Artists back Bradford Odeon venue plan

Culture leaders urge Hancock to use Northern Powerhouse funding

A group of major artists and other cultural figures are urging government ministers to support the restoration of Bradford’s former Odeon building into a 4000-seat music venue.

The group, which includes actor Timothy West and Dara Ó Briain have written to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock asking him to award the project funding from the Government’s Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.

Hancock is due to make a decision on the proposal, which is predicted to bring around 270,000 visitors a year and £10 million to the city. It was recommended for a grant by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership Board.

Other signatories to the letter include leaders from the National Science and Media Museum, Impressions Gallery, and Bradford Theatres.

They say “A rejuvenated Bradford Odeon will become the beating heart of a city that is synonymous with the arts, yet has not benefited from investment in the creative industries in recent years when compared to other areas.”

Bradford Council has agreed to support the £20m project by backing its developer, Bradford Live, with a £12m loan from the Public Works Loan Board,

Other high-profile names who have backed the plan include David Hockney, Dame Judi Dench, Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson, and Status Quo’s Francis Rossi.

* A delegation from the UK’s EU capital of culture candidate cities have met ministers to discuss ways in which the government can support their plans for culture. Cluny Macpherson, Leeds Council’s chief officer for culture, revealed that discussions included “options for continued Government support for each city’s ambition”. He added there had also been a “good long meeting with Arts Council England” recently about funding, and the talks had been “very positive”

Leeds is one of the cities which has said it plans to host a own ‘year of culture’ in 2023 despite not being able to compete for the EU title because of Brexit. 

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