A decision Council has to get right

First published in Our View

There is no doubt that Bradford needs to upgrade its city centre leisure facilities, and the huge shake-up of its pools and sports centres revealed last year offers the ideal opportunity to bring a new super-pool into the centre.

And now that the Odeon has been ruled out as an option, there is much to commend the possible location we reveal today near the Trafalgar House police station.

This newspaper has raised the need for improving what is on offer for the city on many occasions, and having a proper leisure complex within easy walking distance of the city centre certainly fits with that stated aim.

And the overall leisure strategy will also free up the site of the Richard Dunn centre, described as a ‘black hole’ in the city finances, for development, ideally as housing on a brown-field site.

But the choice of location of the new super-pool is absolutely crucial. The Odeon would certainly have been a great spot in terms of its central location, but was not to be.

The Wetherby Engineering building at Portland Street, which is the site the Council has put in an offer for, does have a lot going for it, and is certainly central enough.

But it will only work if it is accessible to not just those who work and live in the city centre, but to individuals and families on the outskirts. It is close to the Interchange, but many will want to drive in rather than taking public transport. That will mean ensuring part of the site can be given over to the large amount of parking that will be needed.

This is a hugely important decision for the city, and the Council must get it right. That is why it is vital everyone with any interest has their say in the full consultation process which is due to get underway later this year.

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