Plans to turn Odsal Stadium into “a national home for Rugby League” are among the latest multi-million-pound bids for Government Levelling Up cash.

A scheme to add commuter services to the Keighley and Worth Valley rail line and another to turn Bingley Pool into a modern leisure centre are included in Bradford Council’s latest bids to the Levelling Up fund.

The Government fund allows every constituency in the country to bid for funding of up to £20m for wellbeing, transport, regeneration or cultural projects.

Last year it was announced that the first bid made by the Council – a new leisure and wellbeing centre on Squire Lane in Bradford West, had been awarded £20m.

Bradford Council has now officially submitted its bids for the four remaining constituencies in the district.

Stadium would be rebuilt

The most eye-catching of the four bids is the Bradford South bid – which will see Odsal Stadium re-built as a new “art, culture and entertainment stadium.”

The facility would include a roof, which the Council says will create a “world-class high capacity sports, entertainment and training complex” that could help Bradford Bulls return to the Super League.

It would also allow Bradford to “stage high volume arts and entertainment events.”

If the bid is successful it would be a huge turnaround for Odsal. In 2019 the club announced it was leaving the stadium due to the high costs of maintenance.

The club returned last year.

Heritage Railway could carry commuters again

The Keighley bid includes turning the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway – a popular heritage attraction - into “an enhanced rail transport hub offering workers a fast and efficient commute into the area.”

It is currently only used as a tourist attraction, but the successful bid would see commuter trains using the line. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Keighley & Worth Valley RailwayKeighley & Worth Valley Railway

The Keighley bid also includes a plan to partner with private developers to clear and upgrade six Keighley brownfield sites around local Business Development Zones in Royd Ings and Dalton Lane. The Council says this will provide 32,000 square metres of business space with the potential to host over 700 local jobs.

Keighley College and Bradford University Advanced Manufacturing hubs would be reconfigured and expanded to include a high-tech facility supporting research and development in emerging technologies such as advanced robotics as part of the bid.

Closed pool could get a new lease of life

If successful, the Shipley bid would see Bingley Pool transformed into “an attractive, modern new leisure facility with six-lane swimming pool, gym, studio and café.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bingley Pool before it closedBingley Pool before it closed

The pool, next to Myrtle Park, was closed by Bradford Council as part of a shake-up of leisure facilities in the District.

READ MORE: £4.25 million needed to repair Bingley Pool - Council claims

The bid also includes an arts trail that would provide a link to Myrtle Park, and Bingley town centre could receive a facelift with new landscaping, seating and lighting, and a modern new cover for the town’s market square.

Health and sports plan for community centres

The bid for Bradford East would involve developing a new modern health and wellbeing centre providing a wide range of medical services, training and function rooms and sports facilities at the Karmand Centre in Barkerend.

The rundown Greenwood Centre in Wood Lane could be transformed into a new facility offering a range of health services, along with daycare for older people and those with mental health problems. Rehabilitation and weight management programmes would be offered and a 24-hour triage room would be created for health emergencies. Welfare, debt, housing and money management advice would be provided and spaces would be created for youth and community groups.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Parkside Centre in Bowling ParkParkside Centre in Bowling Park

New purpose-built sports facilities could be developed at the Parkside Centre in Bowling Park using a match-funded bid to create a state-of-the-art cricket hall, gymnasium, multipurpose rooms, flexible offices, a meeting room and a community café.

'Game-changing benefits'

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “Bradford District represents an incredible opportunity for the Government to deliver its Levelling Up agenda.

“We have worked hard to develop a range of bold bids designed to unleash our economic potential, deliver jobs and prosperity and address deprivation and health inequalities.

“We are the UK’s number one Levelling Up opportunity and if supported, these bids will provide game-changing benefits to the district and our residents.”

Not all bids are likely to be successful, and the last round saw a bid for a leisure centre in Gipton, Leeds, turned down.

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