THE redevelopment of the former Odeon cinema into a live music venue has been boosted by a £1 million Lottery grant.

A £959,500 grant announced yesterday will see The National Lottery Heritage Fund act as expert advisers to Bradford Live - the group that is overseeing the transformation of the iconic city centre building.

The 4,000 capacity venue will be operated by the NEC groups and is due to open in 2020. It is expected to create up to 50 jobs directly. Work on the building's interiors has been underway for several months.

And yesterday the project was given a huge boost with the announcement from the Heritage Lottery.

The project, will involve the local community with apprenticeship opportunities, use of Virtual Reality to reveal layers of history and volunteering opportunities to produce a photographic exhibition, heritage gallery and oral histories, as well as open days, backstage tours and school visits.

Bradford Live grand plans spark excitement at preview event

Bradford Live Director Chris Morrell said, “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant from the Heritage Lottery as it will enable us to celebrate the heritage of the building, both architecturally and culturally.

"We are keen to ensure that we do justice to the huge community support and love that there is for this building and now the activities we have developed with our partners can be pursued. We look forward to working with the National Lottery Heritage Fund and continuing to share our journey with the public and engage them with the heritage of this magnificent building”

David Renwick, Area Director for the North, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said, “Thanks to National Lottery players this grant will see an iconic cinema building reimagined as a world-class entertainment venue – putting Bradford firmly on the map. Together, with the other awards totalling £10 million made yesterday, this funding gives a clear message just how successful the North is in attracting investment, and how Northern Powerhouse cities are leading the way in heritage-led regeneration. We cannot wait to see these projects in action.”

Bradford Council leader, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “This is another milestone on the way to regenerating the building ready for business.

"Our cultural heritage defines us as a place and with the Alhambra and the recently restored St George's Hall, we're developing a really strong offer as a city. Together all these venues make us a significant cultural destination for Yorkshire audiences and beyond.”

The Project has previously received a £357,500 investment from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The LEP also secured £4 million for the project last year from the Government’s Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.