NEW video footage released by the Bradford Odeon Rescue Group (BORG) pertain to show the lie in claims that the former cinema is nothing but a derelict shell.
The campaign group has recently placed two short films on YouTube revealing the interior of the building. The results looks more like a tour through an architectural Marie Celeste than it does a collapsed interior ruin, as was previously alleged by development quangocrats.
These claims were made by Maud Marshall, the head of the Bradford Regeneration Company (BRC), a quango established to manage the investment of public funds and attract private developers to the city as part of the process of transforming Bradford’s physical scene.
Like its counterparts across the country, its focus tends to be on churning out commercial office premises and ‘luxury city living’ apartments. Typically, the latter are aimed at some idealised notion of the young and affluent urban professional and are priced beyond the incomes of most local people.
The Odeon was closed in 2000. It has been ‘mothballed’ ever since. Currently owned by Yorkshire Forward – another development and regeneration quango responsible for investing hundreds of millions of pounds a year – and it has been looking at development opportunities. BRC has led on this, pushing for the former cinema’s demolition.
The plan is to replace it with a generic ‘mixed use development’ that will ruin the character and appearance of the adjacent Alhambra Theatre. As it is, even in its neglected state, the external structure of the Odeon complements its thespian counterpart in terms of architectural aesthetic and cultural heritage.
Marshall claimed that the Odeon’s interior was effectively a hollowed-out derelict; unsafe, unstable, with only the exterior shell giving the appearance of a sustainable structure. It is fit only for demolition has been Marshall’s and the BRC’s line in a battle that has been going on for at least four years now.
The first film BORG has posted presents a mini-documentary by local man John Tempest called ‘A Question For Maud Marshal'. The second video is called ‘Worth Saving’ and presents camcorder footage of several of the Odeon’s surviving features. Alongside these videos, browsers can catch previous mini-movies the organisation has produced about the cinema.
For more information about the old cinema and the campaign to save it, visit www.bradfordodeonrescuegroup.co.uk