Leeds & West Yorkshire

Bradford Council backs £12m cinema development loan

Artist impression of exterior of the building Image copyright Tim Ronalds Architects
Image caption It is hoped the new venue will open in 2020

Plans to convert a derelict cinema into a 4,000-seat music venue have been backed by councillors who agreed "in principle" to loan developers £12m.

Bradford Council's executive has agreed to back a £20m plan to redevelop the city's former Odeon site.

It said the development was "not financially viable without some form of funding from the council".

Bradford Live, which runs the project, said the loan was the "single most important part of the funding jigsaw".

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Image caption Bradford Odeon has been derelict since 2000

Its founder and director Lee Craven said: "We are really appreciative of the council's support.

"To deliver this project there needs to be a close partnership between the private and public sectors, it can't be done by one of them on their own."

Bradford Live was awarded the project to redevelop the building by the council in 2014 and in September it was announced the NEC Group would run the venue.

The company, which runs the National Exhibition Centre and other venues in Birmingham, will contribute £2m towards the project.

Applications for further funding will be made to the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A council spokesperson said: "We have approved in principle providing a loan to Bradford Live to provide the biggest chunk of funding required.

"There's still some detail to be agreed at another meeting but this is a big step forward for the project."

It said that if the proposed loan is approved, it intends to borrow the £12m from the Public Works Loan Board and use the rental income the NEC Group will pay to Bradford Live to repay it.

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