BRADFORD Council is ‘exploring all options’ over the future of the Grade II listed Richard Dunn Sports Center – which is missing from a recent master plan for the Odsal area.
But a history group has urged Council to retain the iconic building in all future plans, saying it is ’embedded in Bradford’s social and sporting heritage’.
The leisure center – which was vacated at the end of 2019, was originally due to be razed this summer.
But a surprise decision by Historic England to list the building in April has left the site’s future uncertain.
The Grade II listing, which describes the building as a “bold, accomplished design for a local 1970s hobby”, would mean Richard Dunns had a much higher level of protection against the wrecking ball.
Last week, Bradford Council revealed a £50million bid to turn Odsal Stadium into the country’s biggest stadium with a permanent roof.
The development would be accompanied by new training grounds for Bradford Football and Rugby Clubs, a National Rugby League Skills and Education Centre, a hotel and a conference centre. , a solar farm, community grass pitches and a new parking lot.
The offer is for money from the Government’s Leveling Fund to boost the Bradford South constituency.
Early designs show the development would cross Rooley Avenue and onto the former site of the Richard Dunn Sports Center – with an artist’s impression showing the structures and playing fields.
What there isn’t, however, is any sign of the Richard Dunn Center and its distinctive dome.
The Telegraph & Argus asked Bradford Council about the short and long term future of the listed building in light of the new plans.
A spokesperson said: “We are exploring all options around the development of this area as presented by our leveling fund proposals.”
At a Council Executive meeting on Tuesday, members will receive an update on the Leveling Fund offer.
Members will be asked to give the go-ahead for “feasibility work which would encompass the park and ride proposal, land remediation, solar farm proposal and development of the Richard Dunn site”.
Named after the Bradford-born boxer famous for fighting Muhammad Ali, the Richard Dunn Center closed in November 2019 – coinciding with the opening of the nearby £17.5million Sedbergh Leisure Centre.
The Grade II listing came at the request of the 20th Century Society – a group set up to preserve buildings from the past 100 years.
On news that Richard Dunn’s expanded site was included in the plans, a company spokesperson said: ‘These radical new plans for how the historic Odsal Stadium could be transformed demonstrate the scale of the ambition and opportunities in Bradford.
“With City of Culture 2025 on the horizon, this is an incredibly exciting time for the city.
“As plans for the wider Odsall site are developed, the dormant Richard Dunn Center is ready and waiting to be incorporated into any new scheme – indeed it was always intended to be part of an ‘Odsal Sports Complex’ »wider with the neighboring stadium.
“The C20 company believes there is ample room for the listed structure of the sports center to be reused as, for example, an indoor training area, an indoor training pitch or to support other facilities under its emblematic “marquee” roof.
“The Richard Dunn is woven into Bradford’s social and sporting heritage; it would be only fitting that this legacy continue, as an exciting new chapter is ready to be written.
A Bradford Civic Society spokesperson said: ‘With any listing decision, there is always a very delicate balance between preservation and future viability of use.
“The Bradford Civic Society has always recognized the unique architecture of Richard Dunn, but given the progress of the site plans linked to the wider regeneration efforts of the town and the strength of local feeling, on this occasion we declined to make representations when consulted about the project.
“Whatever the future use of the site, it would be encouraging to see the unique architecture of the roof retained in some way – as this was the primary aim of Historic England’s listing.
“However, we accept that broader commercial terms may prevent this.
“The most important consideration is for local people and Bradfordians at large. They must not be hindered by an undeveloped site for years to come.”