People in Bradford and beyond want publicly owned, historic and lovely building saving and restoring – it’s an old cinema, we’re the city of film, the Alhambra fits in with it perfectly, it’s one of the few nice buildings that wasn’t already knocked down and replaced with 60s monstrosities that only lasted about 30 years, etc etc.
Council want to sell the site to a developer. Council collect opinions and objections over and over again, the same result comes back every time – we want it saving. Council finally have decision meeting where it’s left up to seven councillors. Councillors decide to knock it down because the developer they already promised the ‘site’ to might sue them if they don’t give them what they’ve already promised them in advance of any decision actually being made, and what they’ve already promised them is the Odeon flattened, and the site to build a big glass brick with a hotel and offices in it.
We’ve had enough of the backhanders, the people we’ve elected to represent us doing the exact opposite of what we’re screaming for them to do, we’ve had enough of being patronised and accused of being ‘nostalgic’, of having characterless buildings and rubble beginning to typify Bradford.
We’ve been through all the red tape they told us to in order to save this symbol of our past and present, and they’ve ignored us, so now we’re going to show them how pissed off we really are
Two people have scaled the old Odeon building in Bradford 28/10/09 in a bid to halt the demolition of the historic building and engage the community ahead of a protest 31/10/09.
On The 28/10/09 at 5am two local people climbed inside the Odeon in a campaign to save the building. A banner reading ‘Save the Odeon’ was unfurled at 7.30am to engage the local community with the issue of undemocratic descision making within Bradford Council.
The Odeon building is an intrinsic part of Bradford’s heritage yet the council have decided to approve its demolition. This is despite the desolation seen in Bradford city centre, a key example is the Westfield development which has been left as a gaping hole in the heart of the city. The Bradford populous have little faith in the gentrification of the cityscape and came out in force to ‘Hug the Odeon’ in 2007.
The banner drop today comes only days before a protest in Centenary Square this Saturday at 12noon. Because the council have made their decision on the fate of the Odeon, it seems that only the Secretary of State can halt the demolition. The meeting which made the decision was considered by many to be a farce, the councillors told that they may face legal action from the regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward. It was based on this information that the panel voted to demolish the building, yet Yorkshire Forward then siad that they had no intention of sueing Bradford Council over their decision.
One of the protestors said “They are destroying a really beautiful building when we have no money in the city and it’s cheaper to keep the Odeon rather than build something ugly and pointless.”
The other said “I’m doing this in solidarity who wants their politicians and local councillors to represent them and not business.”
The campaigners hope that it may be complex to remove the banner as health and safety red tape will mean that checks must be carried out before workers can get into the Odeon and onto the roof to take it down. However a van had arrived at 9.30am which may contain equipment to remove the sign. More info on the protest planned for Saturday can be found here.
On 23rd September Bradford Council Planning Committee made the descision to accept the proposal for demoltion of the iconic Odeon building in Bradford. Local people are outraged at the descision made through a simple majority of 4 to 3 councillors.
After an extremely long meeting at Bradford City Hall the 4 Conservative, 2 Labour and 1 Liberal Democrat councillors decided that the Odeon will be demolished and replaced by a new building. The members who voted for the new planned building as opposed to keeping the Odeon were 3 Conservatives and 1 Labour.
After a tour of the site, one Labour councillor said that looking around the site had “…put the cat amongst the pigeons…” and that they didn’t know which way the descision would go. Just before the vote the councillors gave an expression of interest, alluding to how they were planning to vote, at this point it was clear that the vote would stand at 2 for versus 5 against the demolition. At this point the lawyer chirped up that if they voted the “wrong way” then there could be a appeal which would inccur large costs for the council. He took them away for a half hour private meeting in which he told them the figure they would be “liable” for in any resulting appeal made by the developers, Langtree Artisan. If they voted for the demolition it would be cheaper for the council. The lawyer did everything in his power to scare the council and provided no positive solutions to the objections raised by the councillors and Bradford Odeon Rescue Group, who spoke against the demolition proposal.
After the private meeting the councillors then voted and their opinion had apparently swiftly changed for the worse as the vote stood at 4 for versus 3 against the demolition. There were just under 3,000 individual representations of objection to the demolition of the Odeon, while only one individual representation in support.
Reactions from members of public at the meeting included gasps, shouts of “Shame!” and jeering at councillors. There was also a cry of “we’ll make your life hell” while councillor Hussain of city ward was given an ovation for his condemnation of the Langtree Artisan plans. He said “I still will not vote for this proposal as I believe the building can be refurbished and the proposals are inadequate.” The odeon is in his ward, while the other councillors wards are elsewhere.
One member of the public who was present said that “It was a gutting descision, clearly the councillors have been bought, after their secret meeting, democracy could never prevail.”
One anonymous member of the council said “Well, the likely hood is we’ll have another Westfield” in response concerns from the public over whether the development would be completed. The Westfield development is the bane of the city centre, an abandoned building site once destined to become a new shopping centre, now moth-balled due to financial diffculties faced by the developers.
There are some conditions to the demolition.
1) The demolition may not begin to knock down the Odeon until they have a contract with a construction company signed and can demonstrate that they have the resources required to construct the new building.
2) There must be some amendments to the design of the new building so that English Heritage and national designers association are happy with the materials used.