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Bradford Council leader's call over £1 Odeon sale offer
7:00am Thursday 1st November 2012 in News
Council leader David Green believes the Homes and Communities Agency should offer a “realistic dowry” to enable the local authority to consider taking up its offer to buy the defunct Odeon cinema for £1.
That would allow the 1930s city centre building, which has been empty for a decade, to be maintained while its future use is determined.
Councillor David Green has been joined by city centre MP George Galloway in urging the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to provide sufficient cash as part of the deal, not just the £100,000 it promised.
It emerged during a special Council meeting last week that the HCA, which inherited the building from Yorkshire Forward just over a year ago, had made a formal offer to the Council.
At the time Councillor Green admitted he was not against the idea in principle, but that the authority would need to complete its own structural survey to work out any potential liabilities before it could make up its mind.
Mr Galloway (Respect, Bradford West), who wants the Council to “pay the pound” to buy the Odeon, has written to the HCA calling for it to commit more rehabilitation cash to preserving the iconic building.
Writing to Robert Napier, chairman of the HCA, he states: “In the wake of the collapse of the deal with Langtree, I note that the HCA has now given Bradford Council a choice over the Bradford Odeon. Either they pay £1 to take ownership of the building, with the HCA providing just £100,000 towards transitional maintenance costs, or the HCA will put the building back on the open market.
“I therefore urge you to revisit the transitional financial arrangements which are offered to the Council.
“Given Yorkshire Forward’s and now the HCA’s responsibility for the situation we now find ourselves in, £100,000 seems chickenfeed compared to what is needed to make up for the years of mismanagement and neglect and to help ensure the Council is in a position to take over this building and give it new life.” In urging Mr Galloway to use his position to lobby the HCA for more funding, Coun Green told him: “In this particular case if they are willing to pass on ownership they should also offer a realistic dowry to ensure that the building can be maintained while the final use is decided.”
The HCA terminated a long-standing legal agreement in September with developer Langtree, which had wanted to demolish the building and build a £40 million New Victoria Place development of offices, a hotel and apartments.