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Owners of former cinema and Tyrls police station to consider Council offer next month
A decision on whether Bradford Council’s offer to take over the former Odeon and the old Tyrls police station for a total of £2 has been delayed, the Telegraph & Argus can reveal today.
The T&A exclusively reported last week that the Council had offered the peppercorn price for the prime city centre sites, if the owner, the Homes and Communities Agency, agreed to contribute a total of £4.1 million to tackle essential health and safety or maintenance issues.
Last year the HCA had offered to sell the former Odeon to the Council for £1 plus £100,000 of maintenance cash when multi-million plans plans by a private company to redevelop the site fell through, setting a deadline of March 31 for the deal to take place.
The HCA had been due to consider the Council’s revised offer this Thursday, but it has now postponed the decision until April 12 because of the “detailed financial analysis” that has to be done before the proposal goes before its investment committee.
Explaining the delay the HCA said last night that as a “public body accountable to Parliament it has very strict governance structures, which are overseen by its steering board”.
It added: “Following their own due diligence, Bradford Council recently asked us to transfer both the former Odeon and police station buildings into their ownership with £4.1m in additional funding.
“The increased scale of the Council’s request – both the addition of another building and the significant increase in the funding the HCA would have to find the budget for – means a significant amount of work needs to be done to inform our investment committee so the request will be now considered in April, not March.
“Once our Board has reached its decision, we will inform the Council and the Bradford public.”
If members of the Council's Executive back the latest proposal drawn up by the strategic director of regeneration and culture, Barra Mac Ruairi, when they meet today, potential buyers will be invited to register their interests in the site later this year.
A structural survey commissioned by the Council has now concluded that the overall condition of the Odeon building, which has stood empty since 2000, is "reasonable and sound" though the survey does highlight areas of concern including the roof structures of the domes and the building’s external facade which need major repairs.
But the Council report also warns that if development on the Odeon building does not start by July 2014, alternative propositions for the site will have to be looked at, including demolition.
Following the latest HCA development, Bradford Council leader, Councillor David Green, said that as long as the HCA came up with the right decision it did not cause him any concern.
“I am more concerned about the final decision they make rather than when they make it.”