#City & Town Planning
Stop the Homes and Communities Agency from demolishing Bradford's most iconic building!
United Kingdom

On 22nd September 1930, the New Victoria Theatre opened for the first time. The biggest picture house outside of London, the theatre held 3,318 people at any one time. In 1950, it changed names to the Gaumont franchise and between then and 1969, stars such as The Beatles, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey and Lulu came to perform to the masses.

In 1969, the picture house was converted into twin screen operation and in 1988, was further converted into triple screens. It was one of the most successful Odeon's in history.

It closed its doors for the final time on 2nd July 2000. Grange Estates bought it and put planning permission in for a casino and bar complex. They pulled out in 2003 because of "Bradford's weak economic climate." Then, Yorkshire Forward bought it and when they were disbanded in 2011, the building was passed on to the Government's Homes and Communities Agency. They plan to demolish the iconic building and build four glass-fronted office towers which the City of Bradford does not need. More offices when Thomas Cook has shut down opposite? Another hotel opposite the Jurys Inn and in the vicinity of the Travelodge, Premier Inn and Hilton?


We, the undersigned, do not approve of the plans for demolition of the Bradford Odeon/New Victoria/Gaumont building, Princes Way/Thornton Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD7 1AL.

We would like to see the building remain standing and being retained and put back into use as a multi-purpose venue for entertainment, concerts and general leisure.

We do not agree that the developers and the owners, Langtree Artisan and the Homes and Communities Agency respectively, should demolish the building and turn it into a £55,000,000 (£55 million) scheme for more offices, apartments and hotels that we do not need in our city. We do not need another hotel in our city as the opening of the Jury’s Inn, Travelodge and Premier Inn over the last 2 years have already catered for the hotel sector quite comfortably.

A sector that we do need is another leisure building, which would be a more useful thing to build instead of more offices. Many of the modern offices in the City Centre are for rent or for sale and have been for a considerable amount of time and therefore the new offices will only stand empty.

We do not need another public square after the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council spent an estimated £24,500,000 (£24.5 million) on the building of City Park in Bradford City Centre, which is overshadowed by the derelict Odeon building. However, there may be a small need for some apartments but please find another site in Bradford to build these. Apartments and offices would look out of place here.

In addition, the Odeon has complemented the Alhambra Theatre, which is already owned by the Council so if the Council would like the Alhambra to make money then apartments, offices and hotels will only deter customers not attract them to the theatre. The Council will most likely need a new site for its archives soon so why can't we use the Odeon building for that.

We, the undersigned, also agree that the building should be acted upon soon before it reaches a state in which nothing can be done. The building has already fallen into a bad state and if it continues to be like this then it will pose an even bigger threat to the safety of the public, which we believe is the biggest factor that the HCA care about according to their website. If the HCA has already spent £700,000 (£0.7 million) of taxpayer's money on the repairs to the building, it would be a waste of that money to see the building eventually being knocked down.

Some of the comments which the general public give below alongside their names consider the true views and concerns that many people in the area also think. The general view with the public is that this iconic building should be saved because of its fantastic history. It was built in 1930 and at that time was the biggest cinema outside of London. Is this not something Bradford should be proud of? Is this not something worthy to save? This is, as one reader puts it, wanton destruction of our heritage. I agree and the public do, so I think that this petition speaks louder than what you may have expected from a 13 year old schoolchild who gets a few people from the district to sign a petition. It speaks volumes about the true concerns of Bradfordians and if our cinematic heritage meant nothing why would our fantastic city become the world’s first UNESCO City of Film. We can’t be a City of Film without this building – its history alone is greater than most of the town centre. Building a hotel opposite a newly-opened Jury’s Inn which doesn’t look the best architecturally – is that really the best idea for a group of successful businessmen to come up with? Building offices when Thomas Cook has announced that their offices will close, opposite the site, meaning 468 jobs will be lost. Can you not spend the money on something that is necessary instead of “wanton destruction of our heritage?”

Please take notice of this petition as the Odeon situation is a very contentious issue with the people of Bradford and has been since its closure on the 2nd July 2000. Please also bear in mind the views of the citizens of Bradford when you decide to knock down one of our most historic buildings.

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The Save Bradford Odeon petition to Stop the Homes and Communities Agency from demolishing Bradford's most iconic building! was written by The Local Leader Magazine and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.