Authority in talks to buy engineering base as location for new leisure complex

Britannia Mills, where the Council wants to build a super-pool; Santander can be seen in the background

the site with Trafalgar House visible to the right

The leisure centre would replace the Richard Dunn Sports Centre at Odsal

Councillor Andrew Thornton

First published in News
Last updated
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , City Hall Reporter

A site may have been found for a new city centre super-pool, after the Council ruled out building one in the former Odeon.

The Telegraph & Argus can exclusively reveal that Bradford Council is in talks to open the major leisure facility, a replacement for the Richard Dunn Sports Centre, on a site currently occupied by an engineering company.

The Council has approached precision machining firm Wetherby Engineering with an offer to buy its base at Britannia Mills, Portland Street, Bradford – near Trafalgar House police station.

But the firm is still considering the offer and has not yet agreed to the sale.

Wetherby Engineering manager Charles Wyatt said: “At the moment the Council have approached us, but no decision has been made.”

He said the firm was considering the possibility of relocating elsewhere.

He said: “We have looked at it but, as I say, no decision has been made. There is no definite proposal as yet.”

Mr Wyatt declined to say how much the Council had offered for the site, but said their approach was made recently.

The plan for a new city centre pool forms part of a wider shake-up of leisure facilities across the district.

The centre would have a 25-metre, eight-lane main pool, a learner pool and a diving pool, with associated games and studio space.

It would replace the ailing Richard Dunn Sports Centre at Odsal, which Bradford Council’s executive member for sport, Councillor Andrew Thornton, has described as a “black hole” in the authority’s finances.

But the Richard Dunn centre would not close until the new pool had opened.

The shake-up also includes proposals to close or pull out of community pools at Bingley, Bowling and Queensbury, and open three new ones in different areas.

Coun Thornton declined to comment on the Council’s offer to Wetherby Engineering, citing commercial confidentiality. But he said the authority hoped to take the full plan to a public consultation this summer, by which time they would have to have identified where any new pools would go.

He said: “We want to conduct a full public consultation about the proposals when we are in a situation when we have definite sites we can consult on.”

e-mail: claire.armstrong@telegraphandargus.co.uk

Comments (21)

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6:34am Fri 21 Mar 14

spearmint wino says...

If we are going to build a new swimming pool and leisure centre then let's do it right. What we should build is a 50m competition pool and a leisure pool, anyone ever been to Ponds Forge in Sheffield, that's what we should have.
If we are going to build a new swimming pool and leisure centre then let's do it right. What we should build is a 50m competition pool and a leisure pool, anyone ever been to Ponds Forge in Sheffield, that's what we should have. spearmint wino
  • Score: 43

6:59am Fri 21 Mar 14

johnh1 says...

If this comes to fruition could someone please make sure the changing rooms are heated, no draught every time a door opens and decent locker.
Otherwise don't bother cause I for one wont be going.
If this comes to fruition could someone please make sure the changing rooms are heated, no draught every time a door opens and decent locker. Otherwise don't bother cause I for one wont be going. johnh1
  • Score: 20

7:02am Fri 21 Mar 14

Albion. says...

Agreed, Why go to all this trouble to fall short?
Agreed, Why go to all this trouble to fall short? Albion.
  • Score: 19

7:19am Fri 21 Mar 14

Joedavid says...

Why do they want to buy land particularly with a business already on it?
Suely the Council already have land they could use.
Why do they want to buy land particularly with a business already on it? Suely the Council already have land they could use. Joedavid
  • Score: 27

7:20am Fri 21 Mar 14

bullsone03 says...

I think that Richard Dunn and odsil stadium sould be developed and made into a sporting Village
I think that Richard Dunn and odsil stadium sould be developed and made into a sporting Village bullsone03
  • Score: 16

7:24am Fri 21 Mar 14

Albion. says...

Joedavid wrote:
Why do they want to buy land particularly with a business already on it?
Suely the Council already have land they could use.
There are plenty of brownfield sites, as we keep reading.
[quote][p][bold]Joedavid[/bold] wrote: Why do they want to buy land particularly with a business already on it? Suely the Council already have land they could use.[/p][/quote]There are plenty of brownfield sites, as we keep reading. Albion.
  • Score: 23

7:28am Fri 21 Mar 14

Liveinthesun says...

Plenty of room on site at richard dunns to build a new pool before knocking the existing one down,I for one will never go to a pool in Bradford town centre with all the scum that live there now.
Plenty of room on site at richard dunns to build a new pool before knocking the existing one down,I for one will never go to a pool in Bradford town centre with all the scum that live there now. Liveinthesun
  • Score: 18

7:32am Fri 21 Mar 14

david morley says...

Agree about the 50 metre Pool, though Leeds and Sheffield have one and we would never get a look in especially if it was in our Town Centre,!! So they want to shut 3 Pools that are currently used and build 3 new ones in different areas where they have no idea if they will be used WHY ? What will happen to Bingley Swimming Club and all the rest of the people who use Bingley Pool /Gym and other facilities ?? Will the old ones end up like Thornton or will they end up like Manningham ? a Ladies ONLY Gym. Our Councillors must be the only ones in Bradford that have NO idea about Sport,of any sort..
Agree about the 50 metre Pool, though Leeds and Sheffield have one and we would never get a look in especially if it was in our Town Centre,!! So they want to shut 3 Pools that are currently used and build 3 new ones in different areas where they have no idea if they will be used WHY ? What will happen to Bingley Swimming Club and all the rest of the people who use Bingley Pool /Gym and other facilities ?? Will the old ones end up like Thornton or will they end up like Manningham ? a Ladies ONLY Gym. Our Councillors must be the only ones in Bradford that have NO idea about Sport,of any sort.. david morley
  • Score: 18

8:05am Fri 21 Mar 14

MrQuinque says...

Bradford does not need another 25 metre pool, the council has an opportunity with a new city centre pool to attract people to Bradford from all over the region, and a 25m pool is not going to do that. The only thing Bradford council should even consider building is a full Olympic sized pool, with a competition standard diving pool and a recreational aquatics centre as good as any in the country. Cities like Plymouth, Nottingham and Bristol have realised the need for large pools, and with the recreational pool and the other expected leisure centre facilities such a venue could see use by everyone from school children to university students to pensioners.

As for the site, the only sensible choice is the former Royal Mail site adjacent to Forster Square Station, it is more than large enough, and the proximity to the station would mean that even those unfamiliar with Bradford would not worry about finding it. It would also place any visitors to the venue in the heart of Bradford's retail area, hopefully leading to increased retail footfall. It could also be the trigger to redevelopment of Forster Square station itself, which is long overdue.

And where is the Head of the Conservative opposition? Shouldn't councillor Miller have an opinion on this, there is an election in 2 months.
Bradford does not need another 25 metre pool, the council has an opportunity with a new city centre pool to attract people to Bradford from all over the region, and a 25m pool is not going to do that. The only thing Bradford council should even consider building is a full Olympic sized pool, with a competition standard diving pool and a recreational aquatics centre as good as any in the country. Cities like Plymouth, Nottingham and Bristol have realised the need for large pools, and with the recreational pool and the other expected leisure centre facilities such a venue could see use by everyone from school children to university students to pensioners. As for the site, the only sensible choice is the former Royal Mail site adjacent to Forster Square Station, it is more than large enough, and the proximity to the station would mean that even those unfamiliar with Bradford would not worry about finding it. It would also place any visitors to the venue in the heart of Bradford's retail area, hopefully leading to increased retail footfall. It could also be the trigger to redevelopment of Forster Square station itself, which is long overdue. And where is the Head of the Conservative opposition? Shouldn't councillor Miller have an opinion on this, there is an election in 2 months. MrQuinque
  • Score: 36

8:56am Fri 21 Mar 14

angry bradfordian says...

How many abandoned, decrepit or fire damaged mills are there in a mile radius of the city centre? With this in mind it seems absolutely bizarre that the best option is to buy an existing business.
It must cost a premium to buy the assets of an existing business and the council are running the risk of the company relocating to another district.

Perhaps Cllr Thornton could explain the rationale behind this idea, rather than hiding behind the cloak of "commercial confidentiality"
How many abandoned, decrepit or fire damaged mills are there in a mile radius of the city centre? With this in mind it seems absolutely bizarre that the best option is to buy an existing business. It must cost a premium to buy the assets of an existing business and the council are running the risk of the company relocating to another district. Perhaps Cllr Thornton could explain the rationale behind this idea, rather than hiding behind the cloak of "commercial confidentiality" angry bradfordian
  • Score: 22

10:06am Fri 21 Mar 14

Raj2121 says...

Why the hell does it have to be in the city center?
Bradford council dont have a clue
Why the hell does it have to be in the city center? Bradford council dont have a clue Raj2121
  • Score: 4

10:22am Fri 21 Mar 14

Ruthydee says...

Leeds moved their main pool OUT of the city centre making space for money making developments .... just saying
Leeds moved their main pool OUT of the city centre making space for money making developments .... just saying Ruthydee
  • Score: 6

11:02am Fri 21 Mar 14

DBObserver says...

Any new pool has to be competition suitable ie 10 lanes 50m and diving pool (the outside lanes are never used in competitive swimming (drag effects)), City centre anywhere city already owns so to be easily findable by visiting teams/competition swimmers, has to be built to a high standards (Leeds wasn't neither was Richard Dunn - thats why it is a financial liability)
Any new pool has to be competition suitable ie 10 lanes 50m and diving pool (the outside lanes are never used in competitive swimming (drag effects)), City centre anywhere city already owns so to be easily findable by visiting teams/competition swimmers, has to be built to a high standards (Leeds wasn't neither was Richard Dunn - thats why it is a financial liability) DBObserver
  • Score: 7

11:08am Fri 21 Mar 14

DBObserver says...

A competition pool would also be eligible for some lottery funding which a plain leisure pool would not.
A competition pool would also be eligible for some lottery funding which a plain leisure pool would not. DBObserver
  • Score: 8

12:08pm Fri 21 Mar 14

Andy2010 says...

i hope all them cars parked on the double yellows AND Kerb now has tickets issued
i hope all them cars parked on the double yellows AND Kerb now has tickets issued Andy2010
  • Score: 9

1:37pm Fri 21 Mar 14

bcfc1903 says...

Obviously this site is more suitable for a swimming baths than the Odeon site which was about as unsuitable as could be, given that buildings prime city centre site. Nelson Street seems the right location for a swimming pool, not a prime site but well positioned for folk using Bradford interchange......one change I would make to the plan, I'd go for a 50 metre pool.
Obviously this site is more suitable for a swimming baths than the Odeon site which was about as unsuitable as could be, given that buildings prime city centre site. Nelson Street seems the right location for a swimming pool, not a prime site but well positioned for folk using Bradford interchange......one change I would make to the plan, I'd go for a 50 metre pool. bcfc1903
  • Score: 3

2:22pm Fri 21 Mar 14

tinytoonster says...

MrQuinque wrote:
Bradford does not need another 25 metre pool, the council has an opportunity with a new city centre pool to attract people to Bradford from all over the region, and a 25m pool is not going to do that. The only thing Bradford council should even consider building is a full Olympic sized pool, with a competition standard diving pool and a recreational aquatics centre as good as any in the country. Cities like Plymouth, Nottingham and Bristol have realised the need for large pools, and with the recreational pool and the other expected leisure centre facilities such a venue could see use by everyone from school children to university students to pensioners.

As for the site, the only sensible choice is the former Royal Mail site adjacent to Forster Square Station, it is more than large enough, and the proximity to the station would mean that even those unfamiliar with Bradford would not worry about finding it. It would also place any visitors to the venue in the heart of Bradford's retail area, hopefully leading to increased retail footfall. It could also be the trigger to redevelopment of Forster Square station itself, which is long overdue.

And where is the Head of the Conservative opposition? Shouldn't councillor Miller have an opinion on this, there is an election in 2 months.
fantastic comment.
shame the powers that be will ignore every word.
run for council leader.
oh no you cant, you sound too intelligent!
[quote][p][bold]MrQuinque[/bold] wrote: Bradford does not need another 25 metre pool, the council has an opportunity with a new city centre pool to attract people to Bradford from all over the region, and a 25m pool is not going to do that. The only thing Bradford council should even consider building is a full Olympic sized pool, with a competition standard diving pool and a recreational aquatics centre as good as any in the country. Cities like Plymouth, Nottingham and Bristol have realised the need for large pools, and with the recreational pool and the other expected leisure centre facilities such a venue could see use by everyone from school children to university students to pensioners. As for the site, the only sensible choice is the former Royal Mail site adjacent to Forster Square Station, it is more than large enough, and the proximity to the station would mean that even those unfamiliar with Bradford would not worry about finding it. It would also place any visitors to the venue in the heart of Bradford's retail area, hopefully leading to increased retail footfall. It could also be the trigger to redevelopment of Forster Square station itself, which is long overdue. And where is the Head of the Conservative opposition? Shouldn't councillor Miller have an opinion on this, there is an election in 2 months.[/p][/quote]fantastic comment. shame the powers that be will ignore every word. run for council leader. oh no you cant, you sound too intelligent! tinytoonster
  • Score: 8

4:21pm Fri 21 Mar 14

oddshapedballs says...

Liveinthesun wrote:
Plenty of room on site at richard dunns to build a new pool before knocking the existing one down,I for one will never go to a pool in Bradford town centre with all the scum that live there now.
Completely agree have if them that go will only go for a wash!
[quote][p][bold]Liveinthesun[/bold] wrote: Plenty of room on site at richard dunns to build a new pool before knocking the existing one down,I for one will never go to a pool in Bradford town centre with all the scum that live there now.[/p][/quote]Completely agree have if them that go will only go for a wash! oddshapedballs
  • Score: 0

4:22pm Fri 21 Mar 14

MrQuinque says...

Ruthydee wrote:
Leeds moved their main pool OUT of the city centre making space for money making developments .... just saying
Leeds made a BIG mistake with their pool, in fact, they made 3. Firstly, moving the pool out of the city centre made it harder for casual access, secondly they didn't make the pool to international competition standard and thirdly they did not include any recreational aquatic componentin the design. These are 3 failings a Bradford City Centre leisure complex could take advantage of. The Royal mail site is large enough for olympic standard swimming and diving pools, a recreational aquatic centre as good as the current best in the UK (Places like WaterWorld in staffordshire or Sandcastle in blackpool, which attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year) and all the other leisure centre activities. Such a high quality venue would not only bring prestige to the city but also to the cities institutions, the University would certainly benefit from having such a well specced complexon their doorstep.


Bradford needs more superlatives, City of film, best park in Britain, Curry Capital, Largest water feature, these are a start, but an outstanding leisure centre could draw people into the heart of the city from across west yorkshire, and with Sheffield deciding to abandon it's lofty ideals as the "City of Sport" it is a mantle Bradford could do far worse than take up. With the TDF Grand Depart almost completely avoiding Bradford the council could grab at least a few of the headlines by annoucing that The Richard Dunns site would be redeveloped into a free to use Tarmac Velodrome (the only hard track velodrome in Yorkshire), and the largest outdoor skatepark in the world (it would need to be a little larger than a football pitch) . Hell if we are going to think outside the box, with Sheffield Ski Village in such a shambles it might even be an idea to find an area of hillside to donate on a peppercorn lease to a party willing to build something similar with a BD postcode and get Westfield/Meyer Bergman to Tier the rooftop parking on Broadway to create a permenent drive in cinema, a perfect addition to the City of film.


And yes, I'd love to run the council, I'd have the city running like a swiss watch in a single electoral cycle, but I would upset a lot of people doing it.
[quote][p][bold]Ruthydee[/bold] wrote: Leeds moved their main pool OUT of the city centre making space for money making developments .... just saying[/p][/quote]Leeds made a BIG mistake with their pool, in fact, they made 3. Firstly, moving the pool out of the city centre made it harder for casual access, secondly they didn't make the pool to international competition standard and thirdly they did not include any recreational aquatic componentin the design. These are 3 failings a Bradford City Centre leisure complex could take advantage of. The Royal mail site is large enough for olympic standard swimming and diving pools, a recreational aquatic centre as good as the current best in the UK (Places like WaterWorld in staffordshire or Sandcastle in blackpool, which attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year) and all the other leisure centre activities. Such a high quality venue would not only bring prestige to the city but also to the cities institutions, the University would certainly benefit from having such a well specced complexon their doorstep. Bradford needs more superlatives, City of film, best park in Britain, Curry Capital, Largest water feature, these are a start, but an outstanding leisure centre could draw people into the heart of the city from across west yorkshire, and with Sheffield deciding to abandon it's lofty ideals as the "City of Sport" it is a mantle Bradford could do far worse than take up. With the TDF Grand Depart almost completely avoiding Bradford the council could grab at least a few of the headlines by annoucing that The Richard Dunns site would be redeveloped into a free to use Tarmac Velodrome (the only hard track velodrome in Yorkshire), and the largest outdoor skatepark in the world (it would need to be a little larger than a football pitch) . Hell if we are going to think outside the box, with Sheffield Ski Village in such a shambles it might even be an idea to find an area of hillside to donate on a peppercorn lease to a party willing to build something similar with a BD postcode and get Westfield/Meyer Bergman to Tier the rooftop parking on Broadway to create a permenent drive in cinema, a perfect addition to the City of film. And yes, I'd love to run the council, I'd have the city running like a swiss watch in a single electoral cycle, but I would upset a lot of people doing it. MrQuinque
  • Score: 13

9:22pm Fri 21 Mar 14

linebacker2 says...

Ruthydee wrote:
Leeds moved their main pool OUT of the city centre making space for money making developments .... just saying
Not quite like that.

In the first place Leeds pool was part of of Poulson bribes case in the 60's. The site was closed and subject to vandalism for a number of years after being closed.
[quote][p][bold]Ruthydee[/bold] wrote: Leeds moved their main pool OUT of the city centre making space for money making developments .... just saying[/p][/quote]Not quite like that. In the first place Leeds pool was part of of Poulson bribes case in the 60's. The site was closed and subject to vandalism for a number of years after being closed. linebacker2
  • Score: 3

9:52pm Fri 21 Mar 14

MrQuinque says...

linebacker2 wrote:
Ruthydee wrote:
Leeds moved their main pool OUT of the city centre making space for money making developments .... just saying
Not quite like that.

In the first place Leeds pool was part of of Poulson bribes case in the 60's. The site was closed and subject to vandalism for a number of years after being closed.
Not to mention the fact that 6.5 years after closure and 5 years after demolition the site is still empty, though that may finally change if the Brotherton House Police Station redevelopment goes ahead.
[quote][p][bold]linebacker2[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ruthydee[/bold] wrote: Leeds moved their main pool OUT of the city centre making space for money making developments .... just saying[/p][/quote]Not quite like that. In the first place Leeds pool was part of of Poulson bribes case in the 60's. The site was closed and subject to vandalism for a number of years after being closed.[/p][/quote]Not to mention the fact that 6.5 years after closure and 5 years after demolition the site is still empty, though that may finally change if the Brotherton House Police Station redevelopment goes ahead. MrQuinque
  • Score: 5

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