeon building by November, even though one group hoping to turn it into a music venue says it will “struggle” to meet that deadline.

Bradford One – one of two groups shortlisted to transform the building, had said an extension to the Council’s deadline would give both groups more time to look at funding sources.

But at a meeting of the Council’s Regeneration and Economy scrutiny committee tonight Council leader Dave Green said extending the deadline would reflect badly on the Council.

Last month Bradford One and Bradford Live, both of which hope to turn the building into a performance venue, got through to the next stage of the process. They now have until the end of May to produce a business plan to show their scheme would be financially viable.

Gideon Seymour, representing Bradford One, attended the committee meeting and told members it would be difficult for them to meet that timetable. He said the group, made up of around 450 members, needed to apply for funding from outside sources, and this could take several months.

He said: “It would be challenging to meet what was required of us by May 31. Giving that deadline is going to place us at a disadvantage. Extending the deadline would give us a fair crack of the whip.”

Pushing the decision back several months would give the groups a better chance to build a strong business case.

But Coun Green said: “We took this timetable to the Council’s executive earlier this year and no-one raised objections then. We have gone out and told people this is the timetable. If we move this timetable in a way that could be perceived as benefiting one group over another, then how would that be perceived by the public? I could see a lot of political difficulties if we keep moving the timetable.”

After the meeting Mr Seymour said Bradford One would “do their best” to stick to the current timetable.

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