BRADFORD Council has revealed it will not be selling the site of the Richard Dunn Sports Centre immediately following its demolition this Summer.

Until recently the authority had said the large site, in Odsal, would be sold after the building’s demolition. But yesterday it was announced that the Council is now “considering the most appropriate use” of the site, which is described as being a "strategic site for the wider district."

The centre had been one of the district’s main leisure facilities for over four decades, but shut in November after the state of the art Sedbergh Leisure Centre opened a short distance away.

An application to demolish the huge building has now been approved, with work to bring the iconic building down due to start in May or June.

The future of the site had been uncertain, but in 2018 Bradford Council began marketing the 6.8 hectare site as Odsal District Retail Centre in a brochure that was handed out to international developers at a real estate conference in Cannes.

Richard Dunn site being marketed as Odsal District Retail Centre - and council says it is already attracting interest

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

And a letter sent in December by local Councillors to residents living near the centre said: "The Council has always been clear that it intends to dispose of the Richard Dunn site for development and we are now starting this process as the new centre is open."

But now the Council has revealed that they have opted against selling the site.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, the Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “The new Sedbergh Leisure Centre is proving to be extremely popular and the redevelopment of the old Richard Dunn site provides an excellent opportunity to regenerate the area.

“This is a valuable strategic site for South Bradford and the wider district.

“Given its importance we’ve decided not to sell the land and are now considering the most appropriate use for the site and the local area for the future.”

A Council spokesperson added: “Planning consent has now been granted for the demolition of the former Richard Dunn Sports Centre and it is anticipated that work to bring down the empty building will start in May or June.”

The Richard Dunn site is next to Odsal Stadium, the former home of Bradford Bulls.

Councillor John Pennington, leader of the Conservatives on Bradford Council, said: "If they have decided it is more valuable to keep, then I hope they take their time and find a customer who can develop the site at a good price.

"I know there are some hotel developers interested in looking at that site."

Councillors David Green (Lab) represents Wibsey, one of the wards that borders the site. He said: "My understanding is that the Council has decided they are not going to market the site immediately. They are looking at their options going forward.

"It may be the site is eventually sold to a developer, it may be that it is an in-house development. It will be developed, but they are keeping their options open. They will look at what can get the best return both in financial terms and social good."