A decision over whether Bradford Council buys the former city centre Odeon building for £1 will be made by the authority’s Labour-run executive, it has been confirmed.
There had been speculation that the strategic director of regeneration, Barra Mac Ruairi and Councillor David Green, leader of the Council, could be granted the authority to decide the future of the run-down 1930s building, which has been empty since 2000.
But last week, members of the regeneration and economy overview and scrutiny committee recommended that “due to the risks associated with the site and the high political profile the final decision in relation to the transfer of the asset should be made by the Council’s executive.
As a result the opposition leader, Councillor Glen Miller, leader of the Conservative group, called for clarification on the issue, stating that as many councillors as possible should be involved in taking the decision – such as at a meeting of full Council, where all 90 members would be able to have their say.
Coun Miller said: “I welcome the fact that Councillor Green has recognised that a decision regarding such an important local landmark as the Odeon should not be delegated to one councillor and one officer.
“Therefore, to an extent I welcome confirmation that the executive committee will take the decision, though in light of the fact that the executive is made up entirely of Labour councillors, who do not make up a majority of the Council, I do think that it would be even better were the whole Council to be allowed to vote on the Odeon’s fate. This would ensure transparency”.
Coun Green added: “I think it’s only right and proper that a decision on something with this amount of public interest, is made in an open and democratic way, as we’ve said since the offer to buy the Odeon was first made.”
The opportunity to save the building comes after the Homes and Communities Agency, which owns it, 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.
The Council is considering an offer from the HCA to take the building on for £1 plus £100,000 of maintenance cash.