THE Richard Dunn sports centre, which has been earmarked for closure, is now being marketed to potential international buyers – and Bradford Council says the site has already attracted interest from developers.

The council-run sports facility is due to close late next year, once a new leisure centre is opened on the nearby Sedbergh playing fields.

And now Bradford Council has begun marketing the 6.8 hectare Richard Dunn site, which it is referring to as Odsal District Retail Centre in a new brochure that was handed out to international developers at a real estate conference in Cannes.

The Bradford Economic Strategy 2018 - 2030, published earlier this year, refers to leisure facilities moving from Richard Dunn to Sedbergh as “releasing one of the most significant retail developments in West Yorkshire.”

A marketing brochure at the site was handed out at MIPIM – the world’s leading property market held in France in March, and the council says the site is already attracting interest.

The brochure says: “This is an exciting opportunity to create a new retail ‘gateway’ development on the southern side of the city of Bradford, in a prime location.

“It will act as a catalyst for further development opportunities in the surrounding area.

“The project aims to bring together the key themes of retail, sport, leisure, education, health and regeneration.”

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It says the classification of the site as a “district centre” will allow a “range of uses” for the site, including a supermarket, non-food retail, banks, building societies, restaurants and local public facilities.

The brochure also points out the location of the site – a short distance from the M606, opposite Bradford Bulls’ Odsal Stadium, near to the city centre and within 10 miles of Leeds/Bradford Airport.

The £17.5 million Sedbergh Sports Centre, which includes a swimming pool, outdoor sports pitches, gyms, studios and eight-court sports hall, is due to open in September 2019.

Andy Ross, project manager for the scheme, gave members of Bradford South Area Committee an update on the project, adding: “If we get a fast sale for Richard Dunn then that will be great, as it means we can pay off the borrowing on this new development a lot quicker.”

At the meeting, members were also assured that Richard Dunn would not close until the Sedbergh Centre opens.

The site currently includes the large, domed sports centre, a large car park, and a cycle track.

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “Following the construction contract being awarded by the council earlier this year for the proposed new leisure centre at Sedbergh Fields, a preliminary brochure was taken to MIPIM to provide a soft launch of the site to the developer sector, which resulted in a number of developers expressing ‘in principle’ interest in the site.

“The Richard Dunn centre is not proposed to close until the nearby Sedbergh Fields leisure centre opens, currently scheduled for September 2019, and the formal marketing of the site is due to commence shortly.”

Councillor John Pennington, leader of the Conservatives on the council, agreed that the site had enviable transport links, but believed a retail park was a “non-starter.”

He said: “It is a site that is very well connected to the motorway. But it mentions a supermarket – companies aren’t building them anymore. It mentions a building society, nobody is building them anymore. Once upon a time the the solution to any development was to put a hotel on it, but I think we have so many budget hotels in Bradford that we probably have enough beds.


“I think you want to market this site to a big company like Santander, or a high-tech company that will bring high paid jobs into the area and employ our young people. I think that is the answer, I feel retail is a bit of a non-starter.

“You could even create new car parking space for Odsal, or turn it into a park and ride for the city centre. Come off the motorway, park there and get a bus into the city.”

Bradford South MP Judith Cummins said: “The Richard Dunn site is a hugely important part of Bradford South. I will wait to see what is brought forward.”