Following his meeting with the Minister for Digital on the future of the Bradford Odeon’s redevelopment, Imran declares he is hopeful the project will receive Government backing when cultural regeneration funding bids are awarded in March.

As part of the Great Exhibition of the North taking place in 2018, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has set aside £15 of ‘legacy’ funding to enhance cultural projects in the North in the form of the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund (NCRF), and the Odeon has put in a bid for £4 million of this funding. During his meeting with the Minister, it was this funding and the support from the Leeds City Region Local Economic Partnership (LEP) who adopted the Odeon as their preferred bid that Imran raised.

Stressing to the Minister that the Odeon’s redevelopment, if secured by support from the NCRF, would have substantial economic benefits for Bradford, Imran stated that the project would have a huge, positive impact on the City’s regeneration, as well as that of the wider West Yorkshire Region, which was a belief accepted by the Minister who acknowledged the capability of such a development to turn around big cities, as has been seen in Manchester, Birmingham and most recently, Hull.

The meeting followed months of lobbying on the future redevelopment plans of the Odeon by Imran and his raising of the issue in Parliament, where he secured a commitment by the Minister for Digital, Matt Hancock, to meet with him to discuss the project and to look seriously at its funding plans.

Speaking on his meeting with the Minister, Imran said:

“My meeting with the Minister was extremely constructive with many positive points about the Odeon’s bid raised and accepted, and I am hopeful that when it comes to making a decision on which projects will be awarded Northern Cultural Regeneration Funding investment in March, he will see the huge potential that this has for Bradford and will commit to investing in the Odeon to get its redevelopment over the line.

“Whilst the meeting was positive and constructive, the work does not stop here, there are at least 11 other bids for funding and I have invited the Minister to see Bradford’s ongoing regeneration for himself with the new Broadway Centre, the Alhambra, City Park and Sunbridge Wells, and I will be looking forward to meeting the NEC Group who have taken up the lease on the Odeon, as well as the Arts Council and National Lottery who will be part of the NCRF decision making process.

“The Odeon’s redevelopment has huge potential with increased footfall and spending in the city, as well as jobs and investment that will rise both directly and indirectly from the Odeon becoming one of the premier performance venues outside London, and it will go a long way to presenting Bradford as modern, growing City and cannot be ignored.”

Speaking on his meeting with Imran, Matt Hancock MP, Minister for Digital said:

“It is great to see such strong bids from Bradford and across the whole North for a share of the £15m Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund. This funding will help provide a real legacy from next year’s Great Exhibition of the North.”

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