The shocking state of Bradford’s former Odeon can today be revealed in a report which has described the rapidly deteriorating building as “a risk to the general public”.
A detailed survey commissioned by the Homes and Community Association (HCA), the Government body which now owns the dilapidated city centre landmark, has concluded that the building is now “structurally unsafe” and points out a number of dangers, including the “serious fire risk” from abandoned furniture inside.
The report warns: “On no account should anyone access that building without a full risk assessment, method statement and personal protective equipment.
“As a minimum this should include protective breathing apparatus, safety boots, gloves, hard hat and temporary lighting.”
The survey has highlighted: that the roof covering could be blown off in high winds; flooding and leaks, which are “seriously speeding up” the building’s deterioration; significant infestations of rats and pigeons; evidence of trespassing, such as broken doors; signs of illegal drug use, including discarded hypodermic needles.
The report reads: “There are significant health and safety hazards within the property and the property is deteriorating rapidly.”
The report by building surveyors Lambert Smith Hampton urged the HCA to deal with water leaking in “as it is considerably speeding up the deterioration of the main structural elements which pose a risk to the general public”.
It says weed and foliage growth in high-level areas is causing the rapid deterioration of the mortar, brick and stonework which, as they become loose, “will fall from the building on to footpaths below”.
To the corner of the property there is extensive vertical cracking which is caused by the steel frame internally corroding and expanding.
The people who have affected an illegal entry have come well equipped and have demolished walls, created openings to investigate the original building and structure, which has made some areas unstable and unsafe, says the report.
Full details showing the scale of damage to the 83-year-old building have been released to the Telegraph & Argus by the HCA following warnings that asbestos had been discovered inside.
A spokesman for the HCA said it had been working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to remove asbestos.
The HCA is looking to sell the building to private sector developer Langtree Artisan, which plans to demolish the building.
Councillor David Green, the Council’s executive member for regeneration and the economy, said it was “frustrating” that repairs had not been carried out earlier by its previous owners.
Bradford Councillor John Pennington, a spokesman for Bradford Odeon Rescue Group (BORG), described the dereliction as “civic vandalism”.
Emergency work is now being carried out to make the building safe.