Bradford’s former Odeon building could be turned into a “world class” city centre swimming pool and leisure centre in an ambitious £30 million scheme.

A consortium of businesses has devised the plan, which is a direct rival to two separate bids to turn the landmark site into a music venue, and was submitted to Bradford Council yesterday shortly before a deadline for ‘expressions of interest’ expired.

Under the new proposal, the Odeon would be transformed into a four-storey carbon-neutral leisure centre called City Reflections, complete with an eight-lane swimming pool, competition-standard diving pool, fitness suite, studios, restaurant and cafe.

One of its most striking features is a rooftop public garden and 160m indoor running track on the building’s third floor, covered by a large glass dome.

The scheme is expected to cost about £25m to £30m and Manchester-based developer Muse would play a key part.

The firms involved include architects Rance Booth Smith, developer Chartback, surveyors Rex Procter and Partners, town planners Turley Associates, advisors Tomorrow Advisory, surveyors Sharma Williamson and technical experts SK(UK) Ltd.

Rance Booth Smith Architects director Allan Booth said: “Our proposal is for a world-class, sustainable, state-of-the-art swimming, diving, athletic and multi-sport facility in a prime position in the heart of Bradford city centre.

“Our intention is to provide an economically and environmentally-sustainable proposal which aims to keep as much of the original iconic structure as possible, in particular the retention of the existing towers, while allowing for a realistic, viable and successful development of the site.”

The scheme had ‘clear benefits’, such as increasing footfall in the city centre and improving people’s health.

He said: “City Reflections will create a destination, and will bring new visitors into the city centre. It will create a sense of vibrancy within the city centre which would appeal to residents and visitors of all ages, genders and ethnicities and complement City Park.”

The consortium came together through the Bradford Property Forum. Its idea was inspired by the Council’s announcement that it was looking to replace the Richard Dunn Sports Centre with a new city-centre swimming pool as part of a wider shake-up of leisure provision.

It says there could be two funding optionsp: either raising money through grants and community fundraising, or allowing a developer or consortium to provide much of the investment in return for the right to operate the centre for 25 to 40 years.

Yesterday afternoon was the deadline for potential developers to express interest in regenerating the empty Odeon building, now owned by the Council.

In total, three proposals have been submitted – the City Reflections pool idea, Bradford One’s plan to create a multi-purpose cultural venue and creative hub and Bradford Live’s bid for a commercially-run 4,000-seat live music venue.

Each of the plans will now be assessed to see if they will make it through to the next selection stage in March.

Yesterday, Bradford Council leader Councillor David Green, said: “We will now look at these proposals and determine which of them meet the qualification of retaining all or as much as possible of the building, make a positive contribution to the vitality of the city centre and can be delivered within the next five years.

“Any of the proposals getting through to the next stage will be announced in March.

“Applicants will then need to submit more detailed proposals including designs, costs and a business plan.”



This plan would see the Odeon become one of Yorkshire’s largest live performance venues.
Lee Craven is behind the Bradford Live project to strip out the old cinemas and bingo hall and restore the auditorium.
The venue would have a capacity of 4,000 with stalls or 3,500 when fully seated.
Mr Craven said if the plan was sucessful, it would be the third largest auditorium in Yorkshire, after the Sheffield and Leeds arenas, and the sixth largest in the north of England.



The Odeon could be transformed into a £20 million venue and creative hub, under a plan by Bradford One.
The proposal includes a 2,000-capacity music venue as well as a five-storey new-build on an empty space behind the Odeon, which would become office space for creative industries.
The Odeon would be given a triple-height glass frontage designed to allow people to see into and out of the building while also reflecting City Park opposite.
Bradford One, which has more than 350 members, would contract out the running of the venue but would remain custodians, and profits could be put into other community projects.