George Galloway keeps his promises

1. To make Bradford Odeon a national issue.

Dear Prime Minister,

The Bradford Odeon has come to symbolise for the people of Bradford the debacle that has occurred in the “regeneration” of the city centre which is in fact its degeneration. The future of the Odeon was a central aspect of my election campaign and the outcome of the election clearly shows that the people of Bradford want the Odeon saved rather than demolished.

Issues have been raised about the competence of the Homes and Communities Agency which does not seem to have understood the terms of the contract with the developers originally agreed by the now defunct Yorkshire Forward. Further issues have been raised about a potential conflict of interest with former council officers now involved in a lettings agency which is trying to find end users for the proposed development of the Odeon site from which they will receive a pecuniary advantage

The profound unhappiness of my constituents goes further than this. Just a few hundred yards from the Odeon is a gigantic hole where a Westfield shopping centre was to have been built. Clearance of the area took place eight years ago but there are still no firm plans for building on the site. In the meantime £24.4 million of public money has been spent on a mirror pool in front of the Odeon and next to City Hall. The mirror pool is very nice but questions must be asked as to why it cost so much money, especially with other parts of the city centre in such a dire state.

I am formally asking you to commission an urgent enquiry into why the “regeneration” of Bradford city centre has been so extraordinarily badly mismanaged, who is responsible and how best the problems can now be resolved and, in particular, the Odeon saved from demolition.

Yours sincerely,

George Galloway MP

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Email to the chief executive, Homes and Communities Agency

Dear Mr Hill

I’ve received an automated email saying Ms Ritchie is out of the office until 16th April (sic) and to forward urgent matters to you. Please see below.

Yours sincerely,

George Galloway MP

Dear Ms Ritchie

I wrote to you before the by-election in Bradford West about the plight of the Odeon. I told you in that email that the election should be considered a referendum on the future of the Odeon. The people have now spoken, giving me 56% of the votes cast and therefore an overwhelming mandate for the Odeon to be saved.

A few days ago, it seems the Homes and Communities Agency claimed that the contract with Langtree was set in stone and could not be broken. In so saying, it was implied that the Odeon would have to be demolished. I now understand that the HCA has backtracked and acknowledged that the contract is not binding and that either side can withdraw from it. I also understand, though, that the HCA is now saying it would be too costly to the public purse to withdraw from the contract.

I would be obliged if you would explain why it was that the HCA gave out misleading information about the contractual arrangements with Langtree and what the possible cost of terminating the contract would be. I also once again urge you to listen to the people of Bradford who do not want the Odeon demolished and do not want the proposed Langtree development. In particular, I urge you to delay signing a Section 106 agreement with Langtree, pending a decision on the enquiry into conflict of interest issues that I have urged Bradford Metropolitan Council to undertake and a broader public enquiry that I am urging the Prime Minister to set up into the Odeon debacle.

Yours sincerely,

George Galloway MP

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Email to the chief executive, Bradford Metropolitan District Council

Dear Mr Reeves

The people of Bradford have clearly expressed their desire for the Odeon to be saved, rather than demolished, in the overwhelming vote they gave me in the recent by-election.

There are two issues I wish to raise with you now in relation to the Odeon. The first is that it seems clear to me that the current proposals from Langtree for the development of the Odeon are not the proposals for which planning permission was originally given by the council. Would you be kind enough to confirm that this is the case and that the developers will have to submit a new planning application for the development?

Secondly, serious allegations have now been brought to my attention concerning possible conflict of interest issues relating to certain former council officers who played a central role in the original decisions taken over the Odeon site. Specifically, I have been told that certain former council officers set up a lettings agency to secure end users for the Langtree development from which they would secure pecuniary advantage. At least some of these officers, it is claimed, were still employees of the council when the lettings agency was set up. In the light of these allegations could you tell me whether there has been any internal investigation into these matters and, if not, would you now urgently set up such an enquiry so that these allegations can be properly examined and public disquiet about them satisfied?

Yours sincerely

George Galloway MP

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About Karl Dallas

Former BBC and IRN presenter, presenter of jazz, classical, movie and talk shows on Bradford Community Broadcasting, editor and presenter of VideoCaroline, "the best TV over the Seven Seas".
This entry was posted in Bradford Council, Bradford Odeon, Film, George Galloway, Politics, Respect. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to George Galloway keeps his promises

  1. Really enjoyed this – thanks for sharing. I voted GG because I was sick of the council lording it over us and doing nowt for the people of Bradford – http://jatkinson1977.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/george-galloway-gorgeous-gregarious-or-ghastly/

    Have you heard of Facebook’s Bradford Bloggers Club – http://www.facebook.com/groups/bradfordbloggersclub/ – ? Several Bradford Bloggers sharing work. Please join up if you fancy.

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