RESIDENTS have been left frustrated as the planned demolition of the “ugly” 1970s sports centre in their city did not go ahead and now they are stuck with it forever.
Locals in Bradford, West Yorkshire were eagerly waiting for the “eyesore” Richard Dunn Sports Centre to be knocked down but it was granted listed status instead.
The Richard Dunn Sports Centre was set to be demolishedCredit: Getty
The building was described as having a “bold and accomplished design for 1970s leisure”Credit: SWNS
The local landmark, located opposite Bradford Bulls’ Odsal Stadium, was set to be knocked down after it closed in 2019 but its demolition was delayed due to the pandemic.
And now heritage group Historic England said the building was a “bold and accomplished design for 1970s leisure” and granted it listed status, throwing its future into doubt.
Its new status means it is now one of the most protected buildings in the city.
The sports centre has divided opinion in the city for years with many residents branding it “an eyesore.”
Local Sarah Park said: “It’s an eyesore, it looks like something they put over Chernobyl. They should knock it down, I’m not sure it’s worth listed status.
“A site that big could be used for major redevelopment of the area, not just to have that lumped there to look at.”
Another local Richard Whitaker said: “It might have been bold and accomplished in the 1970s, but it’s not now. It’s just an eyesore.
“It looks like more like a nuclear disaster zone than a leisure centre. I just don’t know how they’ve granted it listed status to look at it, it’s an absolute eyesore.
“What are they going to do with it now if they don’t knock it down? It will just stand there and be an eyesore for years to come.
“The reason the council closed it was because it’s not fit for purpose.”
Martin Clarke added: “Pull it down and build something that is useful in its place. This is why places like Bradford can not move forward because people want to keep old things that are simply not fit for any purpose.”
Robert Lang said: “One of the ugliest buildings around Bradford. Unbelievable that it has been given Grade II listed status. Baffling decision.”
However, others were delighted with the decision with some branding the building as “iconic.”
Geoff Southall, 79, tending his plot in the Sunny Bank Road Allotment, said:” I’ve had this allotment for 12 years and I’ve had no trouble with the sports centre at all and I wouldn’t want it destroyed.
“I’m glad it is going to be saved and is now a Grade II structure. I hope they bring sports back to it now.
”The council couldn’t make their minds up what to do with it, and now that has been done for them with this ruling.
“Sport should be brought back to it, and get the kids off the streets.”
Mark Thompson, 49, added: “I’m delighted the Richard Dunn Sports Centre has been saved.
“I think it is a brilliant building and I hate to think what would have been put in its place.
“It should be turned into a concert arena, like the one nearby in Leeds, and attract all the great performers.”
Andrew Romes, 54, said: “It is an iconic building with a unique design and I’m very happy it is staying.
“Is was indifferent to it when it was operating as a leisure centre, but now I thought about it I don’t want it to be demolished.
“You couldn’t call it a beautiful building, but it is in the style of many buildings of the 1970s. You could think of it as Yorkshire’s Sydney Opera House.”
The leisure centre that was built in 1974, closed in 2019 when the council opened a £17.5m leisure centre nearby.
It had been set for demolition in the summer of 2020 but was used as a standby morgue during the Covid pandemic and as a drive-through testing centre later.
The request for listed status was made by the Twentieth Century Society, which campaigns for the preservation of buildings constructed after 1914.
In its report, Historic England said: “The Richard Dunn Sports Centre is a bold and accomplished design for a 1970s local leisure centre.
“Its striking ‘big-top’, lattice-girder roof is of particular note.”
The report described the building as “a sophisticated and architecturally striking structure which provided a dramatic setting for the sports provision within.”
The council had highlighted a number of concerns including the building’s high running costs, maintenance backlogs and issues around accessibility and energy efficiency.
A council spokesperson said: “We will need to look in detail at the report findings and work with the government to see what the next steps are.”
A spokesperson for Bradford Civic Society said: “The decision to award listed status to Richard Dunn is an interesting and surprising one, especially given that permission had already been given for its demolition.”
The building’s demolition was delayed due to the pandemicCredit: SWNS
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The Sun news desk?