NEW music venue Bradford Live – whose creation is to be spearheaded by a Keighley construction company – will be a “major factor” in the UK City of Culture bid.

That’s the message from 2025 bid director, Richard Shaw.

He says the venue – to be created in the former Odeon cinema – will attract bands that previously bypassed Bradford, as well as hosting other events “never before seen” in the city.

Work on the project is being led by RN Wooler, based in Lawkholme Lane.

Five apprentices plus up to 60 temporary workers are being taken on ahead of the 18-month scheme.

Mr Shaw said: “The news that Bradford Live has formally appointed contractors to convert the former Odeon into a 4,000-capacity venue means that, all being well, live music and events will be back at this historic site from autumn next year.

“This latest boost is also music to the ears of those in the district’s cultural and creative sector, as having such a prestigious venue makes our UK City of Culture bid all the more compelling.

“While towns and cities around the UK begin to look at how they will bounce back from Covid-19, how many can say they have a new regional venue under construction, with exciting world-class acts to be announced this year?

“Nobody is suggesting Bradford Live will be a ‘silver bullet’ for Bradford, particularly given that we’ve been poorly served compared to other cities for many years now, but we must acknowledge the considerable boost such a venue will bring to our cultural status.

“For starters, Bradford Live will literally put Bradford district back on the touring map once again. Bands that previously bypassed Bradford, or indeed West Yorkshire altogether, will now have a home managed by experienced operators the NEC Group. This also means conferences, exhibitions and hosting opportunities never before seen in central Bradford. Then there’s the direct impact on the district. An operation as intricate as Bradford Live means a multitude of jobs created and sustained in a venue that will need to look after 200,000-plus visitors a year.”

He added that the project would also benefit other businesses, both in the vicinity of the venue and across the whole district.

“A readiness for long-term hosting and hospitality is not just desirable for a budding UK City of Culture – it is essential,” said Mr Shaw.